Woo Yourself This Valentine’s Day

Valentine’s Day is fast approaching. For those newly in recovery from addiction, a romantic holiday might be the last thing on your mind. Or maybe you’re craving the intensity and human connection that you shrugged off while using drugs, but don’t know how to get it–or even whether you should. This Valentine’s Day, instead of focusing on romantic pursuits, I am inviting you to woo yourself. Seriously. Even if you are in a relationship, recovery is difficult and demanding. I’m not saying neglect your partner, but why not use this celebration of love to engage in some pampering and self-care? Take some time to get to know yourself again, and to celebrate the beautiful person you are. Here are some ides for “dating yourself” this Valentine’s Day, specifically geared for people in early addiction recovery.

Give Yourself a Spa Day

Whether at an actual spa, or at home with some candles and bubble bath, take some time to relax your mind and body. “Spa day” might sound kind of basic and unimaginative, but I’ve included it on this list deliberately. While in the throes of active addiction, many of us forget to take care of our physical health, comfort, and appearance. Using drugs takes priority, and everything else falls to the wayside. You can tweak this idea and make it a haircut, or a massage, or a mani/pedi–something that will help you re-connect to your body in a healthy way, while coming away looking and feeling great.

Go On a Hike In Nature

Exercise is a fabulous way to help your mind and body recover from the instability of compulsive drug use. It promotes the release of neurochemicals critical to mood stability, like endorphins and dopamine, and helps you tangibly understand that difficult events can be overcome–after all, finishing your first mile feels like quite the feat, especially if you were pretty sedentary during your addiction, or thus far in your recovery. But a trip to spin class isn’t super romantic (unless that’s your thing; in which case–go for it)! Instead, I suggest taking a hike in nature. Pack a nice picnic, pick a safe and scenic trail (and let someone know which one), and go alone. Getting out into nature is both calming and energizing; going alone will give you a chance to pause, enjoy the experience, and reflect of your accomplishments in recovery–and your goals for the future.

Indulge In Something Exciting

Addiction recovery is difficult for a number of reasons. One of them is letting go of the pleasure of drug use. Which is not to say that addiction is pleasurable, of course–but part of the reason we come back to those drugs again and again is because they stimulate sensations of pleasure and euphoria. Recovery, especially early recovery, can feel boring and lackluster in comparison. This Valentine’s Day, bring a spark back into your life by doing something exciting. That can be something as simple as riding a rollercoaster, or something larger–like a spontaneous trip somewhere you have always wanted to go. This will obviously be limited by personal factors, like time off from work and financial means. But even if you only have an evening to yourself and a few bucks, you can take a trip to a cool restaurant, shop, or part of town that you’ve been wanting to visit.

Write Yourself a Love Letter

I am not a sappy person, but addiction does a number on your self-esteem. Between all the outside shaming and stigmatizing that most of us experience, the self-shaming all of those negative influences often lead to, and potential trauma experienced during or before your addiction, many of us who have gone through drug addiction know what it feels like to think very little of ourselves. But guilt, shame, and self-deprecation are dangerous emotions during early recovery. It is important to remind yourself what you’re fighting for: you! Write yourself a love letter and tell yourself why you are worth it. Tuck it away to read again when you’re feeling down.

The Ammon Foundation believes that when individuals are holistically and strategically supported to build purposeful lives, the likelihood of them maintaining their recovery substantially increases. We provide this support via our two core programs – Ammon Recovery Scholars Program and Ammon Empowerment Workshop Program. To find out more about our programs, or to apply for an educational scholarship, please click here.