To Count or Not to Count

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The early days of sobriety are extremely important! Finally coming out of the intoxicated fog of addiction is scary and exciting and hard! On that first day, then the first week and then the first month, the sober days are huge accomplishments. The overwhelming feelings often put us in a state of euphoria, and counting day feels very exciting! However, if you stumble in those early days it can also be extremely discouraging to have to restart your day count.

We often think that quitting drinking should be easy. Just don’t drink we hear often or have more control, or only have a couple! So we try to implement these suggestions frequently but when they fail us, we are suddenly faced with a problem. As we start our journey to recovery or restart it for the 2nd, 3rd or 10th time we should remember that it’s not a race but a deeply personal journey often filled with ups and downs.

So should we count the days or not? Is it that important? Is it just one day at a time and that is all that counts? Out of curiosity, I posted my dilemma to the Twitter recovery community #RecoveryPosse.

Here is my tweet: I think I am going to stop counting days. Is that a stupid idea? Why do you count days? And please don’t say because of ODAAT!

BTW. If you’re on Twitter come and join us. Just hashtag your tweet with #RecoveryPosse and we will find you!

Here are some of the amazing and encouraging replies:

@dad2ago
I think I stopped at 90 days. After that, month to month until 1 year, then yearly.

@RecoveryTerm
Whatever feels best to you 😊💕

@MancSober
Unfortunately, it is the age-old adage of odaat. Today is all we have. Yesterday is gone and tomorrow is never promised.

@spicyquesoman
I counted until a year. I needed that goal. And now I just go year to year.

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@cassieglows
At this point, I’m unsure of years but this is coming from a woman who can’t ever remember her age 😂

@Discovering_B
I don’t count days. It takes my focus off of today, ironically. For me, it emphasized the program more than the work I was doing. Hard to articulate but it works for me. 🙂

@susanroeder
When someone asks, is the only time I look it up. I guess I stopped when coinage went to annual increments. Nothing earth-shattering about why/why not. I only announce my anniversary on that day. I no longer even get coins. It’s important to me, but I need to stay right-sized.

@FierceEmmy
I have an app that tracks my days, but I only check it when I need to after a tough day. Otherwise, I’m more comfortable just knowing a ballpark number. 🤷🏼‍♀️

@untipsyteacher
I love counting my days! But I only look when I am posting a new blog post. There is no wrong or right! Whatever helps you the best is best! ❤️💃❤️💃❤️

@Sabrina28289294
I don’t count days. I was 5 years sober on December 26th. I’ve never counted my days. Once I got curious and counted them up that was it. It helps some ppl to count days & some it doesn’t.

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@chris_bevacqua
I believe it’s harmful but that’s my 2 cents. Look up Ego Fatigue especially with the work of Dr Marc Lewis. Interesting topic

@PotataHed
I don’t think it’s stupid at all – whatever works for you. When I was in early sobriety (each time 🙄), sometimes things like that made me overthink and hyperfocus, which wasn’t good for me. Just thinking “today” was much more helpful.
@yujachingu
Same. It was enough to just get through today. 🙏🏼🙏

@28DaysMore
I personally dislike it for myself. It was too much pressure. One more thing for me to use to compare out or bash myself with. It’s like ‘long term’ recovery now…I’m just here. Not drinking. Doing my very best. And it’s Tuesday. That makes me happy 😊😊

@soberboots
At some point, we’ll before a year, I stopped counting days. It took up a lot of mental space. I know my sobriety date, but more importantly, I know that I’m not drinking anymore.

@GrahamHunt62
Well, I count time rather than days now. Be grateful that enough time has passed you don’t count days. Every now and then I pass a big one like 5000 days that was worth reflecting on

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I know why I asked the question. My problem is with the “serial relapser” wording and where that puts people. I being what could be called a serial repalser right now, don’t like the fact that I have to restart my count every single time. It feels like a failure on top of failure. But when I look at the big picture, I only drank 10 days in the last 365 and that’s a huge deal for me!

Of course, I hear the debate starting here right away… but it has to be continuous!!! I hear those people too and I get it why continuous day’s count is important however if we are saying any day sober is a good day we have to acknowledge that too, especially since many of us like me, had many more of the sober days than not! So to me, it is very important to focus on the sober days that I have had not just continuous time of sobriety that I have had.




If you, or anyone you know, is struggling with Alcohol Use Disorder (AUD)*, please check out the Sober Courage menu at the top of this page for an extensive list of support groups and recovery related articles.

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*Problem drinking that becomes severe is given the medical diagnosis of “alcohol use disorder” or AUD. AUD is a chronic relapsing brain disease characterized by compulsive alcohol use, loss of control over alcohol intake, and a negative emotional state when not using (Ref: NIAAA).

6 Comments

  1. A friend in my home group relapsed on Sunday. So today is day 2 again for her. But those months she had before Sunday are never lost. She has experienced sobriety, met people who don’t judge her but just wish her to get sober and stay sober. Any day sober is valuable. As they said to me “Don’t drink and go to meetings. If you do drink then try to stop and go to meetings.”

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Yes. Staying sober is important and often a challenge. I only hope that we don’t get discouraged while beening overly focused on the day count.

      Like

  2. Day 2 is better than day zero.
    I do truly believe in be here now. It doesn’t matter how long one has been sober, as long as you are sober today.
    That said, I counted for a while, and I celebrate the years.

    I also don’t like it when someone says I have 2 years except for those x days I slipped.

    If one is counting rigorous honesty must apply.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. True about rigorous honesty but if they tell you they drank day in 2years that’s pretty honest – I think most people wouldn’t fess up to that

      Like

  3. I also wondered this after my relapse. I use the app and am 3 days away from getting to where I was when I relapsed. This has significance for me but I agree, so does the total days and every time we choose to stay sober.

    Liked by 1 person

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