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Sobriety Milestones

Maintaining sobriety is an extremely challenging endeavor.

There are several milestones that are commonly celebrated throughout an individual’s recovery from substance abuse or addiction. Typically, the milestones celebrated are time markers indicating the length of time an individual has remained sober. These are important because they help to honor an individual’s path and his or her active choice to live a healthy, drug and alcohol free life.

Sober Birthday

Many people who have gone through substance abuse or addiction treatment and have maintained his or her sobriety, celebrate a sober birthday. There happen to be a couple of different ways a person calculates his or her sober birthday. Some individuals consider the first full day of not using drugs or alcohol to be their sober birthday. Others consider the last day that they used drugs or alcohol to mark their sober birthday. The latter causes some controversy because some people feel that it is celebrating a person’s last high instead of one’s sobriety. On the other hand, people feel that celebrating the moment they hit rock bottom, their last drug or alcohol use, should be marked as what sent them over the edge to begin substance abuse or addiction treatment and start a recovery program.

There are many different ways people celebrate their sober birthdays. It is really up to each individual, much like a regular birthday, as to how to celebrate in the most meaningful way.

Also, much like a regular birthday, a sober birthday is a celebration of life and one’s choice to live. An individual’s sober birthday can change. Addiction is known to be a relapsing disease and if an individual does relapse, his sober birthday will be counted from the time based off of his sobriety, post his or her relapse. Hence, one’s sober birthday will change and it will be held on a different day moving forward.

Sobriety Chips

Sobriety chips are most commonly used in twelve-step programs like Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) and Narcotics Anonymous (NA). They are given to individuals to represent the length of time one has remained sober. Though sobriety chips are not a mandatory part of AA and not every AA meeting will participate in providing sobriety chips, it is a common practice, and many do.

Typically, chips are given out at specific intervals. Though the exact colors of the chips may vary depending on the specific type of twelve-step program, the time increments will remain the same. The examples that follow are the chips that are given out in Alcoholics Anonymous meetings.

  • The first chip is given after a person has remained sober for twenty-four hours, this is the silver chip.
  • A red chip is given for thirty days (one month) of sobriety.
  • A person will receive a gold chip for sixty days of sobriety (two months).
  • The emerald chip will be given once an individual is sober for ninety days (three months).
  • There is a purple chip given to those who have remained sober for four months.
  • A pink chip marks sobriety for five months.
  • An individual who achieves six months of sobriety will get a dark blue chip.
  • A copper chip is given for seven months of sobriety.
  • When a person has remained sober for eight months, he or she will receive a red chip.
  • At nine months of sobriety, a purple chip is given.
  • Individuals who remain sober for ten months will get a gold chip.
  • The eleventh month chip is green and will be given to those who have stayed sober for eleven months.
  • All of the chips at one year and after one year are usually bronze and will be given in subsequent yearly intervals.

The fact that there is a special color associated with a tangible object, marking one’s sobriety each month, illustrates the importance of honoring one’s sobriety milestones.

Further Information

Every individual seeking substance abuse or addiction treatment must select a program that will be suit his or her needs throughout this life changing experience. Substance abuse and addiction are all consuming, and if left untreated can result in extremely difficult long term consequences, and in some cases death. If you or someone you know is suffering from substance abuse or addiction, please get help as soon as possible. There is no reason to go through this alone. Please feel free to reach out to us for further information or with any questions regarding substance abuse or addiction. We are available anytime via telephone at: 213-389-9964, or you can always email us at:

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