Tips for an Alcohol-Free Valentines Day

Sober-Friendly Ways to Celebrate Valentine’s Day

February 14th is celebrated annually as a day to express your affection or love for your significant other. This holiday has existed since the 1500s, with lovers exchanging printed cards featuring themes of hearts, roses, Cupid, and birds. Still, it has evolved into an American date-night tradition, with candy, gifts, and celebrations as the norm. However, the day can be challenging for a recovering alcoholic or drug addict to navigate sober.

Here are some tips for an alcohol-free Valentine’s Day, with fun and sober Valentine’s Day activities:

  • Get out into nature: take a hike, find a romantic waterfall, go horseback riding or do a photoshoot in the desert
  • See a live show or movie: enjoy entertainment like a movie, play, ballet, or concert
  • Be a tourist in your own town: sightseeing, museums, walking tours, and cafes
  • Stay home: have a movie night with friends or your loved one, and plenty of popcorn
  • Have a “staycation”: rent a hotel room with your significant other, try a new restaurant or order room service and enjoy one another’s company
  • Try a class together: creating or learning something together can provide you the chance to talk and have a new experience together
  • Treat yourself: have a spa day, with pedicures, massages, or other experiences that make you feel good

There is no “wrong” way to spend a sober Valentine’s Day. You can even choose to ignore the day if it feels triggering to you emotionally, or you can have an anti-Valentine’s Day brunch with friends and extra pancakes.

If you or a loved one are struggling with addiction, call WhiteSands Alcohol and Drug Rehab today at 877.969.1993 to learn how we can help.

Warning Signs of Relapse

Like many occasions, Valentine’s Day can be difficult for anybody with a substance abuse issue, so it’s vital to know tips for an alcohol-free Valentine’s Day. People who are not in a relationship may feel isolated or have other negative emotions that may trigger a relapse, while others may be in a celebratory mood that can also lead to drinking. Some warning signs of relapsing include:

  • Experiencing emotional responses like anger, anxiety, or moodiness, with elevated stress levels
  • Eating and sleeping schedules becoming erratic
  • Isolating yourself from social support and other support systems you have in place
  • Loss of structure in your life, like sleeping late, skipping meals, or avoiding usual hygiene routines
  • Stopping hobbies and activities you have begun to enjoy since being in recovery
  • Beginning to reactivate your denial of the addiction, or feeling defensive about your actions that may lead to relapsing when others address them
  • Making irrational choices, and feeling a lack of control over your own life and choices
  • A change in attitude, with a lack of conviction in, or doubting your own recovery
  • Having wishes to return to drinking or reminiscing about the “good times” you had while drinking
  • Direct thoughts or plans to have a drink

Risk Factors for Relapse

Risk factors for relapse include:

  • Being around triggers or stressful situations like drug dealers, environmental cues, or emotional triggers, turning to alcohol as a coping mechanism to deal with negative emotions
  • Physical exhaustion from insomnia or self-neglect can make you vulnerable to relapse
  • Mental health issues like depression or anxiety can lead to drinking as self-medication
  • Interpersonal issues and isolation from a social support system, like a conflict with friends and family, can lead to drinking again if not addressed
  • Physical injury or chronic pain may make you want to start drinking to avoid pain
  • The wish to enhance a celebration or positive situation by having a few drinks can lead to relapse

What to Do If You Fear You Might Relapse

If you are worried you may relapse, you can:

  • Remember that these feelings are temporary, and you can make a choice not to act on them
  • Reflect on the recovery and relapse prevention skills you have learned in your rehab program, and put these into place
  • Set firm, healthy boundaries for yourself and others around you
  • Engage in self-care, so your body and mind remain strong and in control
  • Reach out to social support, whether that is a sponsor, a family member or friend, a therapist or counselor, or attending a group meeting

At WhiteSands Alcohol and Drug Rehab, you will always have a safe and sober environment to return to during difficult times through our extended outpatient rehabilitation programs. Triggers and stress happen in life. Whether you have a setback in your recovery or fear relapse is on the horizon, you can come to us for therapy, peer support, sober living options, and sober friendships. Hence, you are never alone in your long-term recovery, and we are here for you. Call us today to learn more about gaining a life-long connection with our drug-free community or learn more tips for an alcohol-free Valentine’s Day.

If you or a loved one needs help with abuse and/or treatment, please call the WhiteSands Treatment at (877) 855-3470. Our addiction specialists can assess your recovery needs and help you get the addiction treatment that provides the best chance for your long-term recovery.

About the Author

Jackie has been involved in the substance abuse and addiction treatment sector for over five years and this is something that she is truly eager about. She has a passion for writing and continuously works to create informative pieces that not only educate and inform the public about the disease of addiction but also provide solutions for those who struggle with drug and alcohol abuse.