No More Sobriety Anniversaries?

My HipstaPrint 4[2]I had an interesting experience yesterday.  August 4, 1984 is my sobriety anniversary.  Yesterday was August 4 marking my 32 years of sobriety – and I completely forgot about it!  I remembered only when checking my email about 9:00 PM last night and I received a congratulatory note from a friend.  My explanation for the forgetting is two-fold.  First, yesterday was a 21-hour marathon trip back to New Orleans from Lima, Peru and I was engrossed in that activity.  Second, and more importantly, of late I have been thinking about the significance of these anniversary dates.

It seems when I hit 1, 5, 10, and 20 years of sobriety, those were significant milestones for me – intervals that seemed good markers of time.  But the longer I stay sober, the less significant are annual anniversaries, and the more significant is each day and the entire thrust of my existence.  I find that as time passes, I am more reflective of my recovery process.  This reflection is reinforced by my finally dealing with my compulsive overeating addiction.  As I have talked about in the past, dealing with eating disorder is truly a day-at-a-time process and certainly requires more attention to the “isms” that I have eaten over well before I picked up the first bottle of alcohol on July 4, 1962.

So, I am finding that the longer I travel down a recovery road, the more I am able to focus on the daily process and find the annual events take a backseat.  More than ever before, I am coming to ascribe to the understanding that I have only as much recovery as I put into it, today.



7 thoughts on “No More Sobriety Anniversaries?

  1. Totally get what you’re saying, I could not tell you how many days I have but tomorrow is my 18 month sober birthday. Celebrating annual sobriety dates isn’t about me or my recovery, it’s a reminder of how I got to this point. It is a time for reflection and an extra long list of gratitude. Then I hit a mtg and receiving the medallion is for those in attendance hence the “tell us how you did it”
    I’d encourage you to be mindful of you sobiety date and make sure to use it as a beacon for others.

    • Mark, Thanks very much for your comment. Several points come to mind.
      – Yes, I agree that sharing our experience, strength and hope are critically important in recovery. I certainly did not mean to imply that noting that I have put a bunch of years of sobriety together is not an important component of that share.
      – Part of the great diversity of AA to me is that there are multiple parallel recovery paths – like the proliferation of 4th Step processes, including the Big Book method.
      – One of the issues that comes with being an “old-timer” is a level of authority. I do not want the authority of my share to be based on whether I have 10, 15, or 30 years of sobriety. Rather, I want the share to be based on who I am and what I do.
      – I say the above because length of sobriety has little to do with folks from whom I learn. Quite to the point, I am totally bored with folks with 20-30 years of sobriety who tell the same drunkalogue stories over and over. I am pleased that they are there for those who want and need to hear the war stories. But those stories are not what I am about today or what I want to share today. In two minutes, I can totally qualify and provide the requisite examples. I am less interested in “What it was like” but “What happened and what it is like today.” In 30 plus years, I have only walked out of one AA meeting in disgust – when a fellow with some 20 plus years spent the first 20 minutes of his lead talking about how he would have more sobriety but he got very bad advice from his first couple of sponsors, and so forth.
      – And I will be very to the point about where I am at today – I am more active, go to more meetings, and I believe I work a better recovery program than I did 10 years ago. I am fully committed to living in recovery. But the longer I stay sober, abstinent from my eating disorder and other addictions, the less it is using the authority of years in the program and more what I am going to do today.

      Your point is very well taken on the sobriety date. My new home group, in the new city where we have just moved handles this well. When going around introducing at the start of the meeting, individuals have the option of stating their sobriety date. I like that reminder of from where I have come.

  2. Pingback: So, What is this Sobriety Anniversary All About? | Process Not An Event

  3. Pingback: Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) versus Christianity and end times – Belgian Ecclesia Brussel – Leuven

  4. Congratulations on 32 years of sobriety! That really inspires me. 🙂 I’ve only just begun this sobriety thing and all of those I’ve met seem to find each moment, each day of not drinking the real success. Years will add up and time passes, but the small moments are big victories.

  5. I was told to pick up chips for a week from my sobriety date to show the new comer it works. I am grateful for my sobriety, but it’s less about me and showing the new guy that this amazing gift is possible.

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