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How Celebrating Recovery Milestones can Increase Motivation

Last Updated on April 27, 2022

Achieving and maintaining sobriety requires motivation, determination, and self-accountability. Although those who have never been down the path to sobriety may not realize what a difficult process it can be, fighting addiction is at times an uphill battle, with an estimated 40-60% of those in recovery experiencing a relapse at some point along the way[1]. This means that each recovery milestone you reach in your journey is an event worth celebrating.

Recognizing Recovery Milestones Using the Chip System

Celebrating sobriety milestones is an important part of the addiction recovery process, as it allows both you and your loved ones to acknowledge the positive steps you’ve been making to better yourself and your life. One of the most widely recognized symbols of sobriety milestones is the chip or coin system, which is often used in AA, NA, and other 12-step programs to celebrate members’ sober anniversaries, although anyone can use them to celebrate their own personal achievements in remaining sober [2]. Because most 12-step groups operate independently, the colors and anniversary dates for chips or coins can vary widely, although traditional chip or coin colors and dates are as follows:

  • White or Silver Chip: 24 hours of sobriety
  • Red Chip: 30 days (1 month)
  • Gold Chip: 60 days (2 months)
  • Green Chip: 90 days (3 months)
  • Purple Chip: 4 months
  • Pink Chip: 5 months
  • Blue Chip: 6 months
  • Copper Chip: 7 months
  • Dark Red Chip: 8 months
  • Purple Chip: 9 months
  • Gold Chip: 10 months
  • Green Chip: 11 months
  • Bronze Chip: 1 year of sobriety, and each additional year afterward.

Although participating in the chip or coin system is a completely optional and personal choice, for many in recovery it is helpful to carry a small memento with them daily as a reminder of how far they’ve come in their recovery during times of temptation or stress. If you do attend AA or NA meetings regularly, celebrating your sobriety milestones with a group of people who can empathize with you and who understand the journey that you’re on can be great positive reinforcement for you to stay motivated and sober.

Related Post: 7 Common Challenges People Face in Recovery

Other Ways to Celebrate Recovery Milestones

Whether you’ve been sober for one day or ten years, taking the time to celebrate the progress you’ve made in your recovery journey can be a much needed reminder of the progress you’ve made after reaching the decision to live a sober life. Other major life events such as wedding or relationship anniversaries are celebrated regularly and your sobriety date should be as well because it recognizes that you’ve achieved something significant.

Celebrate Your Sobriety Anniversary or “Birthday”

The date you choose to celebrate your sobriety anniversary or birthday is entirely up to you, although it’s most commonly remembered as the last day you drank or used, the day after your final relapse, the day you decided to get help, or the date that you first entered treatment for your addiction. Although the recovery journey technically has no end or finish line, setting a date to look forward to each year (or even month) will give you the motivation to keep moving forward.

Recognize Your Support Network

The choice to live a sober life is a very personal one, but taking time to celebrate your own recovery achievements can also serve as an opportunity to recognize those in your life who’ve helped to support you along the way. Whether it be writing thank you notes, taking someone out for lunch, or sending small tokens of gratitude, the people who make up your support network will appreciate you for acknowledging the roles they’ve played in helping you maintain your sobriety.

Throw a Sober Party

Planning a sober party is an ideal way to include your friends and loved ones in the celebration of your recovery milestone. Creating an atmosphere where people can comfortably gather and celebrate your achievement will remind you that your sobriety journey isn’t solely about yourself but is also beneficial to the people who have loved and supported you along the way.

Related post: What is the Best Way to Get Sober?

There is Professional Help Along the Way

It’s always worth a reminder that the journey of sobriety will remain ongoing throughout your life, and there are likely to be a few pitfalls and missteps along the way to your recovery milestones. If you feel that you need additional support in your recovery process, please call Nova Recovery Center at (888) 427-4932 or contact us online today.

References:

  1. Rates and predictors of relapse after natural and treated remission from alcohol use disorders
  2. AA Sobriety Milestones (Chips/Coins)

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