Getting sober has its perks. Not only does it allow you to live a better life—it allows you to live, period. And once you’re in recovery, you’ll find that there’s another perk you get to look forward to: sobriety birthdays!
Unfortunately, sobriety birthdays only come once a year. There are, however, plenty of milestones along the way to help you keep track. Some may not be easy to notice and you may not even think are significant—but they are.
Having been sober for two years myself, which some may consider as still being “fresh in recovery,” I find that I tend to ignore some of the important achievements I’ve made in my life. I think that the longer we stay sober, the easier it is to forget how much we’ve actually accomplished.
Becoming sober is such a huge accomplishment on its own, but it is important to remember the other goals you’ve achieved in your life. Here are 3 recovery milestones you may have missed but are worth giving yourself credit for.
1. Regaining the Trust of Others
This is a huge milestone that is often overlooked because it seems like trust is something you should have never lost in the first place. However, you’ve once lost your credibility with people who are important to you and it happened. Now that you have recovered, you can celebrate its return.
I think one of the best feelings I encountered in my recovery was the day I got a key back to my parents’ house. They not only showed me that I could be trusted again with their belongings, but it showed me that I had come a long way from where I was. There was once a time where I wasn’t allowed in any of the rooms in their home without being supervised. That time has now come and gone.
2. Having Financial Responsibilities
While this doesn’t seem like it should deserve a celebration, don’t forget that not too long ago, your addiction had taken a huge toll on your financial life. In my situation, there was a time when I couldn’t even afford a ride on the city bus. I would wake up in the morning without a clue of what I was going to eat that day or who I was going to ask for money.
I couldn’t have been happier than on the day I signed the lease to an apartment and, a couple of weeks later, received the first electricity bill in my name. That’s right, a bill in my name. Three years ago, I didn’t even have a dime in my pocket—and if I did, it certainly didn’t last long enough to burn a hole through it.
3. Enjoying Work
Think of the days when you couldn’t hold down a job. More specifically for me, I remember the day that I got fired from my job for refusing to take a drug test. Had I taken the test, I would have failed anyway. Some days, it’s harder to enjoy work than others, but most days, many recovering addicts feel grateful to have a job in the first place.
While I don’t go into an office of some sort, I am grateful that I am able to get up every morning and work at home. Most days, I get stressed out and overwhelmed with the workload, but it still beats the days when the only thing I was stressed about how to get high for the day.
Aside from the achievements I’ve mentioned above, recovery milestones can actually be anything you choose to celebrate, including, but certainly not limited to:
- Getting hired for a job
- Being approved for a loan or vehicle
- Having money in your bank account (or having a bank account in general!)
- Buying new furniture or a nice gift for someone
- Spending time with your children or family
- Being able to help a friend or family member in need
The majority of people probably don’t think twice about these everyday experiences, but that doesn’t mean that they should be any less important to you. Any positive change in your life deserves a celebration. It’s not easy to come up from the bottom, and sometimes, it takes longer than we hope. So don’t be afraid to bask in the moment, as these little celebrations are what help keep us sober.