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Sobriety Milestones: What They Mean to Me

Success is not final, failure is not fatal; it is the courage to continue that counts.” ~ Winston Churchill The day my addiction to alcohol crashed in on me and I realized how much of a hold it had on my life, I felt like such a failure. If ever there was a time in my life when I thought that failure truly was a fatal condition, it was that day. The truth though is that mine is a success story. Every day that I make the choice to stay sober and continue in my recovery journey is another example of courage in my life. Early in my journey toward a lifetime of being sober, I realized the importance of marking and moving toward the milestones I was now enjoying.  Staying focused on those victories has time and time again been like a lifeline for me, a source of strength and encouragement during difficult days. Here are some of the milestones I have encountered and celebrated:

The Time Milestone: When Days that Have Passed are Difficult but Still Worth it if I’m Sober

Whether it is a milestone of 30 or 60 days, 1 or 10 years – or even 1 or 10 hours – celebrating every passing moment as a milestone has proven priceless to my recovery. A lot of days, being sober is hard and requires a lot of strength and courage. I find myself really needing to focus on how long it’s been since my last drink. And when I look at the calendar and count the days, I remind myself of how far I’ve come, of what it took to get there, and of why I really don’t want a drink. Because slipping into even one bottle would mean sliding backward past those milestones I’ve treasured so much. That brand of failure just isn’t an option.

Special Events and Sobriety: The Perfect Milestone to Mark the Journey

My first Christmas sober was an interesting holiday, to say the least. I didn’t know how to act (even though I had been sober for many months leading up to that day). Every Christmas for years before that, I’d been embarrassingly drunk. While it started out awkward, I quickly realized what a treasure this day was, that I could truly celebrate with my loved ones and enjoy the time. In fact, special events are now just that to me: special. I consider every holiday or graduation or family gathering as a bonfire lighting my personal path of recovery from alcohol addiction. Allowing these special days (once marred by my out of control behavior) to shine in my newly sober life encourages me to keep pressing on.

Accomplishments in New Activities that are Not Alcohol-Related

Sobriety brought about a wonderful side effect – new activities to fill the void that would otherwise be left by the alcohol I no longer let control me. I enjoy the challenging of learning new activities and of pushing myself to excel. Without the haze of alcohol to dull my senses, I find myself able to focus, catch on quickly, and be excellent in much of what I am doing. I consider my participation in these new activities as definite milestones on my journey of sobriety. With each accomplishment (whether it’s a new skill mastered or another enjoyable hobby added) I call it a victory and celebrate my own path. I know that I am still learning and I often make find myself making mistakes. The truth though is that with each milestone I observe, I am more confident that I am making the right decision to live my life determined to remain sober and in recovery.