Heart shaped candies

For people in early recovery, Valentine’s Day can stir up emotions that endanger sobriety. Many relationships may remain damaged, some severely, from actions taken in addiction.

Regardless of past actions or behaviors, your work to live in recovery should include accepting and loving who you are, where you are. It can ease the burden of regret and the anxiety of Valentine’s Day, freeing you from shame and guilt that prevent you from loving yourself fully.

Be sure to create a solid plan for Valentine’s Day that relieves any holiday-induced stress or triggers. Avoid situations that you know are trigger risks and keep an AA or NA meeting schedule within reach. 

You can flip the script on tradition and celebrate Valentine’s Day as a day that strengthens your recovery. Embrace the season of love with new traditions that strengthen your sobriety, inspire your family and friends and embrace the true joy of recovery. The following best practices can help those in recovery enjoy the Valentine’s Day experience while maintaining their sobriety:

Stay the Course

The most important way to care for yourself and strengthen your sobriety is to stay on track with your recovery program. Stick to your meeting schedule and overall self-care routine including meditations or workouts. Keeping your daily routine on track, even on Valentine’s Day, will help you stay focused on recovery.

Indulge in Self Love

Give yourself the gifts of love and compassion. Celebrate your sobriety by indulging in a special treat like chocolates and flowers. If time permits, take the afternoon off and go to the movies or schedule a spa day. You can also put the phone down, turn off the TV and indulge in a good book or hot bath. Stay connected to your sponsor and recovery community and reach out if loneliness or guilt seep into your thoughts.

Appreciate Loved Ones

Show your appreciation to those who have supported you during your recovery journey. Valentine’s Day presents the perfect opportunity to reach out to loved ones, friends, your support network and let them know how much you appreciate and value their love and support. Just as we care for ourselves, we must actively care for the relationships in our lives. Breathe fresh air into your relationships. Show appreciation for the people you love through random acts of kindness. Make a call, send a card, drop off a box of chocolates, schedule a lunch – be personal and intentional. Be present in the time you spend and make sure your loved ones know what they mean to you.

Avoid Isolation

If you are single, make plans with friends or family this Valentine’s Day. Above all, do not use the day to reflect on lost or damaged relationships. Forgive yourself and remember, you are a new person in recovery. You can also spend the day engaging deeper into your AA or recovery support group. Keep a check on your sober friends and offer support for those struggling with relationship issues. Empower yourself by spending time with those you love and who love you.

Get to the Gym

Feeling blue or anxious on Valentine’s Day? A healthy mind relies on a healthy body. Reserve an hour on February 14 to take part in physical activity to charge up your hope and resiliency. Checkout that new gym, meet a friend for a brisk walk or use that workout video you keep meaning to watch. Taking care of your physical health will naturally feed into your emotional health. You will feel good and work off those extra chocolates.

Quiet Your Mind

Meditation is a powerful recovery tool. Kickoff Valentine’s Day with a meditation practice focused on self-love. Meditation will calm your mind and enhance your spiritual health. You should also begin your day in gratitude. Reserve five minutes to offer appreciation for all of the love in your life. Keep it simple or more profound, but make sure to start the morning in affirmation and thankfulness. Set the tone for the day. Continue to build your routine throughout the year, expand your meditation practice.

Remember that recovery provides the opportunity to enhance your Valentine’s Day experience in fresh and hopeful ways – make every effort to leverage your ongoing support community and recovery plan to celebrate the season of love while staying focused on your recovery journey and avoiding relapse.

You are here. You have worked hard to get here. Celebrate your hard work, love yourself and be grateful for a fresh start, for possibilities and opportunities.

Are you still waiting to start the path to hope and healing in recovery? At Valley Hope, we have witnessed the devastating toll the disease of addiction has on relationships. However, we know that by embracing patients with compassion, treating them with proven therapies and empowering them with the tools to love themselves, they can learn to manage their illness, repair their relationships and reclaim their lives. Do not wait another moment, reach out today and begin your journey to sobriety. Call Valley Hope at 800.544.5101 or explore ValleyHope.org for more information about our treatment experience and admissions process.

Explore Valley Hope’s blog for extensive resources and information for loved ones, families and the recovery community.

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