Valentine’s Day is a time to celebrate love, relationships, memories, and romance. It’s a day to celebrate the relationship you have with someone you love. However, for a variety of reasons, this is a holiday that can lead to feeling depressed. It can create memory that trigger us, anxiety, and regret.
Relationships Challenge Your Recovery
Relationships are often a struggle. They challenge the most fundamental parts of us. For instance, if you grew up in a household where your mother and father were often fighting, perhaps you find that you too often fight with the person you’re in relationship with. Perhaps you find that you’re often at odds with him or her. What’s worse is that perhaps your relationship has an effect on your recovery. You might love the person you’re with, but you notice from time to time that your relationship is a source of great frustration and perhaps even anger. If this is true, relationships might challenge your recovery and your ability to stay sober.
Feeling a Sense of Loss
Even if you’re not in a relationship, this holiday can be challenging. For example, instead of getting to celebrate a day of love with your partner, you might feel a sense of loss for not having someone in your life. Or you might feel a sense of failure for once having a relationship and then no longer being in one. This holiday can also bring up feelings of remorse and regret, wishing we had done something different in our lives or hoping that things would have gone differently. Valentine’s Day, similar to Thanksgiving and Christmas, can be filled with regret, loss, and uncomfortable memories.
There’s an advantage and a disadvantage to Valentine’s Day versus Thanksgiving and Christmas and that is that usually there is no holiday gathering. During the holiday season, there are often family get-togethers that are in themselves a trigger. However, Valentine’s Day frequently doesn’t include this, which makes the holiday easier to manage. On the other hand, because there are no gatherings with friends or family, it might be easy to isolate. It might be easy to stay at home all day, thinking about this or that and beginning to feel tempted to drink or get high. For this reason, Valentine’s Day might be a danger to one’s sobriety.
Keep Yourself Within Your Protected Boundaries
However, there are ways to ensure your safety and sobriety on holidays, such as Valentine’s Day. There are ways to keep yourself within the protected boundaries of your commitment to your sobriety. The following are ways to do just that:
Plan ahead. Sometimes just thinking about Valentine’s Day can bring anxiety. The more planning you can do for yourself, the better. Think about how you can make this time easier. If you know it’s going to be a difficult day, plan what you’re going to do that day that will bring a smile to your face. You might be able to attend an event for recovering addicts.
- Don’t let other people determine what you should or shouldn’t do. You don’t have to do what others think you should do. Give yourself the right to do what you want to do! Part of recovery and sober living is discovering and acting on your empowerment. Once you know what’s going to best serve your sobriety, share it with others and stick to your plan.
- Ask for help, even when it’s hard to do. If it feels right, allow people to help you in concrete ways such as being a sober companion at parties, driving you home when you are ready to leave, and encouraging your sobriety. Or you might need help with processing your feelings about the upcoming holidays. Friends are there to help; you can rely on them for being a support in your sobriety and prevention of relapses.
- Find time for rest. A holiday, such as Valentine’s Day can be emotionally draining, especially if you’re grieving old events or if this time of year reminds you of a history you’d rather not remember. As already mentioned, this time of year might easily be a trigger for drinking, drugging, and relapsing, but it doesn’t have to be. Find time for rest and quiet time for yourself – but without wallowing in your woes. Remember to take good care of yourself. Good self-care will support your ability to say no to any temptations from family or friends.
If you think Valentine’s Day is a challenging time for you, consider the above suggestions for staying safe, sober, and content.