After attending treatment and beginning the recovery process for addiction, many facets of normal life change radically. Friends, recreational activities, employment, and even interpersonal relationships are likely to shift, creating a whole new approach to daily lifestyle choices. Less than half of those who seek sobriety relapse and the odds of success are highest for those who make it at least a year, so the more you can embrace these changes in the beginning, the better.
With Valentine’s Day right around the corner, plans to celebrate with loved ones are extremely common. However, for those newly sober, finding a way to commemorate a special occasion without drugs or alcohol can be easier said than done. That doesn’t mean you have to leave the holiday behind. These ideas for celebrating sobriety with your sweetheart can make this Valentine’s Day your best yet.
Dinner and a Movie
The classics never fail, whether you drink or not, is a nice dinner and a good movie, and they are always a great way to celebrate a special moment. Going out to a restaurant provides intimacy while seeing a new release offers a shared experience to bond over.
For some newly sober individuals, dining out can be a challenge. Seeing alcohol on nearby tables, reading drink menus and eating a nice dinner without a cocktail can seem a little foreign or uncomfortable. If this sounds familiar, consider restaurants in your area that are BYOB or don’t have a liquor license. Not all restaurants serve alcohol and going to one that doesn’t can alleviate the pressure of pairing a drink with your meal.
Take a Hike
February can be chilly in much of the country, but when there’s no snow on the ground and temperatures are above freezing, a hike can be a great way to burn off energy and become one with nature without increasing your likelihood of relapse.
Hiking may seem like something better-suited for more remote areas, but cities often have trails for those who want to get some exercise. From local walking trails to National Parks, there’s likely somewhere close by to explore with your loved one. Instead of drinking alcohol or doing drugs this Valentine’s Day, grab some water and a pair of hiking boots or walking shoes and take in the beauty of the natural world.
Take a Day Trip
A great Valentine’s Day doesn’t need to be spent at home. If you have a little free time and a flexible budget, taking a day trip to explore new areas in your state or region can be a wonderful way to switch things up while celebrating love.
A day trip, or an overnight trip if your budget allows, can provide an opportunity to see the sights in your area, particularly if a life previously dominated by substance abuse stood in the way of regular travel. Pick a nearby city, highlight notable sights and destinations such as parks, museums, restaurants or outdoor areas and map a day of activities to enjoy. Most states have major cities or National Parks within a short drive, providing plenty of new territories to discover.
Sharing with others isn’t a traditional way to celebrate Valentine’s Day, but for those in recovery, it can be a great way to give back to the community while celebrating in a sober manner. In many ways, volunteering your time is a chance to spread the love.
Volunteering can even extend to involvement in the recovery community and counseling those currently in rehabilitation, but it doesn’t have to. Most cities and towns have dozens of destinations in need of kindness and a friendly face, including soup kitchens, food banks, homeless shelters, children’s group homes, and health care facilities. Find a cause that resonates with you and your partner and devotes a day to support those who need your help the most.
If you’re eager to spend more time in the great outdoors, camping can be an excellent way to get away from the hustle and bustle of modern life while bonding with your loved one. Camping provides a way to unplug, eliminate distractions like television, and relax, recalibrate and recover from the demands of work, school or family life. Getting away can also minimize the urge to use. With no alcohol or drugs available in the woods, camping ensures a fun night with no temptation.
Camping does require some equipment, such as a tent, sleeping bags, and lanterns, but if you love camping together you’ll get plenty of use out of this modest investment. Alternatively, many parks offer cabins for a more sophisticated experience for those who aren’t comfortable setting up self-made camp in the wilderness, offering a romantic, isolated setting with better access to modern amenities.
If you have the energy to burn and want a more physical experience this Valentine’s Day, book a lane and challenge your sweetheart to some games. Bowling is fun, affordable and accessible to almost everyone, giving you a great option to spend a few hours on date night. Bowling can also be a fun group activity, allowing for an easy double date with other couples embracing sobriety.
Bowling alleys are often known for access to alcohol, but this doesn’t mean you need to imbibe to enjoy a few frames. Instead, consider ordering water or some soft drinks and a few snacks to keep the temptation to drink at bay.
Take a Class Together
Classes aren’t just for school. With recreational options from pottery to kickboxing, plenty of class options can provide a memorable Valentine’s Day experience without threatening your sobriety.
Cooking classes are a fan favorite for many reasons, offering a way to learn new skills, try new recipes and improve abilities for personal use in the future, but some couples may prefer arts and crafts or fitness classes instead. The availability of such classes vary from one location to another, but options are most commonly offered by community colleges, cooking schools, restaurants or special interest groups. Be aware that some cooking classes may be accompanied by a wine tasting or include wine with dinner, so be sure to let your instructor know that you are sober.
Celebrating Valentine’s Day or any other date night is always good fun, even without the presence of mind-altering substances. With options like dinner and a movie, taking a class or getting outside to enjoy the great outdoors, you and your sweetheart can make your upcoming sober celebration a night you’ll never forget.