In recent years, there have been many strides taken to help destigmatize addiction and recovery, from the extension of the Americans with Disabilities Act to include substance use disorders, or the industry’s shift in language around phrases such as “substance abuse” to “substance misuse.”
An emerging trend with a growing social media presence is the concept of the “soberversary,” or sobriety anniversary. While the concept of a sober anniversary is nothing new, celebration of this milestone is not something those in recovery have wanted to publicly share due to shame and ongoing discrimination.
The decision to pursue recovery is one with a shot clock attached, influenced by prevalent barriers to treatment access and thoughts like, “one more time before I enter treatment” often leading to fatalities. To not only successfully enter recovery but also maintain sobriety despite the many stressors that accompany life in the present day is a feat of commitment that deserves recognition.
Soberversaries lend dignity and respect to those in recovery. The stigma that has long followed addiction recovery is being actively shed by younger generations accustomed to sharing everything about themselves, both good and complicated. The anonymity that many used to seek no longer serves many individuals in treatment and recovery.
This shift to public celebration of recovery milestones is being driven by younger generations, but also by celebrities taking advantage of their platforms and embracing authenticity. This past July, model Chrissy Teigen commemorated her first soberversary on Instagram, and the digital creator known as Tank Sinatra, who created a host of social accounts and online publications dedicated to positive news, recognizes his anniversary and recovery journey each year as well.
For many people, keeping track of how long they have been in recovery is both a cause for celebration, but also a solemn occasion, bringing with it the feelings of accomplishment, those of regret, past traumas and more. Soberversaries are evidence of how far a person has come and can be a complicated and emotional process.
The way to celebrate one’s soberversary is deeply personal, and there is no one way to do so. For some, it may look like treating yourself to something, for others it might be spending time with loved ones. For others still, it might be a more solitary occasion for reflection or meditation. However you chose to recognize the achievements that accompany entering and maintaining recovery, know they are valid.
If you or a loved one is struggling with addiction, call the New England Recovery Center today at 1-877-MyRehab.