Valentine’s Day is the one day of the year dedicated to celebrating romance and love. Think captivating, long-stemmed red roses, divine chocolates, candle-lit dinner and wine that gets your taste buds in a frenzy.
But Valentine’s Day can be difficult for someone who is recovering from alcohol or drug addiction. In fact, all the heart-shaped cookies and cheesy, lovey-dovey social media posts can tempt a recovering addict to relapse to try to escape it all.
Sound like your spouse, parent, child or sibling? It’s not that your loved one doesn’t want to celebrate love. But in many cases, Valentine’s Day reminds recovering addicts of the damage their disease has caused.
Luckily, there are ways to help your loved one see past those reminders and enjoy Valentine’s Day again. But first, it’s important to understand why your loved one feels the way they do about this love focused holiday.
Why Recovering Addicts Struggle with Valentine’s Day
Let’s face it, you don’t have to be a recovering addict to feel apprehension or disdain towards Valentine’s Day. Some people can’t stand the commercialization of the holiday, while others are simply reminded of their single status.
But for those in addiction recovery, the struggle with Valentine’s Day oftentimes goes beyond just these types of opinions and feelings. Your loved one’s trepidation could be a result of:
- Memories of their addiction. Was your loved one drunk or high during a previous Valentine’s Day? If they behaved poorly during a date or embarrassed themselves or loved ones, February 14th may remind them of those memories.
- Damaged relationships. Your loved one may have damaged relationships with family members and friends as a result of their destructive behaviors while drinking or abusing drugs. They may be ashamed of what they’ve done and feel sad about no longer having those people in their lives.
- Feeling undeserving of love. After all the damage their addiction has caused, they may not feel like they even deserve to be loved and cared for. They might shy away from Valentine’s Day, believing they don’t deserve to be treated well.
- Relapse fears. It’s hard to avoid all the sugar, chocolate and alcohol advertised in commercials and stores leading up to Valentine’s Day. Your loved one may feel uncomfortable being around all that, since they’re trying to avoid unhealthy foods and substances that could disrupt their recovery.
It’s understandable for your loved one to feel the way they do about Valentine’s Day, especially if this is their first year in recovery. But just because what they’re feeling is normal doesn’t mean they have to be miserable and lonely on Valentine’s Day.
5 Ideas to Support a Recovering Addict on Valentine’s Day
Valentine’s Day doesn’t have to include romantic dinners, sugar and bottles of champagne. Instead, try these activities to help your loved one enjoy themselves and feel cherished:
- Go on a weekend getaway. Sometimes you need a couple days away to destress and get your mind off what’s troubling you. Spend your days and evenings on the slopes at a ski resort or book a spa weekend where you and your loved one can experience true pampering and relaxation.
- Get outdoors. Physical activity naturally increases endorphins to help you feel good. This is especially true outdoors. Take your loved one to the mountains for a day of hiking, bike ride through a local park or enjoy ice skating or ice fishing. Of course, choose an activity that’s weather-permitting and wear appropriate clothes, so your day doesn’t have to be cut short!
- Make them a personalized gift. A personalized gift can mean a lot to your loved one, especially if they feel like they don’t deserve to be loved. Write them a deep, meaningful card, make them a scrapbook of happy memories or find a gift personalization website online to help you decide what to get them.
- Go to a recovery meeting together. Valentine’s Day can feel lonely for some people, so remind your loved one that they aren’t alone. One of the easiest ways to show your love and support is to go with them to a recovery meeting on Valentine’s Day. This will mean a lot to them and indicate how serious you are about supporting their recovery.
- Spend a cozy night inside playing games. Sometimes, you don’t need to go out to have a good time. Get a cozy fire going at home, turn on some background music and play a few rounds of boardgames that will get your loved one laughing and keep their mind off any negative thoughts and relapse triggers.
All your love and compassion this Valentine’s Day will motivate your loved one to continue bettering themselves and maintain their sobriety. And if this year’s sober Valentine’s Day goes well, turn it into a new tradition that you and your loved one can bond over for years to come!
Evidence-Based Addiction Treatment at The Raleigh House
If your loved one is struggling with addiction or if they’ve recently relapsed, there’s hope for long-term recovery. At The Raleigh House, we have over 10 years of experience helping people like your loved one detox from their substance abuse, get to the bottom of their addiction in residential treatment and rebuild their lives in outpatient treatment. We understand the damage that addiction causes, and we’re committed to helping both you and your loved one heal and rebuild your relationship.
To get started, fill out our form or contact us now to get in touch with one of our friendly admissions team members.