The holidays can feel stressful even under the best circumstances. But when a family member or friend is recovering from a substance abuse issue, there can be an added layer of worry and concern that tinges even the happiest of times. And while it can be hard to know what to say or how to act around a loved one in recovery, it can be even more difficult to shop for someone who is in the midst of such life-changing work. To help, here is a list of our top five gifts for recovering addicts.
1. Give the Gift of Empathy and Communication
For recovering addicts, the holidays can be particularly difficult. Work parties, family parties, meetups with old friends – it can seem like the opportunity for slip-ups is everywhere – particularly for those dealing with alcohol addiction. Because of this, one of the greatest gifts you can give the recovering addict in your life is of empathy and communication.
One way you can support your loved one’s recovery is to communicate with them empathetically. Appreciate the struggle they are going through and give them kudos for doing the hard work of staying clean. Check-in regularly, and ask how they feel about being at parties where alcohol is served. You might even offer to host a dry gathering if that is what they need.
You can also try to avoid planning dinners and get-togethers at bars and breweries – at least in the short term. It’s not always possible, and the goal isn’t to rearrange everyone’s life for their sake, but rather, it is a gift of empathy and solidarity for a loved one that might need a little extra help. For a gift that you can wrap, consider a journal and a nice pen that your loved one can use to express their feelings when times are tough.
2. Give the Gift of Quality Time
As they say, idle hands are the devil’s playthings, and very often, people with substance abuse issues can feel isolated by their disease. On top of that, when choosing a sober life, recovering addicts often lose many of their friends – the people they used to drink or use with.
A gift like tickets to a sporting event or a concert or movie that you commit to attending with your friend in recovery is a good way to rebuild a relationship damaged by addiction, while having some fun in the process. Other options include bowling, go-kart racing, escape rooms and roller/ice skating.
3. Give the Gift of Purpose
Does the recovering addict in your life enjoy cooking, woodworking, ceramics, or music? Are they interested in learning a foreign language or developing a new skill that can help in their career? A gift that supports your loved one’s passions can renew interest, provide healthy distraction and reopen a source of joy and fulfillment perhaps long forgotten. A book, supplies, or a few lessons in the activity they love is a gift with lasting value.
4. Give the Gift of Good Health
Physical activity makes people happier, healthier and less stressed, and individuals in recovery are no different. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, being physically active can improve sleep and well-being, reduce feelings of anxiety and depression, and protect the body from developing a chronic illness.
For an addict in recovery, gifts with a healthy bent could include passes to the climbing gym, a set of ballroom dancing classes, a surf lesson, ski lift ticket, or the entrance fee to a 5K that you can train for together. An athletic challenge requiring a longer training commitment, like a marathon or multi-day hike, or backpacking trip can be especially helpful because it encourages healthy diet and exercise habits over a period of many months.
5. Give the Gift of Comfort
Oftentimes, people with serious substance abuse issues are under financial burdens caused by their addiction. Addicts are known for being unable to hold a job, selling everything of value that they own, and taking on debt to feed their addiction. Upon choosing recovery, some recovering addicts are met with a financial reality that leaves little room for extra comforts.
If this scenario sounds familiar, one gift that goes a long way is to provide a simple comfort your loved one may not be able to afford. A year’s subscription to their favorite tv or music streaming service, a month’s supply of gourmet coffee, a trip to the nail salon, or a gift card for a massage are all gifts that provide distraction and comfort while showing you care.
Happy Holidays from New Origins!
We hope that this article listing our five top gifts for recovering addicts helps you find that perfect something for your loved one this holiday season. From all of us here at New Origins, we wish you a happy, healthy holiday season.