Moving around in sobriety and in AA, I’ve experienced a few different “anniversary” or “birthday” cultures. Where I got sober, a varying amount of fuss was made over anniversaries, and the usual way to mark them was that the last meeting of each month was devoted to celebrating all the members of the group who had an anniversary that month. That could range from none to fifteen or so, I think, at the biggest meeting I’ve been to. It was nice, the last week of every month, sometimes going from celebration to celebration. I liked it, and it never failed to make me feel upbeat about sobriety and AA.
I know there are good arguments against these kinds of celebrations. We used to try to be sure to say, “In order to show that it works,” as the reason we celebrate. We try to say that at the group I belong to now. Every celebrant worth her salt (what?) will be sure to say this victory does not belong to her, but to the group and the program and the higher power.
It seems to me just human nature to mark things in years. Something drastic happened on that day, something vital changed and something new was born.
As an oldtimer, I will admit that I often want my years to lend me credibility. I want my years to stop people from treating me like a newcomer. I want a pin that displays my years so that I (humbly) don’t have to mention them. I want my years to cause people to listen to me, so that I can spare them some of the pain I see coming their way, so that they can get better, quicker. To give them an easier, softer way. I cannot!