Updated on 1/31/2023

Surviving Valentine’s Day in Early Addiction Recovery

Valentine’s Day is a holiday to celebrate love and romance. You may buy roses, exchange gifts or go on a date to express love for your partner. Although this day is filled with love and affection, you may find it a difficult day to get through if you are single.

If you do not have a partner, dating is not recommended within the first year of recovery. When Valentine’s Day rolls around and love is in the air, what do you do without a partner to celebrate with? This article focuses on how to make the most of Valentine’s Day in early recovery and how to rely on healthy coping strategies to get through it.

Why Is it Important to Stay Single During the First Year of Addiction Recovery?

The first year and early stages of recovery are typically the hardest. Not only are you experiencing detox which is physically, mentally and emotionally exhausting, you are also navigating emotions without drugs and alcohol. Bringing other people romantically into your life typically isn’t recommended due to how intense relationships can be. During treatment, you are learning how to form healthy and non-codependent relationships. Dating requires a lot of time and attention, which can distract you from your sobriety. Recovery requires a full commitment and focus, so it is best not to bring in distractions.

Love is like a drug. Drugs or alcohol activate your brain’s reward system, triggering pleasurable sensations and leading to your addiction. Studies have shown that love and romantic relationships also activate the same system which is why you often feel a “high” when you are in love. Initially, when you are no longer using substances, it can be easy to find addictions in other things. Trading one addiction for another is very common in recovery and can happen with love as well.

Don’t Isolate Yourself on Valentine’s Day

Use this time to spend the day with other people you love like friends and family. Using drugs and alcohol often lead to isolation, because all your attention was focused on achieving a high or drinking.

Valentine’s Day doesn’t strictly apply to showing love to romantic partners. The people in your circle who have supported you deserve to be shown love too. Use this day to show your appreciation for your family members and friends that you love. This can be mutual as they probably would like to express their love for you too. Simply going out for brunch or dinner to your favorite restaurant and enjoying a conversation helps you grow closer. Instead, you may decide to stay in and watch a movie together with friends or family or have a game night filled with laughter and good energy.

Practice Self-Care

Self-care has become a commonly talked about concept in today’s society, for good reason. Life often takes a toll on you in different ways, and because today’s society is so fast-paced, you may rarely take the time to take care of yourself. Along with the everyday challenges of life, addictions can bring on challenges that can wear you down. Now that you are in recovery and can see yourself more clearly, you may be able to see what areas of yourself you have neglected.

Self-care is defined as being mindful of your own needs and taking action to promote healthier well-being. While you are single on Valentine’s Day, this is the perfect time to care for and celebrate yourself. A few self-care ideas to try out on Valentine’s Day include:

  • Treat yourself to a gift.
  • Dress up and take yourself out on a solo date.
  • Write yourself a love letter of all the things you have accomplished in recovery so far.
  • Pamper yourself with a nice skincare and hygiene routine.
  • Create a dream board for the year.
  • Buy yourself flowers and chocolates.

Try Holistic Treatment Options

Showing love to yourself can also be done through holistic treatment options or holistic practices.

  • Massage therapy
    • You may have used drugs or alcohol to cope with chronic or acute pain, which in turn can take a toll on your body. When you are no longer depending on drugs to relieve pain, incorporating massage therapy into your treatment plan can help to naturally relieve your physical pain. Massage therapy is the manipulation of the joints and muscles with the hands to relieve physical pain throughout the body. Valentine’s Day is the perfect opportunity to relax and take some time to tend to your body.
  • Yoga 
    • Yoga is a practice that works on your spiritual, physical and mental discipline through meditation. Yoga is often used in treatment to target areas of your brain once affected by drugs and to help reduce your cravings. Valentine’s Day may trigger past memories or create a feeling of loneliness that may cause you to crave substances again. Spending a couple of hours practicing yoga techniques can help you calm your mind and body on a day that may feel stressful.
  • Acupuncture 
    • Acupuncture is the technique of placing fine, sterilized needles into specific points of the body to relieve pain and tension. This holistic technique performed by a professional also helps suppress your cravings, while relieving physical stress from your body. Research has shown that acupuncture releases endorphins in the body which act as a natural painkiller.

Cliffside Malibu is not only here to offer you guidance through your addiction treatment, but also to build a lasting and trusting relationship with you. Comfortably recover from substance use and any co-occurring mental disorders in a “home away from home” environment. Call Cliffside Malibu today at (855) 403-5641 if you or a loved one are in need of a safe and professional treatment center to start your recovery process now.