Your Sobriety is Hard-Won. Celebrate It!
Recovering from alcohol addiction is literally a life-changing process. Transitioning to a clear head after living a life using alcohol as a coping mechanism requires tremendous vigilance, dedication, and hard work. Most people in recovery have to rebuild their lives from the ground up, including repairing relationships, cutting out friends or family who are still using, and dealing with the previously-dulled thoughts and emotions that may have contributed to drinking in the first place. There are times when sobriety might be a day-by-day (or hour-by-hour) battle. For many people, giving up drinking or using drugs is one of the most difficult things they will ever experience. That’s why it’s time to start proudly claiming and celebrating being sober instead of hiding this important part of your life from the world.
Why is being proud of sobriety so important? Historically, our society has looked down on addicts with adjectives like weak or self-indulgent. Alcoholics Anonymous was founded as an “anonymous” program for a reason! The good news is that as our society becomes more open about struggles with addiction, the stigma around alcoholism is starting to fade. Medical and mental health professionals now understand that addiction behaves more like an illness—meaning it’s something to be treated professionally without moral judgement. Like any other tough disease, confronting and overcoming addiction is really the opposite of weakness: it requires tremendous strength.
It’s also important to note that addiction stretches across all cultures and economic levels. If you’re sober, you’re certainly not alone! Globally, it’s estimated that some 5% of the world’s population struggle with problem drinking. In America, some 15 million adults are active alcoholics. This means that because of the prevalence of alcohol abuse, the sober community is large and diverse. Most major cities now have sober meetup or activity groups, where the focus is on enjoying the new life that sobriety opens up, instead of discussing the past. Because physical activity is a common way to make recovery easier, there are also now sober gyms, hiking groups, and even dance parties. Whichever activity is your style, joining one of these groups is a great way to reinforce your own sobriety while expanding your community with people that inspire each other to make the most of recovery.
So you’re seeking out social events, what else can you do to celebrate your victory while reducing stigma at the same time? Those coins from AA might feel good in your pocket, but perhaps it’s time to celebrate your victories and milestones out loud. There are now multiple ways to do this. A growing number of “sober and proud” retailers are providing all sorts of ways to show off being clean:
…from bold slogans on T-shirts by Doing It Sober:
…or more subtle jewelry:
Besides clothing and jewelry, there is now sober gym apparel, mugs and dishes:
…and even home decor!
A bonus: many of these brands are also run by ex-addicts, making it a great way to support fellow recovering alcoholics on their journey to success.