man with arms raised

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

  1. DebO 5 years ago

    This is a great post. I just hit 90 days and it feels like a really long time. I had my first drink dream 2 nights ago and I feel out of wack still. But I read another blog you posted a couple of years ago that this is normal and that was really helpful.

  2. Deb1209 5 years ago

    This is a great post. I just hit 90 days and it feels like a really long time. I had my first drink dream 2 nights ago and I feel out of wack still. But I read another blog you posted a couple of years ago that this is normal and that was really helpful.

  3. Narley 5 years ago

    Ohhh this is such a good post! I’m about 70days from my 1 year soberversary and already it’s a mixed bag for me, but you’ve given me some good tips aka a nice reward for reaching that point. And to prepare myself for mixed emotions

  4. Tom4500 5 years ago

    Mine is Dec 6, and I take the day off from work. We’ve used it to get Christmas details accomplished. My 1,000 day didn’t amount to much and that was a bit of a disappointment. Stuff got in the way. No tragedy there. I enjoyed all the milestones in the first year, there were so many. Not that I ever want to repeat them. The milestones are farther apart now, a sign that AF is the new normal.

  5. Mari135 5 years ago

    Oh how I love this oxoxoxox Very much on the spot with that year 1 experience.

  6. DavidFS 5 years ago

    Ok, long way to go yet so I can deal with this later.

  7. Lightness 5 years ago

    11days to go! Your message is perfectly timed. I already sense there will be mixed emotions.

    I’m going dancing, though!

  8. hikermom 5 years ago

    Absolutely spot on post. I just passed my 1 year, and it was quiet and humble and yes, a bit flat. I didnt expect much and id prepared to reward myself with a little shopping which was great. I too am still wrapping my head around “forever.” I had initially set a 3 month goal, that turned to 6, and i just kept going. I had a mental agreement with myself that after a year, id reconsider my relationship with alcohol and maybe have a drink here and there of i wanted to. The good news is, i dont want to, not at all. Now I’m just looking forward to 400 days, then 500 and so on, kind of like a game to get to the next level! But yes, “that soft feeling of pride and contentment” is the best feeling!

  9. JM 5 years ago

    Oh that’s so true, the soft feeling of pride and contentment. I find that sobriety has changed me from the inside out, and I am a lot more happy + confident. Congrats on 8 years @Mrs-D! xo

  10. WhippetZ 5 years ago

    Great post Mrs D, it really connected. I’ve recently passed the 1 year soberversary and it definitely was a bit flat! I’d set out to do one year and to then decide what to do after that. I told myself that if I made the twelve months I’d be free to drink again if I wanted to, but now I don’t want to, too scared to, so I’ll just keep going AF. Mentally it feels strange though, because there’s no ‘target’ any more, it’s just one day, then the next, and then the next, forever. It’s weird, I’m definitely proud of what I’ve done, but just kind of in a limbo space where I’m waiting for that sober-forever concept to really cement itself into my self-identity. I guess that will come in time!

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