Why Your Sobriety Dates Are Important

There’s no right or wrong way to achieve lasting sobriety. When it comes down to it, as long as you’re doing it in a healthy way, it’s really the results that matter. This is why there are so many different recovery resources available; although we have a tendency to gravitate toward addiction treatment programs as the go-to recovery method, there are a variety of others — such as twelve-step programs and other recovery fellowships — that can be just as effective in certain circumstances.

But there are certain aspects of recovery that are quite important no matter the method of recovery. For instance, while the means by which a person investigates the underlying causes of his or her substance abuse may change, the fact that those underlying causes are important and need to be addressed exist across the board. Similarly, when you’re just beginning your sobriety, there are certain things you’ll want to take note of and remember, one of which is your sobriety date. But what exactly is a sobriety date, and why is it important?

What is a “Sobriety Date”?

The average person has numerous dates to remember that are important for varying reasons. For instance, we have our birthdays, family members’ birthdays, friends’ birthdays, anniversaries, new jobs and promotions, weightloss achievements, and holidays; then there are those irregular dates that mostly consist of things like visits to the doctor, vacations, and other types of appointments. When you consider just how many there can be, it can start to seem like quite a chore to keep them all straight.


Most treatment centers offer 30, 60 and 90 days options. Each month is a new milestone until you reach one year.

Those in recovery from alcoholism and drug addiction have another date that’s particularly near and dear to their hearts, and that’s their sobriety dates. Basically, a person’s sobriety date is the first date of sobriety following a period of active addiction or substance abuse. However, it’s not merely a single sober day after a long period of substance abuse; rather, the implication is that all days following the sobriety date are sober days. Therefore, the rule of thumb is that the last time an individual in recovery drank alcohol or used drugs would have been the day before his or her sobriety date.


It may seem inconsequential, but there are a couple key reasons why a person may want to keep track of his or her sobriety date.

Tracking Your Progress

Initially, a person will keep track of the first day of his or her sobriety almost incidentally. Since recovery is usually especially difficult during an individual’s first days without the substance to which he or she had been addicted, the individual has frequent thoughts about substance abuse, inadvertently reminding him or her of just how long it’s been since he or she had used alcohol or drugs. Over time, thoughts of alcohol or drug use become less repetitive and recurring, but the individual continues to remember his or her first day of sobriety.

A person’s sobriety date becomes a really convenient way to gauge just how long he or she has been sober, essentially become the individual’s metric for recovery. Having made a note of his or her sobriety date, a person can accurately calculate just how long he or she has been sober. This really helps to put a person’s recovery in perspective, allowing an approximation of how far he or she has gone in the recovery process.

Celebrating the Milestones

Perhaps more than anything else, keeping track of sober days is done so that people can celebrate the milestones of their recoveries. Compared to early recovery when a person is tallying his or her sober time by the hours and days, being able to say that you have a year, three years, or five years in recovery is a big deal. Many recovery support groups will have celebrations for individuals hitting long-term sobriety goals or otherwise take a few moments to commend those who are hitting their short-term goals. Meanwhile, others commend the people who are achieving longer and longer recovery goals, and it becomes a testament to a group’s success as people begin to achieve higher numbers.

Beyond celebrating the milestones, keeping track of sobriety dates is highly aspirational. When you see that today is the sober date for someone in your support group and he or she has maintained his or her sobriety for a number of years, you’re seeing firsthand evidence that recovery is possible and long-term recovery goals are attainable. As others have success in recovery, it serves as motivation for others to achieve those goals, too. In short, sobriety dates can stoke the flames of an individual’s resolve, giving him or her much more motivation to continue working on his or her recovery and achieve longer-term recovery goals.

Luke Pool

Luke is a grateful member of the Recovery community. He has found his purpose in life by helping those who suffer from the diseases of addiction. He uses blogging and social media to raise awareness about this epidemic, affecting every part of this country. Now working for Stodzy internet marketing, he is able to pursue his passion by informing as many people as possible about addiction. Originally from Austin, Texas he now lives in South Florida

18 thoughts on “Why Your Sobriety Dates Are Important

  1. I’ve been alcohol-free for 17 months and ? days. The first several weeks were exceptionally painful and disjointed. After I settled down, I tried to remember when I quit. What I came up with was three potential Sundays in January. I still don’t know, so I sort of fudge the date and say Jan 15th. Not knowing doesn’t *really* affect anything, but it seems absurd that I can’t put a date on one of the biggest events of my life.

    Liked by 3 people

  2. I understand that sobriety date can help track progress and motivate. It can also hinder and move a person to dispair if they slip. The massive focus on DAYS can make a lapse into a full blown relapse. This is black and white thinking that I personally believe to be detrimental to people trying to get sober, especially in the early years. I’m a believer in abstinence based recovery but the fact is the road to that is not straight. I think we need to rethink the way we talk about sobriety dates and be inclusive of people who struggle with it( like me).

    Liked by 4 people

    1. It is because of those 5 yrs. that your first 7 days has taken you further.

      Recognizing relapses is a way to recognize trigger points, which is good relapse prevention practice. It also is a way to stay humble, which is critical for long standing recovery.

      Recognizing dates in recovery are by no means a way to relapse. There is no evidence of such note. Focusing on the relapse and how you had so many days, weeks or years, and then relapsed, would be self-defeating. It is the focus on the relapse and how someone might have ‘blown it’, is where the thinking starts to slide downhill. It is not the recognizing of days in sobriety. Remembering sobriety, and all the gifts it gives, is where to lead your minds journey. Drown out (not so easy to do, I know) the negative voice. Don’t be fooled by the insidious nature of the addict voice.

      Also, digging deeper into ones’ relapses, is where the key is held. Tread lightly, because it is discovering the darkness, that brings the light in. It is the light that saves us! It is the darkness that diminishes our soul to lead back into a path of using.

      Don’t be confused by where the message is coming from.

      Cheers to all the days you have experienced recovery! Focus on that, not your relapses.

      Liked by 4 people

    1. Wow. When you’re sober is such a big deal. Thank you so much for sharing this. Whenever I’m at a meeting and somebody takes a one-year I burst out in happy tears. 🙏🌟💕


  3. I was told we are gifted one day every 24 hours. Every day is a milestone for this old drunk. I used to count the days, hours minutes and seconds in fascination. It was a miracle. Last month was 29 years. Every day, every breath, every sunrise is just a blessing.


  4. Hi thanks for so much helpful insight here on your blog. And thanks for dropping by my site recently – appreciated. I find so much of the wisdom here can apply in a wider range of issues people have in their lives, especially in dealing with other kinds of destructive habit. I was also wondering if you have any views on the Sinclair method for stopping drinking (using Nltraxone or Nalmefine only on days you feel you may drink)? It seems to be getting some results with people. I’m generally reluctant to advise medication for anything but sometimes I believe it can help some people. Thanks again, best wishes, Roberta

    Liked by 1 person

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