Love Actually – Staying Safe & Sober This Valentine’s Day

Following addiction treatment and during the recovery process, many facets of normal life change radically, and Valentine’s Day is just one of the many days or holidays that can pose a threat to relapse. Valentine’s Day is a day which can be particularly challenging for people for a number of reasons, but especially for individuals in recovery. It’s usually a day for wine or champagne celebrating with your significant other as well as a day for a barrage of posts on social media with everyone telling the world how amazing their relationship is. This can all be triggering, alienating or both, and can be challenging.

Of course on Valentine’s Day, plans to celebrate with loved ones are the norm. However, for those in recovery, finding a way to do this free of alcohol or drugs can be easier said than done. But, this doesn’t mean you need to forget about Valentine’s Day and pretend it doesn’t exist. A supportive partner can be a major asset to those in recovery and if you feel the desire to celebrate, then you should celebrate. In this blog, we’ll be highlighting ways you can celebrate with your loved one to make this Valentine’s Day the most memorable yet. Despite the COVID-19 restrictions in place, there are plenty of ways to mark this special day while staying safe and sober.


We can’t eat out in restaurant’s and go to the cinema this year, but the classics are classics for a reason. The old reliable of dinner and a movie night never fails and it can all be done in the safety and comfort of your own home. You don’t need to drink alcohol to enjoy a nice meal and your favourite movies with your partner. For dinner, why not try a brand new recipe? We all see recipes online that we say we’d love to try but never do. Valentine’s Day is the perfect occasion to give that recipe a shot together. Cooking together can be a great way of bonding. After dinner, there are a lot of romantic movies you can watch together, or maybe watch some of your favourite movies that you both enjoy. Even if we weren’t in a lockdown, this can be an excellent way to spend Valentine’s Day, as it removes the temptation of seeing alcohol on nearby tables, reading drink menus or seeing the bar. It can all be quite uncomfortable, but a cosy night in alleviates all this pressure.


A long Winter has passed, and the arrival of Spring is an excellent reason to get out in nature and exercise. Valentine’s Day comes at a stunning time of year, with flowers beginning to blossom and beautiful early-Spring surroundings, why not get out and exercise with your partner. Of course, we are restricted to exercising within 5km at the moment, but you can still enjoy a long romantic walk together. We aren’t all lucky enough to be within 5km of scenic walks, but just getting out in the fresh Spring air together is an excellent way to pass some time this Valentine’s Day without the need for alcohol. If it’s raining, wear a rain jacket, if it’s cold wrap up well, but just enjoy all Mother nature has to offer.


Regardless of whether you are single or in a relationship, treat yourself this Valentine’s Day. Sure, we treat our partners, but this year buy yourself something that you want, rather than need as a little treat. It doesn’t have to be something expensive or extravagant, can be something very simple, but just make sure you celebrate you and your recovery this Valentine’s Day.


This Valentine’s Day, give a little love to those closest to you who helped you when you needed it the most and continue to help you through your recovery. Whether it’s family, close friends or even your dog, just a simple message can go a long way in spreading the love this Valentines.


Being in a relationship can be excellent support for those in recovery, but a lot of experts recommend if you are not in a long term relationship before your treatment, not to start any new romantic relationships during the first year of your recovery. Although this may seem like a long time, there are good reasons for taking it slow. You don’t need the extra stress or turbulence in your life right now. Starting a new relationship can distract you from working on yourself and your recovery. In addition to this, a heated argument or break-up can be a major trigger for a relapse, so all in all, if you are single this Valentine’s Day, it could be for the best. However, if you feel the need to mark Valentine’s Day there is no reason you can’t do all the above. Get out and about exercising, treat yourself with something nice, tell those around you how much their support means to you and finally cook yourself a nice dinner and enjoy your favourite movies.


The fear of relapsing is very real. After all your hard work, it can be extremely scary to think you are one bad decision or one drink away from ruining it, but unfortunately it can and does happen. The pressures and challenges of a day like Valentine’s Day could be the trigger for your relapse, so it’s important to be aware of this. In order to help be prepared, read our blog on “Tips to Prevent a Relapse”.


In conclusion, you can follow these tips for Valentine’s Day, but ultimately it is up to you to keep yourself sober, safe and healthy this Valentine’s Day. Valentine’s Day is all about love so enjoy the time with your partner or loved ones. Alternatively, if you’d prefer to be on your own, or maybe you have to due to COVID-19 lockdown, focus on treating yourself with love and respect.


If you or a loved one are suffering from an addiction, get help today. We can help you recover in a healthy, friendly environment and beat your addiction. Do not hesitate to contact one of our counsellors today for information by calling +353 (21) 488 7710 for Cork or +353 (1) 639 2962 for Dublin, or alternatively you can email us at info@taborgroup.ie. We can help you.