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Achieving and maintaining sobriety is an accomplishment worthy of a special celebration. Many people in recovery celebrate their sobriety birthdays each year. At first, you might mark each passing week, day or even hour. What can you use as symbols of your healing?
Those who attend various 12-step programs to aid in their recovery benefit from community and special chips to commemorate their sobriety birthdays. However, not everyone takes the same path to getting clean, which doesn’t render their accomplishment any less celebration-worthy.
What if you want to plan a special gathering with only intimate loved ones or perhaps take a solo spa day to reflect on and honor your progress? You can stop by a coin store or design something meaningful to you. Do you need ideas? Here are five symbols of healing to celebrate your sobriety.
1. A Healing Garden
If you attend therapy as part of your recovery, your therapist might have suggested gardening as a relaxing hobby. There are many good reasons. Digging in the dirt reminds you of your connection with all living things — you matter and are an integral part of this planet.
Furthermore, getting out in nature and sunshine improves your overall mood and mindset. It also increases your weekly exercise quotient, and physical activity can become a valuable partner in your recovery journey. The endorphins produced during movement ease some of the worst withdrawal symptoms and provide a mild natural high and alternative to drug and alcohol use.
Finally, planting a healing garden can become a powerful representation of your continued growth. It’s much easier to learn, develop and adapt without the addiction’s cloud. Your flourishing plants are a potent healing symbol of how you thrive when free from substance abuse’s burden.
- Dedicate a corner of your garden: If you have a big budget, a meditation gazebo surrounded by your favorite plants is a fabulous way to celebrate. Of course, you can always redo a corner of your existing deck or patio, covering it with blooms or fencing it in with fast-growing bamboo for privacy.
- Go wild with containers: What if your balcony is all the outdoor living space you have? Scores of plants grow great without much space.
- Learn bonsai: If you live in a rented room and sleep in a shoebox, make a single miniature, well-tended plant your symbol of healing.
2. A Work of Art
Another way to celebrate your sobriety with a symbol of healing is with a special work of art. It can be one you find that speaks to your soul or one you create yourself.
You don’t have to be an artist. Here are some ideas for things you can do with little artistic ability.
- Make pottery: Venues such as As You Wish have wheels where you can create unique pottery creations that they fire for you. Perhaps you can make a special container for a new garden plant in your healing garden to symbolize your recovery?
- Do a paint-by-number: Paint-by-number kits are for adults, not just kids. You can find intricate designs that you’ll be proud to hang on your wall.
- Create a quilt: Quilts used to do more than keep you warm. They told a story, often one about family. However, there’s no rule against making one that tells the tale of your recovery.
Of course, if you enjoy expressing yourself through art or song, let your creativity shine. You could be in good company. Artistic minds from Van Gogh to Jackson Pollack and The Red Hot Chili Peppers to Pink have celebrated their journey through addiction in paintings and song lyrics.
3. A Book or Movie on Recovery
Sometimes, all you want to celebrate your sobriety is a quiet evening or weekend at home with your thoughts. However, you might appreciate a little entertainment. Consider treating yourself to a new book or movie that deals with addiction and recovery themes.
Movies About Recovery
- When a Man Loves a Woman: This film explores the impact of alcohol use disorder as a family disease.
- The Basketball Diaries: This movie follows the tale of a high school athlete who falls prey to heroin addiction.
- My Name is Bill W.: The inspiring story of the man who founded Alcoholics Anonymous.
Books About Recovery
- A Million Little Pieces: This semi-fictional tale tells the story of one man’s recovery from alcohol and crack abuse.
- Drinking: A Love Story: People tend to think of people with alcohol-use disorder as men, but this book tells the true story of one woman’s recovery from addiction.
- Letting Go of the Thief: One of the most tragic parts about alcohol use disorder is how it kidnaps your brain — and you don’t realize it’s held hostage beneath the haze. This book gives an inside look into “stinking thinking.”
4. A Shadow Box or Scrapbook
You’re understandably proud of your coin collection. Have you considered giving them a place of honor in your home instead of stowing them away in a drawer and maybe keeping one in your pocket?
You can find premade shadow boxes designed to display your recovery coins. Another idea is to DIY with a floating glass frame.
Perhaps you didn’t go the 12-step route. You can still create a scrapbook of your recovery as a symbol of healing. What should you include? Fill it with all the beautiful memories you make and reminders of the new things that bring you joy now that you don’t spend all your time thinking about your substance of choice.
5. Gear for Your Favorite Healthy Hobby
One of the secrets people swear by for sticking to their recovery goals is finding a new, healthy hobby they love. The perfect symbol of healing to mark your sobriety could be a hefty investment in tools to make your favorite pastime more pleasurable.
Have you kept track of your savings? It can help you budget how much to spend. For example, let’s say you spent $15 on a daily six-pack. That’s over $100 a week. If you took up running after quitting drinking, you could save enough in two months of sobriety to invest in a high-performance treadmill.
Maybe you took up yoga — it’s fantastic for encouraging the mindfulness that helps you maintain sobriety. That $400 in monthly savings is enough for a complete mat, towel, strap and bolster set, with enough cash leftover for some new leggings to boot.
Symbols of Healing to Celebrate Your Sobriety
Sobriety is a fabulous achievement worthy of honor. A special symbol of your healing can help you commemorate important recovery milestones.
If you’re approaching a sobriety birthday, consider one of the above symbols of healing to represent how far you’ve come. Every time you look at your special token, you’ll feel empowered as you remember your strength and reaffirm your commitment to health.
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