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Valentine’s Day views from an ex-client

I’ve never been a huge fan of Valentine’s Day, it can be a difficult time for most people. From heart-shaped cookies at the local coffee shop, romantic music in shops or dinner specials for two advertised on the bus, it is impossible to avoid. During a holiday that focuses so much on the connections people have with each other it is easy to feel left out if you have been struggling to maintain relationships due to chemical dependency/addiction. The most important thing to remember on Valentine’s Day is that you are not alone!

Valentine’s Day does not have to be just about romantic love, but love of friends, family and yourself. Not only does Valentine’s Day mark the end of the busy holiday season, but also the coming of spring- a time to reflect on renewal and re-growth.  And above all, the most important thing to remember on this Valentine’s Day is to love yourself! It’s easy to forget that this is just as important as showing love to those you care about. Spend some time getting to know just who you are. Chemical dependency/addiction hides your identity and through recovery your true personality will emerge. Don’t forget to also love your physical self: exercise is one of the best cures for feeling blue, and is great for your heart, the number one symbol of Valentine’s!

 

Here are some things you can do if you’re in recovery and alone on Valentine’s Day:

 

Reach out to loved ones

Reaffirm to family and friends that you’re there, tell them how you’re doing, and remind them that you love/respect them. The best gift you can give a loved one is your sobriety so they’ll want to hear from you.

 

Rebuild Relationships

It takes a while to rebuild what’s been torn down but it’s not only possible, it’s done every day. This, of course, takes time but it’s an important part of recovery to be aware of those who love and support you. Whether it’s family or a loved one, reach out and take it one day at a time.

 

Love Yourself!

Because often people find themselves the hardest to love.

 

Here are also some dating ideas if you or your date is in recovery:

 

Dinner & A Movie

Movie theatres typically don’t serve alcohol, so that takes one obstacle out of the way. As for dinner, you’ll have something to talk about if you schedule it after the movie.

 

Day Date

Instead of heading out at night when the expectations for alcohol rise, go out during the day instead. Head to the zoo, go hiking or go to a museum.

 

Stay Home

It’s often just as romantic to stay home and cook something instead of heading out. This way you’re in a safe space, and there shouldn’t be any nasty surprises or temptations.

 

Avoiding Triggers on Valentine’s Day

Don’t go to places that serve alcohol – or where many people will be drinking (like concerts, etc).  You need to understand the mindset of your loved one who’s in recovery so if they seem more receptive to a quiet night in, then respect them and give them that.

 

There are so many different things you can do on Valentine’s Day that reaffirm your life. We’re NOT supposed to all go out for dinner on Valentine’s; Hallmark and the restaurant industry will have you believe that, but it’s just not true. So don’t buy into the hype; instead, if you must do anything at all, keep it light, stress, and trigger-free!

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