For many people, Valentine’s Day brings to mind images of happy couples out on the town, enjoying dinner by candlelight and a bottle of champagne. Roses and a box of chocolates fit in that image somewhere too.
If you are sober, Valentine’s Day can be a little problematic because of the association of romance with wine, especially champagne, that is prevalent in our society. If you aren’t in a romantic relationship, Valentine’s Day can feel like a slap in the face. It may seem as if everyone is married or has a significant other except you. If you are committed to a sober lifestyle and single, Valentine’s Day can be especially difficult. Fortunately, with a little planning, you can celebrate Valentine’s Day in your own way.
If you choose not to drink alcohol for whatever reason, more and more flavorful options are cropping up all the time. A tried-and-true alternative to sparkling wine is sparkling cider, which comes in many different flavors. If you are a little more adventurous, a quick Google search will give you more mocktail recipes than you can drink. Try sipping on a mock sangria loaded with fresh fruit; a Mexican chocolate mocktail, a sophisticated hot chocolate drink livened up with cinnamon; or a rose lemon spritzer, complete with rose petals.
It doesn’t matter what you drink; what matters is that you recognize that holidays like Valentine’s Day can be triggers for some people. If you know that the day can be a trigger and you have a plan, you will be fine.
Reach Out to Other People
Although it may feel like you are the only person alone on Valentine’s Day, that is not the case. Valentine’s Day can be a great time to show some kindness to others. You might want to plan a party for other sober single friends, although, in light of COVID-19, you may choose to make it a virtual gathering. You might fix dinner for your favorite couple or offer to babysit for parents with young children so they can spend some time together without their kids. You could put together a basket filled with Valentine’s Day treats and take it to someone you know who is older and alone. Create small treat bags to give to neighbors. Take flowers to someone.
Showing kindness to someone else is as good for you as it is for them and being kind to others can improve your physical and mental health. Showing kindness to others increases the level of oxytocin in your system, which lowers your blood pressure and improves your cardiovascular health. Being kind also raises your serotonin level, which improves your sleep. In addition, performing acts of kindness lowers your cortisol level, the hormone connected with stress.
Focus on Yourself
Valentine’s Day as a single person can give you a good excuse to show some kindness to yourself. Part of what can be hard about being single on Valentine’s Day is gift-giving, so buy yourself a present. The present can be as simple or as extravagant as your wishes and financial circumstances allow. It might be an item of clothing or a piece of jewelry that you’ve had your eye on. Perhaps you want to purchase supplies or tools to support a hobby–a new lens if you love photography, golf lessons if most weekends find you on a golf course, or a subscription to a finance magazine if personal investing is your passion. Buy yourself some candy and flowers; binge-watch your favorite show; immerse yourself in a book; or plan a spa day at home.
You might choose to spend Valentine’s Day alone. Sometimes with all the business of contemporary life, the best gift you can give yourself is the gift of time. You might decide to take a weekend trip by yourself. Traveling alone might seem daunting if it’s something you’ve never done, but you may find that you enjoy it. You can go where you want when you want. You can spend the entire trip doing exactly as you please.
You might decide that Valentine’s Day is the perfect time to learn something new. Maybe you’ve always wanted to learn to knit. Maybe you want to learn to roller skate. Perhaps you used to make collages; gather up the supplies you need and start creating.
You may also decide to spend some time contemplating the sober lifestyle you have chosen. It can be beneficial to think about why you wanted to embrace a sober lifestyle and all the benefits that come with it. Think about the positive changes you’ve made in your life and the changes still to come.
Valentine’s Day can be whatever you want it to be. With a little planning, you can avoid the triggers and have a great day, either alone or with friends.
If you are single, Valentine’s Day can be a trigger. Happy couples are everywhere and many of them are celebrating with alcohol. With a little planning, though, you can avoid the triggers and celebrate the day in a way that makes you happy. At Enlightened Solutions, we will help you develop the life skills you need to avoid triggers and prevent relapse. Enlightened Solutions is a drug and alcohol treatment center licensed to treat co-occurring disorders. We offer a range of treatment options tailored to the needs of each client. Our focus is on healing the whole person, not just treating the addiction. Our services include talk therapy, both one-on-one and in a group setting, rooted in the 12-Step traditions. We offer a variety of holistic treatment modalities, including art and music therapy, yoga, meditation, acupuncture, chiropractic care, sound therapy, Family Constellation Therapy, and equine therapy. If you or someone close to you is ready to seek treatment for an addiction, call us at (833) 801-5483.