For those of you who are deep enough into your sobriety to pay attention to what’s going on in the world around you, you might have noticed that the Oscars were held this week. I don’t typically pay a lot of attention to these kinds of things (if watching people half your age win awards for wearing tacky dresses and making bad movies isn’t reason enough to drink, what is?), but it does get me thinking about the roles that appreciation and public recognition play in early recovery.

It’s ok to admit it: some of us just like to be recognized from time to time.

There is a good side to this, and a bad side. Just as some Oscar attendees can only manage to halfheartedly clap for the terrible actor who stars in a string of predictable flops, it can be difficult for the people in our lives to “recognize” the hard work we’ve done in putting our lives back together. In their minds, the fact that we haven’t been thrown in jail, lost our jobs, or slept outside for a few months on end doesn’t really seem worthy of a lifetime achievement award.

In fact, bringing it up ourselves can make us look even more terrible, since it’s a reminder of just how often we’ve failed at the box office of life so many times in the past.

As I mentioned, however, there is a good side to all of this, too. Your non-alcoholic, non-addict friends and family might not know how hard you’re working, or understand why it’s such a big deal that you’re making the effort… but others who are in early recovery do.

That’s why it’s important, especially in the first few days, weeks, and months of your sobriety, that you make it to a regular meeting and make friends with people you can lean on for support. They know what you know: that every single day can be a struggle, and a victory.

Take the time to appreciate how far you’ve come – even if you can only measure that in hours – and it will give you the strength to keep going.

With the Oscars right behind us, and most of the country thinking about whose work they do and don’t appreciate in Hollywood, keep both of these ideas in mind. It isn’t fair to expect your loved ones to give you the red carpet treatment just because you’ve managed to string a bit of sobriety together. At the same time, though, don’t be afraid to give yourself a little acceptance speech now and again, to reflect on how far you’ve come, and be as proud of yourself as you should be for making each and every day of sobriety possible.

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Comments
  1. jeff r says:

    very good post…. my name is jeff and i am just coming back off of a relapse after finally getting 76 days over christmas this year. Yes, recovery should not be taken for advantage. most addicts dont make it to recovery, and even if they do, some of those don’t stay. I am grateful for the 3 days that I have managed to get back on this side of recovery.

    • Georgia W. says:

      Hi Jeff,
      Congratulations on your sobriety and for coming back…you are so right that most of us do not make it to recovery, and those of us who have walked in your shoes realize just how hard it is to get one day sober after going back out. You CAN do it, just never give up trying.
      All the best to you
      Georgia

  2. iwasweird says:

    Hi,

    I was 4 months sober/clean yesterday after many years as a dry drunk/addict followed by a relapse. First time in AA. Sometimes it’s just that one encouraging word or gesture from someone that gets me from one hour and one day to the next. Blogs like this help.

    I think it takes great courage to come back after drinking again.

    Best wishes

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