Single and Sober
Valentine’s Day can be a difficult time for those in recovery. For those with some time under their belts and significant others, it should be easy enough. Let your partner know that you love them and keep doing what you’re doing. But what about those in early recovery? Or those who are single during a time when everyone is celebrating being paired off? Valentine’s Day can be much trickier, as well as a little depressing for these people. However, it doesn’t have to be. Here are a few ideas to help those people celebrate themselves and those important to them to get through this Hallmark holiday.
A Word of Caution
If you’re in early recovery and you’re out looking for love this Valentine’s Day, stop. Seriously. I’m sure that those of you who are new to sobriety don’t want to hear this. I’m also just as sure that most of you will shrug off this advice as it’s one of the most ignored rules of early recovery. That’s unfortunate because it’s also one of the most important. When I was just beginning my journey in sobriety, I was an absolute mess emotionally. Riding the pink cloud one day, in a funk the next, quick to anger, quick to sadness – to say I was overwhelmed is an understatement. The thing is, when we’re in early recovery, we don’t really know ourselves. We don’t know what we’re looking for in others and we don’t know what we can bring to the table, either. It’s a recipe for a failed relationship at best.
From Your Biggest Fan
This one works for both those who are in early recovery and those who’ve been walking the path for a minute. You’ve made the decision to put in the work to get clean. That’s a big deal and it’s worth celebrating, so why don’t you treat yourself to a date? One of my personal favorites is a meal at a lunch counter followed by a matinee. You also might opt for a massage, a mani-pedi, a long hike, or a shopping day at an outlet mall. And if you really want to take it up a notch, sit down and write yourself a love letter. While many characterize addiction as a disease of selfishness, a distinction should be made between being selfish and loving yourself. Self-care, gratitude, and positivity all generate from the same place and it’s good to have a pick-me-up on hand from the person who knows you best.
Let Them Know You Care
Speaking of gratitude, how about throwing a party for the people in your support network? The friends in my support network are invaluable to me. I have no doubt that I wouldn’t be here today without them. It doesn’t have to be anything huge – just a get-together to let your sober friends know how much you appreciate them and the support you give each other. Take-out and Netflix, game night, or a trip to the bowling alley are all inexpensive and fun options for some time with those important to you.
Especially the Ones You May Have Taken for Granted
This one seems so obvious that I feel I shouldn’t have to mention it. However, every year I’m surprised by the number of friends who don’t do this. Flowers to mom and dad on Valentine’s Day are an easy way to let the people who brought you into this world know that you appreciate them. You also might want to consider sending a bouquet or chocolates to your sponsor or mentor. The more time you spend thinking of others and walking through life with gratitude and positivity, the better off you will be.
Gratitude = Love
The key to getting through Valentine’s Day while sober and single is the same as enjoying any other day of the year. Be grateful for both yourself and the ones close to you and let everyone know it. Couples don’t corner the market on love, so spread it around to as many people as you can. And don’t forget that that includes you. You’ve come a long way and done a lot of work and these facts deserve to be celebrated. If you’re having a hard time finding a reason to love yourself, or if drugs or alcohol are preventing you from finding a connection with others, you may want to consider speaking with a mental health professional today.