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To count or not to count….

November 14th, 2017 Mrs D's Blog

… that is the question.

This topic bubbles around recovery communties constantly. Do you count your sober days?

Some of us love counting our days – especially when it’s so easy to do with the sobriety calculator here at Living Sober. We watch our little yellow box tick up and up and enjoy celebrating milestones. We see it as a motivation and very rewarding – a way of gauging achievement.

Others don’t like it at all. They find it pointless or anxiety inducing. Sometimes destructive it if keeps them in a pattern similar to drinking. I also once heard a member here describe it as unnatural saying “we don’t count days with anything else in life- unless we’re counting down to some particular date for some special event.”

I think like with everything else in recovery (and indeed all of life) it’s a case of each to their own. There is absolutely no right way and wrong way here. Either is fine and neither way can be seen as even slightly problematic. Do what works for you, what you want, and don’t be bothered by other’s choices.

What works for one person doesn’t necessarily work for someone else.

I’m constantly blown away by how different our drinking & sobriety stories are. The reasons why we drank alcohol are different, what alcohol did to us was different, the exact reasons why we decided to stop drinking are different, how we go about getting sober is different, what we learn about ourselves in recovery is different. It’s like the welcome note on this site says – “All of our stories regarding alcohol are different, but by sharing our individual truths, we are all immensely strengthened.”

So the bottom line is.. if you want to count days – count days. If you don’t want to count days – don’t count days.

I have to be honest, when I first quit I didn’t count. I think early on (like the first few weeks) I was aware of the days ticking over.. but I wasn’t consciously counting them. Every now and then I’d find a random sobriety calculator on the internet and check where I was at. And I always marked big milestones (90 days, 1 year, 5 years, 2000 days!). But I wasn’t a determined day-counter. It didn’t work for me. Sometimes the days moved too slowly in relation to how I felt I was ‘progressing’ in my recovery. And I didn’t want to be fixated on numbers. For me my whole mindset was “I’m now a non-drinker” and I set about adjusting to that.

But other people love that day-by-day focus and cling to their number of sober days, loving watching as it rises.. collecting each day like a pearl. I get that. And I have to admit that since we launched this site and I plugged my date into the sobriety calculator I’ve loved seeing my number climb higher every time I log in. It’s cool!

Use the calculator if you want to. You can have it permanently set to tick over each day if you like. Or you can check it sporadically. If you don’t want to see the days ticking over.. after you’ve checked where you are at hit ‘recalculate’ and it will clear the decks. Then just leave it alone until you feel like checking in again.

Or don’t use it at all. Whatever works for you is the right choice.

Love, Mrs D xxx

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