What Is the Importance of Celebrating Milestones in Treatment?

Choosing to place one’s well-being in the hands of a mental health and addiction treatment facility requires a huge amount of trust. Taking that leap is something to be very proud of. Treatment involves a lot of hard work and dedication, and people must put tremendous effort, focus, and ongoing commitment into achieving their goals. Each stage of recovery involves several goals that are not always easy to accomplish. That is why celebrating milestones with 12 South Recovery in combination with practicing a healthy self-care routine can increase motivation for maintaining long-term sobriety.

Celebrating Milestones During Recovery Month

According to the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Service Administration (SAMHSA), in 1989, National Recovery Month (also referred to as Recovery Month) became a national awareness month. Each September, countless individuals have supported and promoted evidence-based treatments for recovery.

That celebration month is also a time to recognize unique recovery approaches that help individuals achieve long-term sobriety. The recovery community makes recovery possible for everyone who is facing challenges to move forward. These important members of the community include nurses, addiction counselors, mental health therapists, psychiatrists, peer recovery coaches, and more.

In September, many individuals slow down to acknowledge their milestones along with their service provider’s pure dedication and efforts to serve the mental health and addiction recovery communities. During that time, different events, fundraisers, and fruitful celebrations are held to raise national public awareness for all.

Remembering Small Victories Every Step of the Way and Celebrating Milestones

Addiction and mental health treatment involve a great deal of effort. What’s more, not everyone’s treatment plan is the same, and the length of time one must persist through treatment varies. The level of work involved can differ from person to person. The work required can depend upon the severity of an individual’s condition and the individualized treatment plan that was developed for that individual.

Everyone’s journey is different, but everyone has milestones to celebrate. In addition to celebrating once a year in September, it’s important to acknowledge small victories every step of the way. This celebratory mindset is crucial for maintaining a positive outlook throughout treatment.

Whether an individual is involved in an intense treatment plan or not, celebrating milestones is very important throughout treatment. Taking time to slow down and acknowledge each accomplishment is like giving oneself a gentle hug or pat on the back. Celebrating milestones in treatment can serve as a reward and a positive reminder to stay abstinent. By celebrating these milestones, an individual may find a renewed commitment to their treatment plan and an increased level of:

  • Self-esteem
  • Confidence
  • Gratitude

Different Ways to Celebrate Milestones

There are many unique ways to celebrate milestones and major accomplishments or show appreciation toward oneself and others. Perhaps an individual got released from a 5150 hold and is now transitioning into outpatient treatment. That is a big step to celebrate. Maybe an individual has made it through their first year in treatment completely sober. Whatever it is, there are endless ways for an individual to memorialize these stages through their journey with addiction. These may include:

  • Planning an outing with family or close friends
  • Attending an alumni event with like-minded peers
  • Journaling each milestone with coffee
  • Hosting a sober barbecue
  • Taking a long day trip
  • Drafting a thank you card to a helpful mentor
  • Indulging at a local bakery

The Importance of Staying Motivated in Treatment

Slowing down and recognizing each milestone can help a person stay motivated during treatment. It is also helpful to follow a few effective strategies to stay on track with the goal of long-term sobriety. SAMHSA explains the keys to staying motivated in its publication, Enhancing Motivation for Change in substance use disorder Treatment. Motivation is an important aspect of behavior change, and the publication notes that two different kinds of motivation have a significant impact on substance abuse recovery. These include:

  • Intrinsic motivation: This includes one’s inner needs, goals, desires, and values.
  • Extrinsic motivation: This includes external rewards, consequences, and social influences.

Increasing both intrinsic and extrinsic motivation is helpful. Slowing down to reflect on different aspects of one’s intrinsic motivation (needs, desires, and values) can be highly beneficial. Additionally, the expectation of receiving a reward or experiencing a consequence can increase the odds of achieving long-term sobriety. What’s more, SAMHSA notes that change is more likely when someone receives compassion from themselves and others rather than when they’re responding to pressure or force.

Celebrating Milestones With 12 South Recovery

Triggers, however, can make it very difficult to stay motivated in treatment. Celebrating milestones in treatment in combination with practicing helpful strategies with 12 South Recovery can provide a better chance of staying on track to recovery.

Celebrating milestones can help individuals maintain a positive perspective rather than living in fear of having a negative outcome. For example, an individual may stay motivated by:

  • Acknowledging the day’s small successes every evening
  • Celebrating monthly and yearly milestones in a concrete way
  • Reminding oneself of the reasons they started treatment
  • Setting new goals to keep the momentum going
  • Practicing self-care
  • Understanding the benefits that recovery can provide in their future
  • Creating a gratitude list
  • Developing a structured routine
  • Seeking additional support

As a licensed and Joint Commission-accredited mental health treatment center, 12 South Recovery is a leader in Orange County mental health treatment. We understand that substance use disorder (SUD) is a serious medical problem, interfering with the health, mental health, and happiness of millions of Americans. That’s why every step along the path to recovery is worth celebrating. Continuing care services encourage you to acknowledge and celebrate your milestones, whether they’re tiny victories or major achievements. These moments remind you of how far you’ve come and inspire you to keep pushing forward. If you or a loved one are seeking additional support, call 12 South Recovery at (888) 830-8374 to celebrate with our team every step of the way. 

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