By Marie Garceau
Either you love the idea of Valentine’s Day or despise it more than a cheesy love letter. It’s an opportunity for many to celebrate a relationship with a special someone.
However, it is also a day that brings up negative emotions because of the pressures that society places on individuals to have a partner.
It can be a particularly challenging day for people in recovery from addiction.
Anyone who has ever struggled with addiction has likely been through a painful relationship. Yet, there are practical ways to stay sober and enjoy the day if you place any significance on its meaning.
Initially, counter the culture and make the day your own. If you place significance on the day, create your own traditions with parents, friends, or family members. Use the day as an opportunity to celebrate other forms of love.
Do something for yourself, such as taking yourself out for dinner and a movie or sharing the day with a close friend.
Do something active, such as hiking, walking, or going to the gym. If the day has no meaning, focus on things that contribute to sobriety.
This may include tackling short-term goals, spending the day volunteering, or giving back to the community. “Volunteer work or doing something for the community is an excellent way to stay focused on sobriety,” said Michael Leach of Addicted.org. “It is a good feeling knowing you are in a position to help other people in need.”
Secondly, ixnay the stressful situations. If Valentines Day stirs up negative emotions, such as bad memories, it would be a good idea to avoid stressful situations.
If there is a particular group of people or situations that puts you on edge, you have every right to avoid it or them.
Stress is a common contributing factor to relapse, and it should be managed in a healthy way. Avoiding stressful situations is one successful approach to take.
Have a safety net and reach out for help. If you know Valentine’s Day will be a relapse trigger, anticipate your cravings and do what you can to manage them.
Attend a support group or arrange a meeting with a friend or a sober acquaintance.
Ultimately, it is up to you to keep yourself safe and healthy during the year, yet when these days arise, it is a great idea to place more emphasis on the task ahead.
If you prefer to spend the day alone, focus on treating yourself with respect and love. Overall, whatever you do on Valentine’s Day, have a safe, fun, and sober day.
Marie Garceau has been working in the field of substance use and addiction recovery for over a decade. Her primary focus is to reach out to the community and spread awareness. She does this to educate others about the dangers of drug use and to help prevent individuals from using drugs.