Recovery Birthdays

[fa icon="calendar"] Apr 13, 2022 8:00:00 AM / by DeAnna L.

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There is this thing when you are sober, a celebration of sorts, called a recovery birthday (think cake and laughter and a new shiny chip).  They can be a big deal to those of us living in Recovery.  It is a milestone reached, a celebration of the life we are currently living, an acknowledgment of the journey we have embarked upon and continue to walk everyday despite the difficulties.  A reminder that we are still alive and not just surviving anymore, but thriving.  But these birthdays aren’t always easy, or happy and that can be confusing.

I just celebrated 5 years of continued sobriety.  5 years of not a single mind-altering substance.   5 blessed years of clear cognitive ability.  5 years of waking up remembering having gone to bed.  5 years of dreaming.  Yet, I held back tears all day. My loved ones were a tad confused by this, they think I should be so proud of my accomplishments, so happy about all that I have done in “just” 5 years.  Don’t get me wrong, I am in a profoundly different place.  I am blessed to have been given the option to recover and I am so very pleased with the action I have taken to walk the road of recovery. 

But there is something still so raw about it all.  It is a stark reminder of how I used to be before I got sober.  It is a reminder of all of my friends that have lost the battle and are no longer with us on this earth. It is a reminder of the shame that I still carry, and that weight is heavy.  To celebrate the day I started to get my act together and the day that I decided it was time to face the music and grow up is not one I relish in celebrating.  I was 38 years old when I made this move.  A late bloomer to the story of a fulfilled life.  The day that I embarked on this road, was not the best day of my life. I didn’t feel so hot.  My body still reeling from the effects of daily drinking and ingesting as many drugs as I could.  I could barely walk much less speak coherently. Suffice it to say, it was NOT a good day, and I remember this all vividly.

This year was a little different though.  I felt all of this, in my bones, in my heart and in my head.  I was acutely aware of the emotional rollercoaster I was on, all day.  By the end of the day, I came to a few conclusions that may help others that struggle with this day in their own story.

  1. This is not just a celebration, it is a recognition.  That doesn’t mean I have to feel any sort of way.  I get to simply feel how I feel, whether that is happy or sad or perplexed or forlorn or lonely or ecstatic or elated.  Its my day.  No one gets to tell me how I should feel.  I am letting that go.
  2. Crying is ok. Let the emotions go. Let it out.  Stop stopping.  That isn’t the life I want to live any more.  I want to feel things, all of them.  Whenever they present themselves.
  3. Keep dreaming. Dream as big as you possibly can.  I never thought I would be sitting here writing this post about a 5 year recovery birthday.  I never thought every word of it would be true. 
  4. This is just the beginning.

One day at a time.  You got this!  And remember to celebrate you, all along the way even when it is hard, and especially when you reach important milestones in your recovery.

Topics: families, Sober Housing, 12 Traditions Of AA, Alcohol & Health, celebration, birthday

DeAnna L.

Written by DeAnna L.

Finance & Business Operations Coordinator

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