A mother once asked me, “My son is about to celebrate his first year in recovery.  He invited me and my husband to attend his AA meeting.  They’re going to give him some sort of a medallion.  Should we go?”

It was the “should” that caught me short.

As Al-Anon teaches, there are no “shoulds” when it comes to our own recovery from the effects of addiction in someone we love.

But in this case, I asked the mother, “Why wouldn’t you and your husband attend?”

In fact, celebrating our loved ones’ milestones as they work through their sobriety are tiny gifts along the “long and winding road” toward recovery.

The mother was worried she might be imposing on her son’s path.  Having set boundaries, she wondered if attending his AA meeting might be crossing that barrier.

During Jacob’s first few years in recovery, I took my cue from him. I also listened to my own heart.

As each milestone approached, if he invited his father and me to attend an anniversary meeting, we would change our worlds to be there, even though we lived hundreds of miles away.  Often Jacob’s sister would attend, too.  The three of us would sit in a crowded meeting room as he was called to the front, sometimes stepping up on a small stage, and presented with a palm-sized medallion – much like a silver dollar – to the cheers and applause from fellow members.

For us, these were moments of pure joy, milestones we prayed to share every year.

Some nine years later, I still take my cue from Jacob.  I’m there when he wants me to be, so long as it rings true with my own heart as well.

As I reminded that mother, milestones matter.

And who knows?  This day might well be one more day towards the next.