Substance abuse can strain even the strongest of relationships, so how do you celebrate Valentine’s Day while in recovery? Substance abuse effects all those involved: the addict, their family and their friends. Which is why Valentine’s Day can be a difficult holiday. Not only can it dredge up painful memories from the past, but it can also be a reminder of how substance abuse leaves relationships in need of repair. This can be a real challenge for those in recovery.

And there is no escaping Valentine’s Day. Everywhere we turn there are heart-shaped chocolate boxes, bear-hugging cards, and lots and lots of pink and red. So instead of avoiding it, maybe it’s best to use it as an opportunity to gain further progress in your recovery. Here are some tools to help you embrace the holiday of love and celebrate Valentine’s Day while in recovery.


Connect with loved ones. This doesn’t mean you need to go out and buy everyone a singing bear or box of candy hearts. To celebrate Valentine’s Day while in recovery, reach out to loved ones with a simple phone call or hug. Use the day to declare and reaffirm your love to family and friends, especially those who have helped you in your recovery. And remember your sobriety is the biggest gift you can give a loved one.


Rebuild your relationships. Substance abuse can make relationships, whether romantic or platonic, a real struggle. Use this time to assess where your relationships are since entering recovery. Substance abuse can make someone very focused on his or her own needs; and an important part of recovery is becoming more aware of those who love and support you. Use this appreciation to help you rebuild relationships. But remember, this might not happen in a day. It might take time to rebuild strong and lasting relationships, so don’t get discouraged.


Cope with loneliness. Time spent alone and reflecting is an important part of recovery. But on Valentine’s Day make the effort to get together with friends or family. When you celebrate Valentine’s Day while in recovery, it can be a reminder of those relationships that were lost or damaged due to alcohol and drug abuse, so it’s important to avoid feelings of loneliness and be around those who support you.


Love yourself. Sometimes the hardest person to love is yourself. Take the time to get know yourself. Recovery can be an exciting time to rediscover your passions in life. Celebrate how far you’ve come!


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