February 14th is around the corner! Valentine’s Day is an opportunity to celebrate that special someone in your life. But for those who are not in a relationship, this day may be a holiday that brings up some negative emotions about a past relationship or about being single. Either can serve as a trigger to drink. You may want to give cheers to love with a glass of champagne (or a bottle), or maybe you want a bottle of “whatever-alcohol-is-available” to numb the emotional pain. If you’re either in recovery from alcoholism or don’t want to end up at the bottom of a bottle at the end of this day, then these sober Valentine’s Day ideas might interest you.
How to Have a Sober Valentine’s Day
The holidays can be tough for anyone, especially for people who are recovering from addiction. Even “minor” holidays like Valentine’s Day can present various stressors, reopen old wounds, and bring some unwanted thoughts to the surface. Therefore, it’s no surprise that the holidays can affect sobriety and even increase the risk of relapse.
Fortunately, there are several Valentine’s Day alcohol-free ideas that can be enjoyed with a partner or a friend. You can remain sober and still have an amazing day regardless of your circumstances. A perfect example of making lemonade out of life’s lemons is Chris Marshall’s Sans Bar, a sober venue where people can enjoy the nightlife, listen to music, dance, and connect with others, all while drinking non-alcoholic beverages in a welcoming environment.
Marshall has even led pop-ups of his business in various places across the country, contributing to the people who want to enjoy themselves without risking their sobriety. While Sans Bar, specifically, may not be available in your area, similar activities and options are.
Some fun sober Valentine’s Day ideas to try include:
- Attend a concern (and stay away from the bar)
- Be a tourist in your city and go sightseeing
- Cook a new recipe together, or if you’re single, invite a single friend to help
- Do some volunteer work
- Go hiking or rock climbing
- Go see a movie or stage play
- Have a spa day
- Have an at-home movie night with snacks
- Make mocktails or alcohol-alternatives
- Revisit an old hobby or try a new one
- Take a road trip
- Try an escape room
- Try a new restaurant/cuisine (preferably at a venue that doesn’t serve alcohol to reduce temptation)
- Visit a museum
- Visit a new city
Whatever you choose to do to celebrate Valentine’s Day, whether you have a partner or you’re single, use this holiday as an opportunity to try something new in a healthy and productive way that’s conducive to your recovery.
Holiday Relapse Prevention Tips
As we previously mentioned, any holiday can present some major stressors that may trigger a person’s substance use. Common triggers during the holidays include dealing with a tenuous family, having no one to celebrate the holiday with, managing the pressures of the season, and frequent exposure to alcohol. It also doesn’t help that, generally, alcohol is socially accepted in most places and, therefore, common in social settings like holiday parties.
So how do you protect yourself? Below are some tips on how to avoid relapse and enjoy a no-alcohol Valentine’s Day this year.
- Stay healthy: This includes drinking enough water, getting at least 8 hours of sleep every night, exercising regularly, and maintaining a balanced diet. Sustaining a routine is also generally recommended for people in recovery, as it helps avoid overexertion, late nights, and stress.
- Stay on top of your recovery meetings: It’s common for people to cancel or skip therapy sessions during the holidays due to vacations or attending family events. Similarly, groups may not meet as regularly during this season, or your sponsor may be less available than usual. If this is the case for you, schedule and confirm your sessions ahead of time so you’re aware of any changes.
- Just say “no”: In the spirit of the holidays, people may try to push alcohol on you to celebrate the occasion, often followed by the all-too-common line, “One drink won’t hurt.” Especially if you’re celebrating Valentine’s Day with someone who isn’t sober, they may not realize the dangers of their request. It’s in these moments when you just have to be able to say “no.”
- Don’t isolate yourself: The worst thing you can do during a rough time as someone in addiction recovery is to isolate yourself. As down in the dumps as you may be feeling, it’s better to spend time with loved ones who understand your sobriety or to spend time doing something positive that will keep you distracted. The last thing you want to do is dwell on negative emotions that might contribute to cravings.
A sober Valentine’s Day – or any sober holiday – doesn’t have to be boring. There are plenty of ways to enjoy yourself in recovery without compromising all of the hard work you’ve put into bettering yourself.
Begin Your Recovery Today
If you or someone you care about struggles with drug or alcohol abuse, our Northeast addictions treatment center offers various services that can make sobriety possible. From substance-specific treatment programs and detox in PA to various psychotherapy options, we address both the physical and psychological impact substance abuse can have on a person’s life.
For more information about our addiction treatment in Pennsylvania and how we can aid your recovery, call Clearbrook Treatment Centers today at 570-536-9621 or send us your contact information, and one of our admission specialists will reach out to you.