When you’ve made the decision to cut out alcohol, every day is something to be proud of. While grander celebrations like ‘sober birthdays’ can be very special events, you can also reinforce and honor your goals by celebrating sobriety in small (or big!) ways throughout the year.
Why Celebrate Sobriety?
Sobriety is one of the best things you can do for your wellbeing. Not only can it improve countless health outcomes, but it also gives you the unique opportunity to share your most authentic self with the world. Whatever path brought you to sobriety, it took courage and commitment. That is a journey well-worth celebrating. Plus, re-affirming your choice not to drink through rewarding rituals can help you stay on track and reach your long-term goals.
Ways to Celebrate Sobriety
Honor the Small Victories
There’s no sober accomplishment that’s too small to commemorate. I often encourage my therapy patients to be proud of all the little moments and choices where progress is made. This could mean recognizing the times in which you previously would have had a drink, and pausing to congratulate yourself. Instead of always looking ahead to a milestone you need to ‘get to’, looking for the “small wins” allows us to feel present and fulfilled in the moment. It also makes these positive moments stand out more in our mind, and we become more motivated to repeat them.
Embrace Physical and Mental Changes
When you liberate yourself from unhealthy alcohol use, it can reset your body, mind, and spirit in incredible ways. The physical benefits of sobriety are countless, and include better sleep, more energy, and improved physical fitness. A great way to celebrate your sobriety is to find an activity to channel these benefits into, like a new hobby. Sobriety can also help you get in touch with your emotions and reduce anxiety and depression. You can celebrate and strengthen these mental changes by getting further in touch with your inner self, like through journaling and meditation.
Reward Yourself with Self-care
Self-care doesn’t just mean treating yourself to a spa day or lavish dessert (although it can!). It means paying attention to your own needs and doing what you can to protect your wellbeing. That may mean setting boundaries, taking up space, or caring for your body through movement and nourishment. Which acts of self-care in sobriety can you practice as a daily way to celebrate and support your alcohol-free life?
Try New Experiences
Instead of focusing on traditional holidays or celebrations, try asking yourself, “What else?” What else do I get to do now that alcohol is not a priority? What else do I want to be able to experience? With the money saved from drinking, what destinations can you travel to that feel most exciting? Exploring new alcohol-free activities is a great way to honor your sobriety and the daily joy it can provide.
Spend Time with Your Community
One of the greatest gifts of sobriety is a stronger kinship with your loved ones and with others on a similar path. You can celebrate your sobriety by connecting with supportive people, whether that be local friends and family, members of online communities, or peers in online alcohol support groups. Being able to talk about your progress with others who understand you is a rewarding experience.
Knowing and loving your authentic self
Holding self-compassion for yourself, even in moments of difficulty, is an ongoing way to celebrate the person you are and the choices you’re making. I often refer to Dr. Kristin Neff’s work around self-compassion in therapy. These three key points can serve as stepping stones for celebrating your sobriety through self-compassion:
- Take a mindful moment: Reflect on how you genuinely feel about your sobriety and the gifts it’s given you. What feelings emerge when thinking about the progress you have made up until this point? Becoming mindful can help you feel connected to yourself and your progress.
- Recognize your shared humanity: What would it look like to know you are not alone? How would you treat a loved one if they were in your shoes? Knowing we are not alone in our experience and treating ourselves the same way we would a close friend or family member are great ways to practice self-compassion.
- Meet yourself with loving-kindness: Practicing loving-kindness means greeting yourself with tenderness and resisting the urge to judge yourself for the human experience you’re having. This includes not judging how you choose to celebrate your sobriety!
How to Get on the Path to Sobriety
If you feel stable in your sobriety, that’s wonderful and worthy of celebration. If you’re still working on removing alcohol from your life, that’s just as commendable. Stopping drinking is not always as simple as ‘wanting to.’ Your body can adapt to crave alcohol, and it can take time to develop healthier habits and coping mechanisms. You should feel empowered to seek out tools and resources to help you reach your goals. At Monument, we offer treatment options like medication to stop drinking, personalized alcohol therapy, and peer support to help make sobriety attainable for all.
Remember that you get to discover your own ways to enhance sober joy. Just as sobriety is a non-linear journey, your forms of celebration can evolve as you do. Anytime you incorporate movement, relaxation, or social support into your day, you are connecting to your very human nature. What is more worth celebrating than living an authentic, whole-hearted life?