Sobriety is Not Boring
One of the fears that people have when they give up alcohol or drugs is that a life of sobriety will be boring. Once people spend a bit of time in recovery they realize that this is a complete myth. It is actually the life of the addict that is more predictable and dull. Sobriety opens up a world of opportunity, and most people complain that there is not enough hours in the day to do all the things they want to do. In can be hard for those who abuse substances to understand how anyone could celebrate anything without mind-altering substances to help things along. These individuals can later find out that it is not only possible to celebrate without alcohol and drugs, but that it is significantly more rewarding to do so.
Reasons to Celebrate in Recovery
When people give up alcohol and drugs they already have something to celebrate. The longer they stay sober the more reasons they will have to feel good about life. There will also be plenty of special occasions in sobriety worth celebrating such as:
* Birth of a child
* Sobriety birthdays
* New job
* Passing an exam
* Winning an award
* Getting a promotion
* Getting married
* Holidays like Christmas
* Recognition for a job well done
Once people escape an addiction, they are sure to have some great days ahead of them. These celebratory times are to be enjoyed, but they can be treacherous for people who are in the early days of their sobriety.
Dangers of Celebratory Occasions in Recovery
Most people in recovery will be prepared for their sobriety to be tested when times are hard. It can come as a shock to many individuals to discover that the good times can also be a test as well. One people become secure in their sobriety this becomes less of a problem but during those early weeks and months there can be risks surrounding celebratory occasions.
Addicts use alcohol or drugs to celebrate the good things in life and provide comfort when things go bad. This connection between substance abuse and reward becomes deeply ingrained, and the individual can continue to hold on to such ideas long after they become sober. This means that when there is something to celebrate they can feel entitled to alcohol or drugs. The fact that they are not allowed to have these rewards means that the celebration can feel less meaningful. The individual feels cheated and they may be tempted to relapse. This is why it is so vital that people learn to find new ways of celebrating in recovery.
How to Celebrate in Recovery
Once people become sober, they will no longer be able to celebrate like they once did. This means that they can no longer use alcohol or drugs as a reward for good behavior or as a way to party. Instead they discover new ways of celebrating, including some of the following:
* The individual will usually have traditions surrounding celebratory occasions like Christmas, and these will usually involve substance abuse. The individual needs to develop new traditions to replace the old ones.
* It is important to realize that celebrating without alcohol and drugs can feel strange in the beginning. The reality is that anything new will feel strange at first, but this does not mean that it will prove to be dissatisfying.
* It can take a bit of time before people in sobriety work out the rewards that are most meaningful to them. Once the do this they will be able to use these treats to celebrate a job well done.
* If possible it is best to avoid celebrating in places where there is going to be a focus on using alcohol or drugs. As they say in Alcoholics Anonymous , if you sit in a barber shop for long enough you will eventually get a haircut.
* If people do need to celebrate in wet places then they would be advised to be extra cautious in case thoughts of relapse arise. It can be helpful to take along a sober friend or at least the telephone number of somebody else in recovery.
* It can be a good idea for the individual to arrange their own sober celebratory events. There is no reason why a party needs to involve alcohol.
* Recovery groups will often organize sober events around special occasions like Christmas and New Years.
* It is important that people do celebrate their achievements. If they fail to do so, they may be paving the way for justifications to relapse.