Whether you have just completed a week, 30 days, a month, 100 days or a year or more alcohol free, there is good reason for you to celebrate sobriety milestones. Even your first Friday night or first barbecue without reaching for a drink is a cause for celebration, to revel in feeling proud and enjoy your achievement.
As I write this many people have just completed Dry January and quite a few posted about celebrating with a drink, which I feel is missing the point completely. Sobriety, recovery or choosing to live an alcohol free life is a process, a journey and a bloody hard one at times, so celebrating with the one thing you don’t want in your life anymore just doesn’t make sense to me. After all why go through the hardest parts over and over?
You deserve to celebrate sobriety milestones in a fun, loving, personal and healthy way which will help to make you feel good about how far you have come and inspire you to keep going. But what can you do? In this post, I want to share with you some ideas on how to celebrate sobriety milestones
Buy something nice for yourself
If you put the money away that you would otherwise have spent on booze you will have a nice little pot to spend on yourself. Even just a week’s worth of beer money will buy you something nice. I think it is important to use some of that money after the first week and get some flowers, a plant or a nice candle, a new book, or a new top. Something tangible and lovely that you can look at which is a reminder of just what can be achieved in a week.
Obviously the longer you save the money the bigger or better things you can buy, but try and keep some of the money just for you and don’t use it to pay a bill or your credit card debt! For more ideas on what to spend your money on check out this post.
Go somewhere special
I think spending the morning, the afternoon or indeed a whole day or weekend away, especially if you are celebrating a big sobriety milestone is a fabulous gift to yourself. Go away with your family or treat everyone to the cinema and pizza. Go to that place you’ve always wanted to but never had the time or money or let’s face it energy! There are loads of things you can do and lots of beautiful places to go so have a look around and get some inspiration.
Part of the fun is in the planning and of course this will give you something to really look forward to. Perhaps afternoon tea at a posh hotel, a mountain hike, a day at the beach, the weekend in a log cabin – the list is endless so use your imagination and plan a wonderful treat.
Treat yourself to a haircut or spa
As someone who has never been to a spar in my life, this sounds like heaven to me! A haircut perhaps not so fancy but perhaps a new colour or make up or just a good old pamper is exactly what you need. When you first quit drinking, going through withdrawal and allowing your body to detox and to return to normal can be exhausting. You will probably feel tired, grumpy, or even unwell.
Doing something lovely for yourself to make you look and feel good especially with the money you would have otherwise wasted on booze, is the perfect way to lift yourself up and reinforce what a truly wonderful thing you are doing for yourself.
Do something you have always wanted
Have you always wanted to join a dance class or enroll in a course of some kind? Use a longer sobriety milestone like six or twelve months and do that thing you have always wanted to do. Parachute, bungee jump, have cooking classes or take a creative writing course, whatever floats your boat – you have earned it!
Spend time with your family or friends
It is important not to celebrate alone, but surround yourself with the people who have loved and supported you on your journey and will continue to do so. For me, part of my reason for going alcohol free was to become the mum I’ve always wanted to be for my kids – a sober mum so the best way to celebrate this is, of course, to spend time with my family. I used to hate the wasted weekends and lost Friday evenings so now we try to make this time special and do something nice as a family which just helps me to realize and understand that this precious time is worth celebrating.
Focus on the food
My one year sober anniversary was spent with my family and some really nice food! Since quitting alcohol, I have noticed that I enjoy my food a lot more and don’t feel guilty about indulging from time to time. The fact that I am eating properly now, instead of staving off the hunger pangs and energy dips with a can of san Miguel, is reason enough to celebrate. On the day of a whole year sober I got a cupcake and it was delicious! We also had a special meal at dinner.
Go, on indulge a little and don’t count the calories as you can see in this interview I had with Victoria Adams, alcohol is full of empty calories so having a slice of cake to celebrate your sobriety milestone is nothing in terms of calorie count compared to the three glasses of wine you would have otherwise consumed.
Look back at your journal and see how far you have come
I believe in self reflection on this journey and reflecting on how far you have come by looking back at your journal is a lovely way to really appreciate how you are feeling and the progress you have made. I love this quote, “You didn’t come this far, only to come this far.” It is a wonderful reminder of just how much you can achieve, especially if, like me, you thought that even going a day or two without a drink was impossible.
Nothing is impossible and by taking a few moments just for yourself to focus, reflect and look within, will continue to inspire and motivate you. How much better do you feel and what have you achieved that you didn’t think you could? Write a list of all the positives and the benefits you have experienced and keep it close on this special day.
Plan something for the future
Just as looking back is a lovely thing to do, planning for the future is also a lot of fun and a great way to inspire you to keep going. You are strong, you are fabulous and you can achieve so much.
Like Mary Karr said,
“There are women succeeding beyond their wildest dreams because of their sobriety”
What do you want to achieve, what hopes, dreams or plans do you have for the future?
Why not create a vision board or make a dream jar with all of your aspirations, dreams and visions you have for yourself and your family. As well as giving you some focus and clarity around your decision to do this and keep going, this kind of visual aid is a great way to stay connected to yourself, especially when times get tough.
Look at what you want to do whenever you feel tempted or down or sad or that you are missing out. Your dreams are far more important to you than a brief moment of numbing out with a glass of vino but sometimes we need to actually see what we want to help us to keep going.
Get a tattoo
I got my tattoo at around 8 months, it was part birthday present and part sobriety milestone celebration. Obviously this is a very personal thing and not everyone will want to do it but there are so many lovely and special words, phrases, symbols, dates or messages that you can get inked on to your skin for a beautiful, permanent reminder of why you are on the path you have chosen.
Make a day of it, as if it was your birthday
I love this and it is something I didn’t do on my one year sobriety milestone but something I want to do when I celebrate two years. Have a lazy morning, breakfast in bed is glorious if you can, and take the day to yourself doing the things you love with the people you love. No chores or cooking. Plan to be spoilt, do the things that you love and if you can get a present – even better!
Don’t skip your sobriety milestones
This is very important and you should celebrate every sobriety milestone, not just the bigger ones. By celebrating your sobriety milestones you are not just acknowledging how far you have come, but also teaching yourself that you can celebrate sober and have an amazing time. There are so many ways to treat yourself without alcohol as you can see in this post. The more you do it, the more you will rewire your brain and create new neural pathways so that over time, having fun, celebrating and having a treat mean so much more than just reaching for the wine!
By celebrating your sobriety milestones and making alcohol free living your new normal, you will see that actually being alcohol free is pretty amazing and should be celebrated every single day!
Are you ready to make living an alcohol free life your new normal? Work with me and let’s celebrate together.