Before getting clean, Valentine’s Day for me was either a romantic night out with a partner (with wine, of course), or a total downer of a day spent sad and alone (also, with wine). There was never really any in between, and I tended to base my happiness on whether or not I was in a relationship. The one guarantee was that there was always alcohol present, even if that just meant that I was sitting in my apartment while drinking alone and listening to Leonard Cohen.
People who suffer from Alcohol Use Disorder (AUD) commonly depend on external sources to feel good, and Valentine’s Day can be very triggering for some people. Utilizing a sober monitoring tool like Soberlink is a great way to share your sobriety with people in your recovery network while helping you to remain accountable for your clean time. Remember, you never have to walk this path alone, even on Valentine’s Day. One of the first things to recognize if you are sad during this holiday is that we are enough on our own – you are enough on your own, and learning to love yourself is one of the greatest gifts recovery can offer. As cliché as it sounds, learning to love yourself also means that you have more love to give to others, and this doesn’t need to mean romantic love. Make it a point to dish out that love wherever, whenever and to whomever, whether you’re partnered up or solo. Because the more full your heart is, the less you’ll feel the need to reach for the bottle.
We’ve compiled a list of four fun sober activities or “date” ideas that you can engage in with loved ones, whether you’re just hanging out with your beloved pals or your significant other. Here’s to Valentine’s Day with your lover or, as our single friends affectionately refer to it, “Singles Awareness Day” with friends!
Sober dinner parties are a great way to fill your home with love, or take over a section of your favorite restaurant if you’re not set up to entertain (or you just don’t want to do the dishes). You can also include your significant other if you have one. Valentine’s Day doesn’t always mean that you and your love need to be alone together. Maybe you’re married, living together, and you spend all of your time alone with each other already. Perhaps this Valentine’s Day will give you a reason to share the love with your pals in the form of your favorite home cooked meal. Potlucks can also be fun because then you’re not responsible for the entire menu. By including others from your recovery circle you will discover that when good food and friends get together, a fun time can be had without the alcohol.
This is something fun that you can do sober with friends or your lover. Don’t have anyone to spend the evening with? That’s ok, too. Movies are a great way to get yourself out of the house and around others, even if they’re complete strangers. And there’s nothing weird about not talking to strangers at the movies, so it’s a pretty easy way to get yourself out and about even if you’re a little shy. Just make sure you choose something uplifting so that you leave the film feeling warm and fuzzy as opposed to feeling worse than you did when you left the house.
This is another fun group activity that doesn’t have to involve booze or a bar. If you’ve been granted time off from work and can afford long distance travel, you can even schedule a longer getaway to somewhere exotic. If, however, you only have a couple of days (or even a day), why not choose a desirable location close by, hop in the car, and go on a little sightseeing adventure? Camping can be fun as well if weather permits. And the best part? You guessed it – you don’t need to drink.
Is there a local dog shelter or food bank near you that could use some extra helping hands on Valentine’s Day? Why not grab a group of pals (or a significant other) and sign on to be of service for the day? Being of service is probably one of the very best ways to get out of your own head, particularly if you’re someone who happens to be feeling low about your relationship status. It’s also a really special thing to do with a loved one if you’re coupled-up. Either way, one can never go wrong with volunteering. It just makes you feel good, and it’s yet another fantastic way to spread the love while in recovery.
This concludes our list of fun and sober “date” ideas for Valentine’s Day, but the possibilities are virtually endless. Just make sure that you stay close to your recovery network if possible.