If you’re coming up on a sobriety milestone, don’t think twice about whether or not you should have a little shindig. Celebrating sobriety is a major part of substance abuse recovery and allows you and your loved ones to share their delight in your success so celebrate sobriety large!
Unfortunately, many (if not most) celebrations tend to involve alcohol, which makes planning a party for a sobriety milestone take a little more creativity. But at the same time, there’s no set rule about how we celebrate these milestones — so it can be anything you want! If you’re stuck and unsure about what to do, check out these tips for celebrating soberness:
Have A Private Dinner
If you don’t quite feel ready to have a big get-together to celebrate your sobriety, that’s okay. Go ahead and have a private dinner with your family or closest loved ones. Here are some top rated recipes to get you started, courtesy of Foodnetwork.ca
Celebrations don’t need to be big or flashy to have a real impact on you and your recovery. The important part is sitting down and marking your accomplishments. Even 30 days sober is something to celebrate!
Go To A Theme Park
Many theme parks don’t allow alcohol at all, and the ones that do require it to stay in very specific places. And while theme parks may mostly target kids, there’s plenty of fun for adults too.
Consider celebrating soberness at places like Canada’s Wonderland right here in Toronto, or one of the top 10 amusement parks of North America. In Canada, of course, you have the cold season to worry about so yes, amusement parks may not be open. There’s plenty of winter activities though like skiing, tobogganing, snowshoeing, etc. Point is, you should feel on top of the world!
Get Your Adrenaline On At Laser Tag
For some folks, a theme park may be a bit too much. If you want the childhood fun of a theme park without all the frazzle, you might want to see if there are any laser tag arenas nearby. Themed restaurants can also be a great choice, especially if they primarily target kids and don’t serve alcohol.
Be aware though that many of these establishments that specifically cater to adults will have a heavy emphasis on alcohol. Make sure to check the place out before you schedule your session.
Give a Little Back
If you feel a little bit weird celebrating soberness, mark the occasion by giving back a little bit. Consider taking one of your friends out for dinner, especially if they’re struggling with substance abuse issues of their own. Or the people who stuck with you through this journey of recovery.
You might also want to look into other ways you can give back to your community, such as volunteering that day, or running in a charity 5K. There’s no reason you can’t take some of that feeling good about yourself and spreading it around.
Quick Weekend Getaway
Is there a little B&B that you’ve always wanted to go to? Be bold, and make a reservation. Having the reservation already in place, specifically for celebrating soberness, can have a huge impact on preventing relapses. For many folks, their substance abuse cycle was heavily tied up with rewards — so turn that on its head, and reward yourself for staying clean!
When you make that reservation, though, make it for at least two. The last thing you want is to be celebrating your milestones alone, so bring along family or a loved one for the getaway.
A Picnic in the Park
If you’re lucky enough to have your milestone during a nice time of year, take it as an excuse to have a picnic in the park. Parks are a great place to celebrate because most of them don’t allow alcohol at all, so you don’t have to worry about being tempted.
Plan out your picnic in advance, if you’re planning on inviting a lot of people or want to have a potluck. Not only do people need to make some time in their schedule (and plan what they’re bringing), but you may want to reserve some of the picnic benches in the park, which will need to be done in advance.
Don’t Count Calories
Eat whatever you want. No, really. When you’re celebrating soberness, it’s not a time to count calories. Just like many people ditch the diet for Thanksgiving or Christmas, you should definitely not be worrying about how many calories were in your dessert.
Consider this day your reward for all your hard effort — and eat like it. If you go out, make sure to order something with an obscene amount of chocolate. There’s no reason anyone should have to celebrate without sweets.
Go To A Game
If you’re a sports fan, you may want to grab some tickets to a ball game. If in the past you used to drink heavily during sports events, this is a great way to retake something you love.
While many professional sporting arenas allow the sale of alcohol, most college events don’t. So if you’re worried the temptation might be too great, consider going to a college baseball game, instead of the pros. You’ll likely have just as much fun, without having to think about the booze.
Pretend It’s Your Birthday
If you end up going out to a restaurant, have someone tell the waitstaff that it’s your birthday. It might be a little bit embarrassing to have the candle and cake come out, but when you do, everyone in the restaurant will be celebrating sobriety with you – and they won’t even know it.
And it’s not really that big of a deception. When you’re celebrating sobriety milestones, you are celebrating a birthday — the birthday of your new, sober self.
Celebrate All Day
Even if you’re planning an event, celebrating soberness doesn’t have to be limited to that time frame. Go ahead and have french toast for breakfast and take a lazy day. Treat your milestone like a holiday — because it should be, and you’ve earned it. That much hard work deserves a little more than an hour or two of fun.
Don’t Celebrate Alone
A big part of celebrating sobriety is to replace your reward traditions. However, this can also make celebrations very difficult for the recovering addict, and potentially lead to relapses.
When you’re celebrating, make sure to do it with with family and friends, not alone. If you’re not inviting your sponsor, make sure that you have their number on hand, or any resources you might need to get through the night.
Please remember that no matter how it feels, you are not alone in your fight with addiction. So you shouldn’t have to celebrate by yourself. Be proud of your achievements, and share them with someone special.
Avoid Celebrating with Alcohol
They say in AA that if you sit in a barber shop for long enough, you’ll eventually end up with a haircut. Even if the plan is for a dry celebration, don’t celebrate in a place that puts emphasis on alcohol. That doesn’t just mean bars — you might be surprised at some of the places that put a heavy emphasis on drinking.
If you’re planning on celebrating soberness somewhere you haven’t been before, make sure to scope it out beforehand to make sure that it’s appropriate for your function. Many newer bowling allies, that cater to young adults focus more on drinking, and less on bowling. Bowling might be a great way to celebrate your milestone, but not if everyone around you is drunk or high. There’s people who think smoking marijuana before bowling might be fun, but it’s not. So stay away from such environments.
Don’t Skip Milestones
It may seem like there are a lot of milestones, and they’re not all worth celebrating. Well, it’s true — there are a lot of milestones. But on the other hand, they are all worth celebrating.
30 days of sobriety is a huge achievement, and there’s no reason to dismiss it. Fighting addiction is an uphill battle, and a big part of that is acknowledging that it’s difficult.
It’s also extraordinarily important for recovering addicts to find new ways to celebrate. For most alcoholics, celebrating without alcohol doesn’t feel as meaningful at first (that’s one of the things Lindsay Lohan failed at). By celebrating each and every milestone, you slowly teach yourself that you can celebrate sober. Skipping them can pave the way back to relapse.
Do Drop By AA (or our lifetime alumni group)
You might find that later in your path down recovery, you visit AA less. And that’s okay. However, going to a meeting when celebrating soberness can be a huge boost in motivation. When you go to an AA meeting, that was introduced to you by your friendly neighbourhood alcohol rehab centre, you are surrounded by people who understand the struggle you are going through, and so also understand how important your milestone is. You also are a sign of inspiration to others, who are still struggling to reach their first 30 days.
Celebrate Sobriety No Matter What
But no matter how you end up celebrating soberness, make sure that you do. Create new traditions, and treat yourself to something nice. Surround yourself with loved ones, and remind yourself why you went sober in the first place. Then, tell yourself that you can reach the next milestone. It may not be easy, but you’ll get there, and to celebrate sobriety again.