Spending your first Valentine’s Day in recovery can feel like a vulnerable time.
While you’re learning to manage cravings and aspects of life connected to a past addiction, you’re also working through emotions that may be heightened on holidays.
Here are six things you can do for yourself during your first Valentine’s Day in substance use disorder recovery.
Create A Relapse Prevention Plan
Before you go into a day with significance such as Valentine’s Day, it’s a good idea to create a relapse prevention plan.
This can help you to stay on track throughout the holiday, even when triggers come up that might lead to a relapse.
Plans for relapse prevention typically include self-care, a support system, accountability, self-reflection, and a list of known triggers.
A few factors that might trigger a relapse on Valentine’s Day include:
- being alone
- sadness or depression
- increased sensitivity to negative emotions or experiences
- worsened symptoms of a dual diagnosis of addiction and mental illness
- pressure to meet the expectations of a significant other or loved ones
- unmet expectations
Spend The Day With Loved Ones
If you have a significant other, you can spend the day enjoying their company and celebrating your relationship. But you don’t have to be in a relationship to enjoy Valentine’s Day.
For people not in a relationship, this day might bring up feelings of rejection, loneliness, or pain from previous relationships.
In addiction recovery, negative emotions such as these can cause relapse. To avoid this, spend time in the company of people you care about.
This is a day to reflect on positive memories in your relationships, celebrate friendships, and show your family members that you care for them.
Be sure to surround yourself with people you love so you feel supported throughout the day.
Continue Treatment As Normal
Don’t let go of your daily routines for recovery just because it’s a holiday. In fact, continuing to pursue these activities is a show of self-love and confidence in your recovery.
If you have plans with someone on Valentine’s Day, find time before or after to go to your recovery program so you’re still getting support.
Lean On Your Network
If Valentine’s Day is a difficult time of year for you and this is your first time spending it in recovery, don’t be afraid to lean on your support system.
The group of people you built during recovery — neighbors, recovery group members, friends, family members — will be there for you.
Especially if you start to feel cravings or worsened symptoms of a mental illness on Valentine’s Day, reach out for support and get the help you need.
If you need more support, consider asking a friend to spend the day with you so you’re not alone.
Go On Dates Responsibly
People in addiction recovery are free to date, though it is important to do so responsibly to ensure their sobriety and recovery are their top priority.
Some addiction treatment providers actually suggest avoiding dating for the first year of recovery to focus on your mental health and building platonic relationships.
Whether you’re going on a first date or going out with someone you’ve been seeing for an extended time, consider what triggers or issues may arise on Valentine’s Day and be prepared for them.
Instead of going to a restaurant, club, party, or bar, suggest a sober location, such as a movie theater or a park.
And choose your date thoughtfully, being sure to see someone who supports your recovery and is willing to remain sober around you.
During recovery, you must put yourself, your physical health, and your mental health first.
This Valentine’s Day, spend time caring for yourself and doing things that you enjoy.
Ways to prioritize self-love during your first Valentine’s Day in recovery include:
- pampering yourself: Take yourself to the movies, do a face mask, have a massage, order in a nice meal, or take a hot bath.
- turning off social media: Social media can be a major distraction from recovery, especially if you’re feeling more vulnerable. Delete your social media apps for the day.
- writing yourself a letter: Write a letter that expresses how far you’ve come in recovery, that you’re proud of yourself, and the things you love about yourself.
- trying holistic methods: Practice meditation, mindfulness, expressing words of affirmation, nature therapy, or spending time with animals.
If you or someone you love are ready to recover from drug or alcohol addiction this Valentine’s Day, the addiction specialists at Northeast Addictions Treatment Center are ready to help.
Reach out to us today to learn about our facility and the phases of addiction treatment.