When you’re single, just the words can elicit feelings of anxiety, cynicism, and dread, and if you’re single and recovering from substance abuse, Valentine’s Day might make you want to stay in bed and close the curtains for 24 hours. But this is risky behavior and can lead to feelings of self-loathing and other negative emotions.
Remember that Valentine’s Day doesn’t have to be about romance, and it certainly doesn’t have to be a trigger. Why not reclaim Valentine’s Day for yourself and your sobriety this year? Believe it or not, there are countless ways to celebrate love and loving without buying into the hype and fever that surround the holiday.
Single And Loving It
Singles Awareness Day is typically celebrated on February 15th, but some people choose to celebrate it on Valentine’s Day as a way of saying, “I’m single and proud!”
Follow their lead and gather your single friends for a celebration to honor singledom. Have a dinner party or head out to a great restaurant. You can revel in these great friendships that help keep you steady, and you can reconnect with those who have been there for you through your recovery.
Plan a Vacation
If traveling gives you a boost, why not ignore the holiday altogether and get out of town this year?
Whether it’s a weekend getaway or a major trip overseas, being away can give you a fresh and positive perspective. Besides, being single means you get to choose when and where you can go. Relish the freedom you have to do what you want when you want. All your married-with-children friends will be jealous!
What better way to love yourself than by doing something nice just for you? Maybe it’s buying those cool sunglasses you’ve been eyeing or maybe it’s getting a massage or a new gadget.
By treating yourself you are showing yourself extra love, and you deserve it.
Make A List
Warding off negative emotions takes practice, but recovery helped you recognize ways to promote positive thinking. One way to do this is to sit down and make a gratitude list of all the good things in your life, all the good things you do, what makes you happy, and what you have to look forward to. Seeing it on paper can drive home the message that life really is good, and that your hard work is paying off.
Valentine’s Day is the perfect day to reach out to the ones we love. Through phone calls, cards, emails, or texts, checking in with loved ones can be both rewarding for you and comforting for them.
Or maybe you are in a good place but there’s a chance you know others who are not. Try reaching out to someone you know who might be having a rough time, or make an effort to get together with them. By doing for others you essentially do something for yourself, and it always feels uplifting to spread love to others.
-Michelle Peterson’s mission is aligned with that of RecoveryPride.org, which is to celebrate sobriety and those who achieve it. For this article, she aims to remind the single women like herself the importance of giving value to self.