Around this time of year, Valentine’s Day can be triggering for those in addiction recovery. Billboards depict champagne and large gatherings, while television shows and commercials begin highlighting romance. For a person who is focusing on themselves and their sobriety, where do they fit in? It is for this exact reason that Valentine’s Day can become triggering – especially if those in recovery find themselves focusing on what they don’t (or can’t) have over what they do have.
Relapse is a common buzzword in addiction recovery, and that’s because many people try to avoid it at all costs. Relapse occurs when a person reverts back to previous addictive behaviors – and for many, this turn of events is followed by guilt and shame. Valentine’s Day can trigger relapse for people in a number of ways:
- The holiday can remind someone in recovery that they do not have a significant other, which may lead to feelings of depression, isolation and loneliness
- Valentine’s Day can bring up cravings to want to drink or abuse drugs, either to ease emotional pain or out of habit from when addiction was active
- Commercials, movies and television shows can cause a person in recovery to ruminate over past experiences with people, substances, or other memories that trigger certain feelings
- The thought that “everyone” is out celebrating Valentine’s Day can leave those in recovery feeling as though their missing out
Addiction recovery can be challenging during the holidays when we’re constantly hearing about what we “should” be doing, but it’s important to remember that Valentine’s Day is just like any other day – and there’s not as many people celebrating it as we might think. During the holidays, the best thing we can do is to practice self-care. Start a new hobby, lean on others who support your recovery, get together with sober friends, cook your own dinner, and truly enjoy practicing self-care this Valentine’s Day – and every day after.
Avalon Malibu is a world-renowned, California state-licensed mental health and substance abuse recovery center. If you are ready to seek treatment to develop the tools you need to overcome life’s obstacles and be on the road towards happiness, health, and well-being, call us today at 888-958-7511 for a consultation. It’s never too late, and there are people here ready to help you.