a stone set up beside a road to mark the distance in miles to a particular place.
an action or event marking a significant change or stage in development.
It’s interesting to me that both definitions of the word “milestone” could pertain to sobriety. Except, I do not acknowledge being sober as finding a particular place, or a destination. It is a never ending cycle of days to creating your best self. Finding out your true colors, interests, and becoming a person that you, yourself, actually want to spend time with.
However, there needs to be a little bit of give, right? We deserve to be recognized, and have the autonomy to reap a tactile representation of our efforts. It isn’t an easy task to go against what our society engrains into us. We are encouraged to mark these stages in our sobriety – celebrate that we have made it, typically 30 days, 90 days, ONE YEAR…and I think after it goes year to year from then on. It is up to us, as sober individuals to accept as much or as little attention during each of these momentous occasions. You can acquire chips at an AA meeting, depend on family and/or friends to lift you up in encouragement, or take yourself out for a treat! Set up stones along side a road, for all that matters- as long as:
However you choose to celebrate your milestones on this journey, I hope you are proud of yourself – that is of the utmost importance.
This brings me to my very own one year of sobriety! It was just over a week ago at this point. Jen gave me a beautiful pair of earrings from the Park Ave Fest and I received several congrats messages throughout the day. I decided I’d like a dinner out at one of my favorite restaurants (Cedar – Lebanese), and to completely out myself as a non-drinker on social media!
“Comparison is the thief of joy” is one of my all-time favorite quotes. As I have become increasingly aware of the stories one can tell themselves about another person based on their Facebook or Instagram page – I felt the urge to express my truth and remind others, that we are in fact, very human. My story, is also someone else’s story and that is why it needs to be told. We are unique as individuals but can fall onto similar paths. How can I shy away from who I am, to those who “seem” to know so much about me personally? If someone is going to compare themselves, I would prefer for them to instead be able to relate to me – and I want them relating to the true me. I received an outpouring of love and support from my family, friends, and also several people who I had never even met yet. It am so grateful and it truly opened up my eyes to more than I already believed about this decision I made one year ago. I have been on a rollercoaster that is not over, and I am truly enjoying the ride.
It is overwhelming to realize just how many of us are out here, overshadowed by the way our society views alcohol. We have created shame, a stigma, and an inability to comfortably voice our troubles with it. In general, we are made to believe that alcoholics are an obvious bunch – the ones who are stumbling down the street, carrying a flask, and ruining their lives. Then on the flip side – we are also made to believe that drinking a bottle of wine in one sitting is an accomplishment, mommy wine play dates are an acceptable way to get through your days with children, and don’t get me started on all the marketing schemes. It isn’t fair to me, or the other millennial’s, or the mothers, or the professional people who have been struggling. If we can open up the conversation to: does alcohol affect your life in a negative way? Have you gotten yourself into several pickles while drinking? Do you wonder if you could become a happier, more confident version of yourself and think alcohol is getting in the way of that?
My goal from here is to be someone’s voice that doesn’t feel quite ready to speak out. I want to stay honest and accountable in my own sobriety. I’ll be an ear for those who need support, and I want to at some point create a group for those locally who may not be into trying AA quite yet, but would like to also join the conversation and fight the stigma.
We will see where we can go – but I have a feeling it can be pretty far!