Valentine’s Day means romantic gestures, lavish dates at fancy restaurants and chocolates. But for others, especially those recovering from substance abuse, Valentine’s Day can serve as a reminder of painful past memories.

Valentine’s Day can be hard for someone in addiction recovery. All the romantic messages, social media posts and reminders of lost relationships can tempt them into relapsing to escape it all. If this sounds like your loved one, it doesn’t mean they don’t want to celebrate the holiday.

Valentine’s Day may be a common reminder of all the damage their addiction has done to their relationships, but there is a way for them to move forward and enjoy the day. All it takes is some extra support from you on Valentine’s Day.

Why is Valentine’s Day Hard for Recovering Addicts?

Chances are, you’ve experienced a Valentine’s Day where you felt depressed. After all, no one likes being reminded of their single status or a past failed relationship.

But for your loved one in recovery, those negative feelings are amplified and go beyond the normal Valentine’s Day blues. Your loved one’s struggles with the holiday could be a result of:

  1. Damaged Relationships: Your loved one may have relationships with friends and family members who were damaged by their addiction. Their destructive behavior caused a rift that might seem impossible to mend in their eyes. This can trigger intense feelings of guilt and shame for their actions.
  2. A Lack of Purpose: In the early stages of recovery, some people feel like they have a lack of purpose. And the spirit around Valentine’s Day can make that feeling even stronger. After all, when you’re adapting to a life that doesn’t revolve around substance abuse, it can be challenging to find new meaning.
  3. Memories of Their Addiction: Valentine’s Day can be a stressful trigger for anyone. So, your loved one might have bad memories of their substance abuse from a previous Valentine’s Day. Imagine the feeling you get when you remember an embarrassing moment of yourself. Your loved one feels this embarrassment with their own, but it’s oftentimes amplified.
  4. Feeling Undeserving of Affection: After all the damage their addiction has caused, your loved one might feel unworthy of love and affection. They might isolate themselves on Valentine’s Day because they believe they don’t deserve to be happy.

Remember that it’s natural for your loved one to have these feelings. But Valentine’s Day doesn’t have to be a time where they feel miserable and unloved. You have the power to make this February 14th one to remember.

3 Ways to Support a Recovering Addict on Valentine’s Day

1. Spend Time with Them

It might not seem like a revolutionary idea, but spending time with your loved one this Valentine’s Day is important for their recovery. It’s common for recovering addicts to isolate themselves on Valentine’s Day. And this isolation and loneliness can trigger relapse. It’s important that you reach out to your loved one and encourage them to spend time with you.

There are plenty of sober activities that you and your loved one can enjoy on Valentine’s Day. If you need help brainstorming, why not try:

  • Going for a hike or enjoying the outdoors.
  • Spending a cozy night indoors watching movies or playing board games.
  • Planning a weekend trip to help your loved one forget Valentine’s Day stress and triggers.
  • Attending a recovery meeting together.
  • Making them a personalized gift that reminds them of how much they mean to you.

2. Remind Your Loved One to Practice Self Compassion

Who said that the love expressed during Valentine’s Day is limited to other people? It’s the perfect time to help your loved one practice self-compassion and self-love. Your loved one may have abused substances because they felt ashamed of themselves or didn’t accept who they are. This Valentine’s Day, remind your loved one about all their positive qualities.

A great activity is to sit down with them and create a list of all the positive traits your loved one has. Making this list can help your loved one remember that they have value all on their own without drugs or alcohol. It’s a good reminder for your loved one that they have so much to offer the world.

3. Help Your Loved One Make New Sober Connections

Instead of dwelling on the relationships they damaged with their addiction, you can help your loved one build a new sober support network this Valentine’s Day. While this most likely isn’t going to happen in one day, you can help them get the ball rolling.

A good place to start is to go with your loved one to a recovery meeting. The added stress of Valentine’s Day is well known throughout the recovery community. That’s why many sobriety groups will hold meetings to help those in recovery get through the holiday.

You can also look for other regular activities to help your loved one build connections that don’t involve drugs or alcohol. Do some research in your area and look for board game clubs, fitness groups and community sports leagues. And if you join a group with your loved one, they’ll be more likely to stick with it.

Find Healing from Addiction at Fountain Hills Recovery

If your loved one has recently relapsed or is suffering from substance abuse, Fountain Hills Recovery can help. We are a luxury addiction treatment center in Arizona that focuses on individualized treatment.

We maintain an exceptional client-staff ratio to give your loved one the specialized treatment they need. If you’re interested in learning more about our addiction treatment near Phoenix, Arizona, contact our team today.