Jump to content

Sobriety Gifts - Looking for perspective from former alcoholics/substance abuse


Recommended Posts

My mother is coming up on her second year of sobriety. My sisters and I are incredibly excited and proud of her. We tell her all the time. However, last year she really pushed back against us giving her something for her 1st anniversary. We gave her time instead and she seemed appreciative.

 

Before I jump back into what I want, I wanted to see if anybody has had experience as a recovering alcoholic whether the anniversary is a reminder of the pain before or a reminder of the days since. I already plan on spending time with her on this day, but I'm trying to find out if some form of permanent reminder would be received positively.

 

At the end of the day we want to show her how proud we are of her and how proud she should be of herself. Please let me know what feelings you have had in similar situations.

 

Thanks!

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I think you need to pay attention to your mother's reaction - pushing back against any gifts. That's your clue that perhaps for her that would be a negative reminder rather than a positive celebration. This is not about you and what you want, this is about her and what she wants. So maybe just take her out for a nice day - dinner, spa day, something fun and active that doesn't scream at her "You are a recovering alcoholic. Congrats!"

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Thank you both for your feedback. I have no intention of making this about me, which is why I'm asking on this forum.

 

I guess to clarify, I'd like to ask an actual recovering alcoholic about how they feel about their anniversary. I will use that, plus knowing my mom's heart and how she reacts (sometimes just to prevent us from doing what she thinks is too much) to determine the appropriate gifts or efforts.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Please, mhowe. I know my mom, better than you I suspect.

 

My forum post was to get the perspective of other recovering alcoholics or those recovering from substance abuse. I appreciate any feedback I receive, but please don't presume that I'm not thinking about my mom's needs and wants. I prefer to make decisions based on gathering all possible information. This request for information on this forum is coming from a good place.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Not an alcoholic but an addict. Same difference really.

 

A clean and sober date is exactly what MHowe said. It's a personal milestone. It's also a damn hard one. Yeah, I'm proud of myself and I know everyone else is too. That doesn't mean I want anybody making a big deal out of it. Fact is, I do not. At all. I would prefer to be left alone about it.

 

A clean and sober date is not a celebratory event for friends and family. It's a reminder to those of us who have quit of just how far we've come and how hard we've worked to change our lives for the better. Yeah, sure, that's great. It also sucks beyond belief because it is ALSO a reminder of just how screwed up we were before, of the destruction and pain we've caused our loved ones. There's really not a lot to cheer about.

 

Staying sober is a choice. Every single day, addicts choose not to drink or to use. Sometimes, it's every hour or every minute. For an alcoholic, it's awful. They're bombarded by alcohol constantly. TV commercials, friends, family, the grocery store, restaurants, bars, magazines, it's everywhere. You cannot imagine the temptation or willpower it takes to say NO and keep saying NO unless you've been there yourself. Your mom is not stupid. She knows she can screw this up at any time. All it takes is ONE drink and relapse is SO, SO easy. Any "permanent reminder" for them to keep about how proud people are of them is like a slap in the face. EVERY day an alcoholic stays sober is a milestone and a day for them to celebrate privately. Just how brutal do you think that little keepsake will make her feel if she does relapse at some point? The best reminder for her is her new life and the relationship she can now have with you and the rest of her family.

 

Cut your mom some slack and respect her wishes. If she shoved off gifts last year, she'd probably do it again this year. Quite frankly, I would be extremely insulted if someone tried to give me a gift on my anniversary date. If you want to do something nice for her, how about a simple "Thank you, I love you mom".

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Anything with the Serenity prayer on it is always good. Otherwise a thoughtful card with the family writing a personal note is best. My dad was an alcoholic, 30 years sober when he passed away. He didn't really want gifts either, because he always had it in the back of his head that he might one day fall off that wagon and have to start back over from zero. And he did a couple of times, so rather than something commemorating a specific date and time we'd take him to dinner and/or give him a small gift with the Serenity prayer on it. Also they celebrate the occasion in AA too, so maybe something planned with her chapter and sponsor would be a better option.

 

And well done to your mom and the entire family's support for making it to two years of sobriety.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Thank you Paris and Kaylee. Your perspective is what I was looking for. I will say that it helps to clarify how my mom downplayed the date last year.

 

What none of you know about my mom, is she would downplay her birthday or an anniversary as well by saying "you don't have to get me anything". So it wasn't exactly clear whether she downplayed it because she's mom or because of the reasons you both mentioned. I came on this board so I could see clearer what a sobriety anniversary meant to different people struggling with addiction. You've helped me with that.

 

Kaylee, you didn't have to share your thoughts, so thank you for being perfectly honest about your feelings. I think it confirmed that no one thing really is viewed as good alone and it all has the potential to be tainted with the thought of losing that good thing if you slip, or remembering. I imagine even spending time together fits in that category as easily as a trinket. Regardless, it is complicated and it is best to be respectful of my mom's wishes (which I always am).

 

In case anyone is interested in the rest of the story, my mom struggled mightily with alcohol addiction for over 14 years with no real sobriety time within that. It took a very big life event, my sister losing her son due to a complicated adoption after 2 years, for my mom to find her strength again. She has been sober ever since. She's always been an amazing person and I couldn't be happier that my wife of 10 years and my kids of 2 and 4 are finally getting to know my mom the way I always knew her.

 

Enough about me. Thank you again for sharing!

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Archived

This topic is now archived and is closed to further replies.

×
×
  • Create New...