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It’s My Birthday: Clean time Celebration

Brian McCollom Addict Addiction Alcoholism anxiety birthday celebration clean Fellowship flawed greed nervous Recovery Reservations Triggers

Throughout my travels I’ve come across many fellowship groups that hold a celebration for given amounts of clean time. I’ve seen people grow from their very first “surrender” chip, to those who relapse after twenty years clean… only to pick up another surrender chip.

I’ve also seen many addicts get decades clean. I’ve been humbled enough to witness open talks of great recovery leaders. It has truly been a blessing.

Some who aren’t familiar with addiction may not know that some addicts coming up on “anniversaries” or “clean birthdays” get skittish. The same feeling goes for holiday seasons. Triggers will come.

Triggers exacerbate addicts emotional sensors when approaching a clean time or holiday seasons.

What most may not know is that these feelings can come on most when re-claiming a surrender chip. The even funnier part is that you can reclaim surrender chips at 90 days, too. Clean time doesn’t matter if you aren’t working on bettering yourself.

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Courtesy of http://survivor-org.wikia.com/

Personal experience says that most triggers are brought up in 3 month intervals. Most–not all–people would come into “fellowships” and survive their abstinence for a period of ninety days and then find themselves back into a big pile of… well you get the point.

For many these feelings of celebrating clean time come all too soon. Some say that they don’t get these feelings at all. I would say that they are lying.

Every truly recovering addict with big chunks of clean time–among many who sponsor dozens of people–claim they get EXTRA triggers around certain periods in their recovery. These times are times of excitement, which is what addicts are not used to handling without drugs.  Over time it does get better. The triggers dissipate, but never fully go away until all of your reservations have been surrendered.

I’ve had many claim that over the years they brush off their birthdays of clean time to simple feelings of anxiety and little bits of fun. But, in the beginning it can be absolute hell trying to figure out what these emotions are for!

After you gather your strength and pick up the serenity chip there is an expectation that is placed upon you. When is the next chip coming? It haunts the addicts mind! The same with holidays, family, and excitement… when will this next time come?

An addict may say he or she is looking forward to the next chip, or key-tag, or coin but with each dreading moment of “waiting” we rehash the past it’s as if this new accomplishment washes them away. This is where we get a concept of one day at a time. But, this is also contradictory to times of gathering and celebration. Irony…

I can see why some people switch to religion…

I won’t argue that these times of celebration aren’t monumental. But with each step we drag. With each coin we have to look forward. But, shouldn’t we really be focused on the whole… “Just for today” kick?Courtesy of FunnyJunk.com celebration It's My Birthday:  Clean time Celebration Quot my face when her face when he turns it off quot dafuq  8ddd8fc4c5bb164dcb36dc9b48e7e229

It may help, but it’s a truly flawed system. FLAWED.  

Celebrating with cakes and candies, extra hugs for the “birthday” boy or girl! Hooray! How does this celebration grant us morality? Or does rather it speak to our reservations?

We try to celebrate our recluse attitude, that’s great. But, that should be it. A pat on the back will suffice, because me, I personally have a lot more to accomplish. So let’s keep moving forward and fast, folks!

Why do some people get scared of their clean dates? Well, if dreading another spotlight of my downfalls wasn’t enough then let me elaborate.

What is the typical celebration for someone who has always done it with booze, a little bit of both kinds of white girl (cocaine and women)?

Let’s say your thing was to “blaze a blunt” for celebration? What makes this celebration any different?

Let’s not say many… ALL addicts used to party in very proclaimed ways. Say for the sake of celebration, dinner is a small comparison.

How do you top the parties that you used to have if you were the “man” or “woman” of all parties? This is a big question many addicts debate.

Some like the smaller parties on the recovery side. Others like well, the wild side. This is one argument.

For a many that I’ve seen come in and out of such fellowships while striving for a quickie (high)–and few more friends to join in on misery–they find staying clean lowers tolerance. Then coming back to it after a little bit time off leads to more celebration…

Many addicts see their clean time as a way to lower tolerances. It’s not about recovery at all, to some. If the high is becoming too much and you know it really won’t kill you to stop, why not try to get as high as you can like the first time you tried?

“Let’s stop for 90 days, get religious about sobriety, and then come back to an even better high?” Many try this. This leads to many, of many relapses. Drugs are powerful.  They are so powerful that lowered tolerance takes many lives.  

-“One is too many and a thousand is never enough.”

Many of addicts who are court ordered to stay on the wagon use it as a “proof to self” situation. I will admit it… I’M AN ALCOHOLIC… if YOU say I am. RIGHT? If, he or she says so?

Most don’t really even want to admit the fact that they really have a problem. Now if they think that they can stick to the program and PROVE to those who back them the most (co-dependent) that they are sticking to “IT” then they will be granted partial freedom. No one wants others to reject them but no one wants to reject themselves

Truly admitting you have a problem acts as a form of disability in most eyes. Some think just because the law gives a set of time abiding rules to follow, then they’re are cured. “Hooray I’m done!”

Addiction, as you see, plays evil tricks on many people’s minds.

The true root of celebration:


I argue that everyone has a secret internal motivation.  This is why you’d have to ask each individual at a time… but who has time for that!

Now to take the stance of innocence in a torn body.

Sometimes we do really struggle. This first key-tag is the hardest to pick up. But realize it may not be the only you have to pick up. “They” want you to keep coming back. It’s very much an incentive, but a good one at that if it grants a healthier lifestyle.

We get our 60 days! Hooray we go to the local Denny’s and celebrate. Again, commotion all stemming around my addiction. “Why do I have to dwell? I did so much bad!”

Damn, already my 90 days is coming up. “What do I do? How do I top DENNY’S?” (Sarcasm intended).

The stress is building but I can get through it! I have my support system. But I feel that no one can truly understand me. The true concept of perception, “I am the only me?”

Now, finally 6 months! I can use my clean time to go help at an institution! Wow, responsibilities. What if I don’t feel comfortable holding these responsibilities? How do I turn them down?

Given all of these scenarios does anyone see the stress built up around the addiction aspect in celebrating? It’s more of a situation of dwelling than rejoice. We build and we build and we build, then we snap! WE GO CELEBRATE!

So, why worry about the haves and have nots of your life? Let it be, as they say!

But as most say, “One day at a time,” right?

To look on the bright side there are still many addicts that are celebrating the true way.  They are sending a message to “Party Sober.” Many are deviant but, many are just looking for moral confirmation.

Taking the angel from the devil’s advocate, we can say that some just want that pat on the back. Some want to just say, I did it! “I did it. I have 10 years free and clean. I am happy.”

Most are looking for the something. The something to save them from the complication. That is why I say, don’t worry about the celebrating and focus on one thing and one thing alone… ONE DAY AT A TIME!

Courtesy of https://www.pinterest.com/amandam1290/keep-calm/ celebration It's My Birthday:  Clean time Celebration images q tbn ANd9GcSkp7quUht06YdINr15DWOTsU06ouMePgX1 pdcBdxJDhq0J jk

And feel but one feeling:


I grant you hope that this provides insight into the controversial addiction birthdays, holidays, and celebration.

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