I know as well as anyone how the journey to recovery can be long and arduous. For this reason and many others, staying in recovery is something worth celebrating for the achievement that it is. As with many celebrations, giving a gift can be a wonderful way to show your support for a loved one who is in recovery.
I’m excited to share with you some general tips for specific parts of the recovery journey, as well as some specific gift ideas for the newly sober person in your life.
What Do You Get Someone as a Sobriety Gift?
Reaching sobriety and maintaining it is an incredible accomplishment and should be treated as such. If a friend or family member is maintaining sobriety from substances they formerly used, getting them a gift as a way to mark the occasion can be a great idea. Staying sober is just one step in the long process of recovery, but rewarding sobriety can be a positive affirmation to continue to maintain it in the long term.
A gift for achieving or maintaining sobriety can be any number of things, but the most important thing to remember is that the gift should be unique to the person. Some may enjoy a piece of jewelry signifying the day. Others may appreciate a journal that can help them express their feelings and maintain their sobriety. As sobriety is a huge milestone, many gifts focus on the date of sobriety or the number of months or years sobriety has continued. Any of these gifts can help your loved one feel empowered to maintain their sobriety.
What Do You Get Someone Who Just Got Out of Rehab?
Finding a great gift for people in recovery or newly sober people can be difficult – especially if you’re feeling stressed about getting them the perfect gift. As with most things in recovery, it’s important to know that you’re not alone and to give yourself grace. There are plenty of ways to give a great gift to a friend or family member who is newly sober, so keep these tips in mind.
Know That an Experience Can Be Part of the Gift
For many people, after they get sober, they feel as though they have been given their life back. Partaking in simple, fun life experiences is a great way to help them enjoy their newfound life. Any gift that helps them re-experience the healthy things they once enjoyed is a great start.
Be Mindful of Fresh Experiences
By the same token, getting out of rehab is a huge step towards leading a life without substance use, so people who just left rehab are still adjusting back to their “normal life” again. There is often a pressure to snap back into life immediately following rehab. This pressure can cause a lot of stress and contributes to the more emotionally and mentally fragile state many people find themselves in post-rehab. When giving a gift to someone who has recently left rehab, be sure to avoid exerting pressure on the person to return to how they “used to be.”
Consider Self Care
A wonderful gift for someone who is just out of rehab can be something that helps them take time for self-care. Self-care is very important while recovering from substance use disorder and any significant life change. As the body and mind heal, a little pampering can go a long way. Anything from a spa day or massage gift certificate to a favorite healthy dinner or anything they consider self-care can work as a recovery gift. This also emphasizes the importance of taking care of oneself throughout recovery.
Things To Avoid As Gifts for Newly Sober People
While there are several gifts you can give to people in recovery as a way to celebrate their achievements, there are a number of gifts to avoid as well. As people who have recently come out of rehab or are newly sober may be in a fragile emotional and mental state, it’s important to be aware of possible triggers. Triggers can be something relating to their past behavior as well as something that brings up emotions that remind them of their substance use.
Here are a few important categories to avoid:
Alcohol Themed Gifts
While this may seem obvious, it’s important to keep an eye out because many things promote substances subversively. For example, many “funny” or “gag gifts” today have alcohol themes. However, joking about substance use is not a good way to encourage a newly sober person to maintain their sobriety. If they feel comfortable joking about the situation, that’s okay, but leave the dark humor to the person in recovery.
Gifts That Use “Addict” Language
Any gift with language around “addict” or “addiction” can be a slippery slope, as well. While something like a mug with “coffee addict” written on the front can be a cute gift for a coffee drinker, a newly recovering person doesn’t need any reminders. Addiction is a serious topic for these individuals, and they may not appreciate careless references to being an addict.
Large Sums of Money
Many people think they are doing a favor to a newly sober person by writing a check to help with bills or other financial issues. However, it can be very risky to give a newly recovering person large sums of money. Those who are recovering might still be relearning how to have and manage money, and suddenly having access to a lot of money might trigger them to relapse into old habits. If the aim of the gift is to alleviate financial stress, offer to pay for an individual bill directly.
How Do You Celebrate 10 Years of Sobriety?
Treating ten years of sobriety like an anniversary or special occasion can be a fantastic way to celebrate the day. Treat your loved one to a special meal, either home-cooked or at their favorite restaurant, or book a fun experience for the both of you to do together. Use the day to do something meaningful for them as a reminder that they have accomplished something huge and should be proud of themselves.
Recovery Gift Ideas
Whether it’s two years or ten years of sobriety, recovery is something to be celebrated as the achievement it is. No matter how long your loved one has been in recovery, check out these ideas to help them recognize their progress.
1. A Journal or Recovery Planner
2. A Heartfelt Letter With Positive Affirmations
3. A Personalized Piece of Jewelry
A personalized piece of jewelry can be a wonderful gift option. Be sure to choose some element that is specific to the person – often, the date of their sobriety or how long they have maintained their sobriety. This kind of gift is also a nice way to encourage maintaining sobriety while wearing something that serves as a reminder of all the work they have done.
4. An Oil or Scent Diffuser
5. Something Practical They Need
Those coming out of rehab can feel financial stress as they return home and readjust to their lives again. A nice way to alleviate some of that financial stress could be offering to pay for a portion of their bills or buy them something they need in their house. For example, you could consider offering to pay their electric bill that month or buy them the new kitchen gadget they have been eyeing.
6. A Self-Care Experience
7. Healthy Living or Hobby-Related Gifts
Self-care isn’t just about the spa. Giving a health-related gift is another awesome way to encourage a new love for exercise and wellness. From wearable fitness trackers, weights, or a new yoga mat to a gym membership, health-related gifts can be ideal for a loved one in recovery.
If their hobbies are a bit more recreational in nature, you can still find them a gift that goes along with what they love most. If they enjoy gardening, consider a new plant or a gardening tool set. If they enjoy art, anything from a coloring book to a new art piece might be just the ticket.
Books and Games
9. Groceries or Meal-Prep Delivery Service
As previously mentioned, finances are often tight, especially during early recovery. Offering to buy groceries or setting someone up with a meal-prep delivery service is a way to give your loved one the gift of health and nutrition without the fuss. Meal-prep delivery services make cooking more manageable and fun and are an out-of-the-box gift for someone going through recovery.
10. An Amazing Experience
It’s important enough to say again: sometimes, the best gifts are not “things” but rather an amazing experience. If you’re struggling to find a gift item for your newly sober loved one, maybe an engaging experience would be a better choice. An experience could be anything you think they might enjoy, including a cooking class, a pottery and painting class, a weekend trip, or a day of museum hopping. These all give you the opportunity to spend time together with someone you love, which is the best gift of all.
The Importance of Being There for Someone in Recovery
Supporting a loved one through recovery is a huge undertaking, but your presence can be vital to a newly sober person’s journey. Giving gifts not only encourages them to maintain their sobriety and rewards them for the huge accomplishment they have achieved, but it also lets them know you support their efforts. In fact, standing by their side and offering your support and comfort throughout this difficult time is one of the best gifts you can give.
Thank you for recognizing that the people surrounding a newly sober person can play an important part in a successful recovery. Keep being you and doing what you can to show your support while allowing them to walk their unique road to recovery.
Yours in Recovery,