I'm sure there are a lot of stories for this strap. I'm sure you'll be flooded with them. I'm not sorry I'm about to be one of those people. 2018 represents my 5th year sober. 2013 will always be known as a horrible year for my family and I. It involved failing my midpoint presentation for my thesis, an emotionally manipulative and abusive relationship, unknown bipolar episodes from undiagnosed bipolar, IV hard drugs, an eating disorder, 4 stays in two different mental hospitals, a 51/50, a 52/50, three suicide attempts (the last one almost got me, took a whole bottle of valium), 30 day inpatient rehab, 4 months straight of 3 days to pay or get out notices, not eating for multiple days to pay the rent, and probably taking a few years off my parents life. However, 2013 also has the story of perseverance in the face of every opportunity to give up. It was my first day sober as well as the first day I took charge of my mental health in all aspects and make sure to maintain them even now, 5 years later. It shows the unconditional love a family can have for one another and how support is important to everyone. It stays as my constant reminder to have gratitude, both for where I've been and where I am now, and all the stories that could have been between these two points. Either way, when 2013 happened, it was a bad year. Last year I celebrated my 4th anniversary on 9/27. A week after my birthday in December, my boyfriend of three years broke up with me with no warning; within 24 hours we went from "can't wait to see you this weekend" to him saying "I don't see a future with you. Sorry." When I told my mother she insisted that I come home and not be alone for the holidays, however, what that really meant was I flew out of SF to DFW on Dec 26th and flew back to SF on Dec 30. I was suddenly out a ridiculous amount of money for the last minute plane ticket that didn't even cover the whole "not alone on the holidays" bit. Either way, when I got back there was a package waiting for me at my door. Inside a friend of mine had sent me the recovery strap with a note that says "I know you say you're doing well, and it's not that I don't believe you, but just in case you start to question yourself, use this as a reminder. Remind yourself where you've been and where you are now." I have many little things I've kept over the past 5 years that remind me why I'm sober or why I take my pills every morning and see my therapist at least every other month. The thing is, a lot of these things are reminders from when life was bad. This strap, this strap is a reminder of when life was good. It is a reminder of how much better life can get. It's not something that makes you draw upon articles in the past, it's something that reminds you to look towards the future because you're recovering, not recovered. In my 5th year, while I may be 31 and reminding myself daily that I'm one litter of kittens away from a stereotype, I'm also spending every single day grateful that I could afford that litter of kittens and a roof over all our heads, and that I'm alive to do it. But every time I start to falter and think about decisions that would destroy my life, I have something that reminds me I am recovering.