5 Recovery Milestones You Should Definitely Celebrate

Let’s face it: Sobriety isn’t easy, which is why all the recovery milestones you reach are worth celebrating.

Celebrating successes – no matter what size – are important for several reasons. First, these milestones or successes serve as a reward and reminder of our determination to stay clean. In addition, they reinforce all that we’ve already been able to accomplish in our sobriety. Milestones also boost confidence in ourselves and increase our motivation to continue our fight.

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What Recovery Milestones Should I Celebrate?

So, what kind of milestones should you celebrate? The choice is entirely up to you. You could celebrate a week being sober, or you could celebrate 10 years’ being sober. Whatever motivates and encourages you to keep moving forward in your recovery, celebrate it!

For me personally, many of my recovery milestones occurred while I was in prison or, subsequently, on probation. Years ago, I was convicted of two drunk driving felonies. I had too many glasses of wine that night while commiserating over a boyfriend who just dumped me.

Then I made the terrible decision to get behind the wheel and drive home.

About three miles away from my apartment, I crashed into another car waiting at a stoplight while I was responding to a text message, injuring two people in the process.

Due to that one impulsive decision, I was sentenced to four years in Florida state prison.

The Milestones That Mean the Most

Undoubtedly, my prison sentence was a culture shock – just one big, completely unexpected turn of events for me. But celebrating milestones played a big role in how I ultimately survived with my sobriety – and my sanity – intact.

Here are five recovery milestones that stand out for me:

  • #1 Completing my first year behind bars: This was a huge milestone for me, as I initially didn’t think I’d survive a week as an inmate.
  • #2 Completing my four-year prison sentence: On the day of my release, my entire family – who’d been incredibly supportive of me throughout my incarceration – was waiting for me, and I ran into their arms.
  • #3 Completing all of the terms of my probation: This included a one-year requirement of having a breathalyzer installed in my car, called an “interlock device.” You have to blow and hum at the right levels for the device to accept your breath, all which you must perform multiple times while driving. This was a truly stressful experience for me at the time, which makes this a big milestone to reach.
  • #4 Adjusting to life outside of a prison environment: I got so used to my activities being controlled and very structured while I was incarcerated that I worried when I got out, it might be too much change to handle and lead me to relapse. But I made myself a promise that, upon release, I would make the very best of my second chance at life, no matter how hard I had to work at it or what conditions I had to adjust to. Soon a few weeks turned into months in the “real world.” I was adjusting well and so very proud of myself!
  • #5 The court ordering the termination of my probation sentence: For the first time in seven years, I was a free woman. My dad was with me at this court hearing, and we celebrated with some happy tears and a four-course dinner that night.

Give Yourself a Pat on the Back

Reaching all of these milestones made me feel a huge sense of accomplishment and pride. By acknowledging them, I was given the opportunity to pause and reflect on my journey with gratitude and humility. These milestones also allowed me to see how far I’d come and how much I had to be thankful for.

Sure, for many of these milestones, I was incarcerated or hadn’t regained all of my freedom. But during the process, I gained back something much more important: myself.

For years, I had been miserable, comparing myself to others and always holding myself to an impossible standard. Now that I was sober, hitting each milestone allowed me to realize that I was finally comfortable in my own skin, and could get through anything life threw my way.

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Why Are They Important?

Ultimately, milestones mark progress towards longer-term goals and are a crucial part of recovering from addiction, as well as being successful in sobriety. They allow us to acknowledge all we’ve accomplished and how far we’ve come during our journey to stay clean.

Perhaps, most importantly, though, our milestones show us that recovery is possible. They help us to prove to ourselves that we have the power to accomplish anything we set our minds to. If you want to be on the road to recovery, call 800-839-1686Who Answers? to speak with our experts who can help match you with treatment centers in your area.

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