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.
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 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