Soberversaries are a mixed bag. Mostly they're quietly fabulous and amazing and lovely. But they can also be quite hard, I think it's important to recognise that.
We give up booze, we set ourselves targets, we work towards them, we count the days, the weeks, the months, then we hit a big Soberversary and we want to 'celebrate' but our old hard-wired 'celebration' techniques aren't in use. And really all we're 'celebrating' is an ongoing raw sober life, so we find ourselves feeling proud but also strangely a bit flat.
Personally I think the one-year soberversary is particularly hard. Yes WOW! - you have made it through 12 long months with no alcohol. You have beaten numerous cravings, navigated your way through many social situations, lurched your way through many emotional states and PHEW!... now you are here. One whole year - woo hoo!
Um. Now what...?
Truth is while in one sense one year is fucking amaze-balls fantastic, in another sense it's actually relatively speaking quite a short stretch of sober time. If you are like me and spent 20+ years drinking alcohol steadily and heavily, one year without that liquid drug isn't very long.
Read back over the Sober Stories published on this site. Often those long-timers say it takes a good 2-3 years before everything starts to calm down. I know that might sound like a bit of a bummer, but maybe it's just best to think of this as a long game - a marathon not a sprint - and be prepared to maybe feel a bit flat as the first big soberversaries slide by.
Of course, you might have a fabulously glorious day and not feel flat at all! Not everyone finds soberversaries tricky. I have struggled some years, but not others. So you never know what might happen. Try and just roll with whatever comes, and be prepared that it can go either way.
I've had 8 soberversaries now, and I've learned not to expect too much from them. I've learned it's worth making a small plan or two in advance - maybe a trip to a favourite clothing store, lunch at a favourite cafe or a treaty purchase or two. I make sure to tell my family so they can make all the right noises. And most of all I make sure to remind myself all day on the day that I'm brave and amazing for being sober. It's that little inner voice, that soft feeling of pride and contentment that is actually the most powerful thing of all.
And really, every sober day is a day to celebrate.
Love, Mrs D xxx