When you first enter rehab, going a lifetime without drinking or using drugs may seem impossible. At first, it may be all you can do to get through a day or even a few hours without using. You may find yourself wondering how you could even begin to go a year or longer without submitting to your addiction.
One great way to make that journey seem more manageable is to celebrate different achievements along the way. Read on to learn more about why celebrating milestones is so important and how you can start marking important occasions in your sobriety journey.
Why Celebrating Milestones Is Important
Before we dive into all the ways you can celebrate sobriety milestones, let’s talk some about why it’s important. Going through rehab and learning to fight your addiction is an incredibly difficult process. You need to have positive reinforcement to keep you motivated and moving down the path towards a better life.
Celebrating accomplishments helps you recognize the amazing progress you’re making. It breaks down your recovery time into manageable chunks and gives you time to reflect on your life now and how much better it is. It also rewards you for sticking to your recovery and continuing to keep addiction from ruling your life.
Set Manageable Milestones
One of the first things you need to do when celebrating sobriety milestones is to set manageable goals for yourself. While staying sober for a year may seem impossible, going a week or even a day might be manageable. It’s important to keep your focus on the battles you know you can win; all you have to do is get through this chunk of time.
Figure out how long you feel confident you can go without giving into your addiction and make a plan to celebrate that milestone when it comes along. Then, once you hit that milestone, set the next one, and so on, and so on. Keeping it broken down into manageable chunks can make it easier as you learn to navigate life without your drug of choice.
Write Down Anniversaries
Anniversaries are an important occasion, whether in relationships or in sobriety. Going a whole year without using is a big accomplishment and often marks the point when many people feel they’re “over the hill.” Once you’ve gone through all the major events in a year (birthdays, holidays, etc.), you’ve learned to navigate them without giving in to those triggers.
Write down important dates in your sobriety journey so you can celebrate those anniversaries as you reach them. This may include the day you stopped using, the day you entered rehab or the day you completed from rehab. It might also include smaller moments, such as the first morning you woke up and didn’t think about using.
Share Your Victories
Celebrating sobriety milestones on your own is important but having a solid support network during your recovery is critical. Not only can they help to hold you accountable, but they can also celebrate your victories with you. Sharing these special moments with the people you love can make them feel more important and valid.
Tell your friends and family about important milestones coming up and let them know when you achieve them. If you had a sponsor or a therapy group during rehab, talk to those people about the milestones you pass. Not only will they know the significance of these accomplishments, but your achievements may motivate someone to stick to their own sobriety journey.
Choose Rewards for Different Milestones
Part of the purpose of celebrating milestones is to motivate you to keep going with your sobriety journey. While celebrating with friends and family can be a fantastic way to mark these occasions, it’s also a good idea to arrange some sort of reward for when you reach that milestone. This can help motivate you to stay on the wagon during your harder days.
When you set your next milestone, decide at that time what your reward will be when you reach it. It should be something compelling enough to motivate you, and ideally, it should be a reward proportional to the achievement.
Get a Physical Memento
On your darker days, it may be harder to remember how much you’ve already accomplished in your sobriety journey. Even with the rewards you’ve given yourself, you may feel hopeless, like you’re still doomed to fail. During these times, it can be a good idea to have a physical memento of your sobriety milestones so you can have tangible evidence of your victories.
Some sobriety programs, such as AA, give out tokens for reaching different sobriety milestones. Even if you aren’t in one of these programs, consider getting challenge coins, jewelry, or even keychains to celebrate different milestones. When you’re feeling hopeless, you can hold onto those reminders and celebrate all over again how far you’ve come.
Check in on Your Recovery
While sobriety milestones are causes for celebration, they’re also good checkpoints to evaluate your recovery. Take some time during these milestone moments to check in with yourself and see how you’re doing. Do you need to reach out for extra support, or are things smooth sailing?
Discover the Importance of Celebrating Milestones
Recovering from addiction is hard, and even after you leave rehab, you’ll have a long journey ahead of you. Celebrating milestones along the way can help you stay motivated and remind you how far you’ve already come. Share these moments with your loved ones and get yourself rewards that will help you stay on course when times get tough.
If you’d like to learn more tips and tricks for your post-rehab journey, check out the rest of our site at Cenikor. Our substance use disorder treatment programs are available throughout Texas and have been helping people for more than fifty years. Get help today and take the first step on your path to recovery.