No part of the recovery process is easy, and reaching an entire year sober is a huge accomplishment. However, this milestone doesn’t mean that one’s recovery no longer needs to be at the forefront of one’s mind. This time is a huge transition point that indicates how an individual has learned to cope with several stressors, urges, and has embraced effective life skills. Taking time to reflect on the past year and fine-tune one’s strategies can turn this first year of sobriety into a tool of reflection that helps with the next years of sustained sobriety ahead.
Take the Time to Celebrate
Make no mistake–an entire year sober deserves to be celebrated. While it is common that one’s first year sober is filled with hardships, difficult emotions, and a lot of work mending relationships, making it through such a difficult time is nothing short of a major testament to one’s dedication and drive and should be treated as such.
Celebrating this milestone can mean different things to different people. While some may want to commemorate the year by throwing a sober party, others may take a more intimate approach to the celebration and surround themselves with only a few of the most important supports in one’s life, taking the time to thank them, talk about one’s accomplishments, and even begin creating new familial or social dynamics going forward. Regardless of the way in which one wants to celebrate their sober holiday, setting time aside to genuinely acknowledge the difficulty and triumph that comes with one’s entire first year sober is a crucial part of the process, both for the sake of one’s supports, as well as for one’s own motivation and self-confidence.
Take Stock of The Previous Year
Having made it an entire year without using a drug or taking a drink means that each person has had the opportunity to experience everything that the year has to offer through a sober mind. Having made it through holiday celebrations, family gatherings, and even the unique trials of the summer and winter months, a person can now even better prepare for the different parts of the year ahead.
Having been through these annual events means that each individual has a better idea of how these stresses can personally affect them. Some may have a great support system that allows for the successful implementation of sober parties to celebrate holidays, such as Thanksgiving or the 4th of July, but may still struggle with the lingering effects of seasonal affective disorder (SAD) during the winter months. Having experienced each of these aspects means that an individual can fine-tune their practices and prepare for the parts of the year that are most difficult.
Talking about the more difficult parts of one’s experience can not only help identify areas where an individual may need to focus more of their effort to develop strategies but also highlight exactly how difficult the process was, further illuminating one’s dedication and resilience in being able to overcome such a difficult and tumultuous time in one’s life.
Personalize Your Path Forward
The first year of recovery can be filled with a lot of experimentation and new experiences. Each individual will be trying new things to fill their time, work on new therapeutic practices, reevaluate their own daily schedule, and even implement entirely new life skills into their routines. This transformation can be filled with a deluge of overwhelming information. However, after one’s first year sober, each person will have gained a bit more freedom to personalize their own strategies.
After a year is when one’s new sober identity can truly begin to form, as a person has had time to develop various recovery strategies. This milestone marks when these practices can become even more refined, allowing each person to decide for themselves which practices have helped them the most through the past year and focus on these strategies going forward. This frame of mind can also open one’s eyes to new strategies that one may better feel fits their new sober identities, giving a better picture of the person they want to be.
Make New Plans for the Next Year
Celebrating and looking back on one’s first successful year sober is a great experience. However, it is still the first year of many, and using what a person learned in this first year is a tool to help maintain this sobriety for years to come. This can mean looking at one’s goals in sobriety–which ones an individual may have accomplished as well as which ones may need more focus–as well as further deepening one’s sense of their sober identity. Setting clear goals can help each person continue their recovery in the best mindset, allowing for them to continue to better separate their past use of an addictive substance from their new healthy and sober identity.
Celebrating the first year of sobriety is an uplifting and revelatory milestone, and we at Everlast Recovery are ready to help you make it the first of many. Our programs are designed to meet you where you are in recovery and create a plan that is right for you based on your unique needs and goals throughout sobriety. We champion the idea of constant development and can work with you to continue to expand your recovery toolkit and best practices to take on the years to come. Our facility takes a home-like approach to your sustained sobriety, providing a comfortable space and home-cooked meals to help your mind be at ease throughout the process and allowing the space and resources for you to focus on yourself and your own development and progress. For more information on how we can personalize your time with us or to speak to a caring, trained professional about your unique situation, call us today at (866) 338-6925.