Rewarding myself was one of the tools I used in early sobriety. This idea came from my old pastor. When I first got sober he suggested I reward myself along the way. The way I did this was, I would take myself out on dinner dates, or buy something small for myself that was on my wish list.
The first few months of sobriety were smooth. I was on the pink cloud, and life was good. I was celebrating my sobriety on my sober birthday, and feeling good. Unfortunately, the pink cloud phase didn’t last, and I crashed, hard. The weight of living life on life’s terms held me down, and living sober was difficult.
When I was 6 months sober, I had a slight medical scare that resulted in big medical bills, on top of my credit card debt I had already accumulated. Being buried in debt made me want to drink so badly I could taste it. Life didn’t seem worth living anymore. I lost sight of the bigger picture by focusing on the bad parts of my life. I lost sight of the fact that I was staying sober because I wanted to live. I lost sight of the fact that I wasn’t waking up every day begging god to end my life. I was so focused on the chaos around me that I couldn’t see the forest for the trees.
Then, I remembered the suggestion from my pastor. I decided to get back into celebrating my recovery, instead of focusing on the lousy parts of my life. From that time on, once a month on my sobriety birthday, I took myself out to dinner, or bought myself something small, like a book. By doing this, I was reminding myself of the reason I was staying sober in the first place. By celebrating my sobriety every month, I was getting back to basics. By refocusing my attention on the beginning, on my sobriety, I reminded myself that I was doing something good with my life. I wasn’t a complete failure after all.
If you’re early in your sobriety, and struggling to go on, get back to basics. Celebrate your sobriety birthday every month. If you’re strapped for cash, take yourself out for a $5 movie that you’re dying to see. Or, buy yourself that hardcover book you’ve been eyeing. It doesn’t have to be extravagant. Make it something small, but significant enough to celebrate the win of staying sober another day. And always remember, you’re so worth it.