Achieving and maintaining sobriety is an incredible accomplishment. Why not celebrate it more? Sure, most in recovery celebrate major milestones like being six months, one year, or five years sober. But why not celebrate being 17 days sober? Or going to three meetings instead of the usual two? Or the fact that you woke up 10 minutes early to meditate this morning? Every time you do something special that benefits your recovery, you are winning. And these victories matter. In fact, research shows that celebrating the small wins along the way is crucial to long-term success.
Acknowledging what you are doing right provides you with a greater sense of accomplishment and an increased sense of self-esteem. It also helps to keep you actively engaged and motivated in your recovery. Stop waiting for a major milestone and start celebrating all the steps you are taking along the way.
Below are just a few accomplishments to celebrate:
Taking Care of Your Body
Whether it is finally putting that gym membership to good use or eating more nutritious meals, making a conscious effort to take better care of your body is a great step in strengthening your recovery. Balancing a healthier lifestyle with a busy schedule isn’t always easy, so be sure to reward yourself for making positive choices. Get yourself new workout attire, sign up for a cooking class so you can learn how to prepare healthy meals while having fun, or celebrate by completing a color run or participating in a fun workout class.
Do your loved ones trust you more? Do you now communicate with a once estranged friend? Do your coworkers think of you as reliable and hardworking? Have you gained the respect of your peers? Repairing damaged relationships takes a lot of work and rarely happens overnight. Be sure to celebrate the strides you are making with those around you. A simple way to celebrate this is by showing them gratitude for being supportive of your recovery. You can do this by writing them a handwritten letter, sending them a thank you note, or preparing them a special home-cooked dinner.
Building a Support Network
Opening up to others and reaching out for help can seem daunting, particularly for those in early recovery. Making an effort to develop healthy connections and build a strong support network shows that you are committed to maintaining your sobriety. Celebrate by going out for coffee after a meeting or going to a fun recovery event together.
Taking Care of Your Mental Health
Do you take time to meditate, spend time outdoors, or participate in activities that help your mind unwind? Mental health and addiction are very closely linked, so taking the necessary steps to ensure a healthy mind is very important. Celebrate your commitment to your mental health by treating yourself to something special ⎼ a trip to the spa, a relaxing bath, or some alone time to read a book or binge-watch your favorite show.
Getting Back on Track
No matter how committed you are to your recovery, there are going to be challenging moments. You may become overwhelmed by other aspects of your life and stop going to meetings or counseling or stop actively working your recovery. You may have a particularly stressful day and contemplate having a drink. You may even experience a loss and slip up. No matter what the setback is, it is important to know that you can always get back on track. And once you do, it is important to acknowledge and celebrate that you made the decision to recommit to your recovery.
Recovery is all about growth, and a great way to keep track of this journey is by writing down all of your small victories in a journal. It may seem silly at first to write down that you made it to work on time or had a pleasant conversation with your sibling, but a year from now you can look back at this journal and see just how much you have accomplished and how all those little victories have culminated into much greater accomplishments.