I love wordplay. I came up with the word SobrieTea when I started a blog that documented my sobriety journey. A year later, on my one-year sober birthday, it made sense to refer to the occasion as my SoBerthday. Perhaps I have a thing for portmanteaus. I also have a thing for celebrating these truly powerful days that represent commitment, consistency, and an arduous amount of personal work. 

A SoBerthday is a monumental day that acknowledges the fact that you gave up booze or drugs or any other harmful behavior that no longer serves you. You decided to make a significant lifestyle change in order to better your life because you finally realized that you— yes you!— deserve better. At times, it can feel like just another day but let me reassure you, this is a day that deserves the utmost celebration. Here are a few ways to treat yourself on your sober anniversary.

1. Go Big: Throw a Party

As a former party girl, I still love to party. It’s fun to get dressed up while hanging out with people I love. It’s okay to treat this day like an actual birthday party or something even bigger! I’ve even gone so far as to get a SoBerthday cake, commemorating this glorious day. Last year, I celebrated by taking myself to Alanis Morrisette’s intimate, one night only show at The Apollo. There was something magical about seeing this concert alone. I allowed myself to fully immerse in the experience, crying and singing along with 1,500 other fans. This year might be a little different due to the pandemic, but that doesn’t mean you can’t throw yourself a Zoom party! 

2. Go Small: Chill at Home

Sobriety has also helped me get acquainted with my introverted side. Sometimes there’s nothing better than staying in and ordering some yummy takeout. There’s no need to go big if you’re just not feeling it. Maybe you’d rather celebrate by indulging yourself in some well-deserved self-care— meditation, bubble baths, netflix party— whatever feels relaxing and nourishing to you! 

3. Count How Much Money You’ve Saved by Not Drinking or Using… Then Spend Some

The true cost of drinking is significantly higher than you’d think. It’s amazing how much money we have once we stop spending it on booze and drugs. Even if you’re a casual drinker who spends $20 on a bottle of wine each week, that still adds up to $1,040 per year. Imagine what else you can do with even a small portion of that money! Start a Roth IRA. Buy that designer shirt you’ve been eyeing. Get a cupcake with your daily coffee. Donate to that cause you’re passionate about. 

4. Enjoy a Fun Drink in a Fancy Glass

In early sobriety, I found myself missing “fun drinks” served in fancy glassware. Finally, I finally realized that anything can be served in fancy glassware. Pour seltzer into a champagne glass, then toss in a strawberry. Shake a cranberry juice mocktail then splash it into a martini glass. Buy kombucha in a funky bottle. Enjoy a non-alcoholic beer in a frosted beer mug, if it’s not triggering for you. These little treats help us take sobriety one day at a time, especially on a celebratory occasion like your SoBerthday.

5. Reflect on Your Creativity

Sobriety is the best gift you can give to your creativity. It removes the cloudiness, leaving you fully present with your craft. If you’re an artist, take this day to acknowledge the wonderful things you’ve accomplished since you stopped getting wasted. Look at your paintings, read your writing, listen to your music, or admire the clothes you made. Maybe your approach to your craft has shifted since you got sober. Reflect on that. Something I like to do when another year passes is to look at how many articles I’ve published within that time. Whether it’s one article or ten, I give myself grace, knowing that I’m able to produce significantly better work with a clear, healthy mind.

Your SoBerthday is just that: Your day. Regardless of how you celebrate, keep in mind how special your recovery is. You took a stand for yourself, for your loved ones, and for your future. You decided that, no matter how challenging it may be, that this journey is a top priority of yours. I salute you with a flavored seltzer. Cheers!