how to celebrate valentine’s day in recovery & have fun


When you’re in recovery, your primary focus should be on yourself. That’s why most addiction professionals recommend that you don’t date for at least one year after getting sober. You’ll already be facing major challenges and changes in your life during this time, and adding a new relationship on top of everything else can be too much to manage.

But with Valentine’s Day coming up, you might find it even harder to be single right now. All of the romance in the air can seem impossible to escape, which may trigger difficult emotions or feelings of loneliness. Fortunately, Valentine’s Day is also a time for self-love and reflection, giving you an opportunity to reconnect with yourself and others in your life that you care about: such as your friends, family or maybe even your sponsor.

Whether you are in recovery from addiction, a mental health issue, or just looking for a different way to celebrate the holiday, Choice House in Boulder, Colorado, has some ideas for how to celebrate Valentine’s Day in recovery — sober and single.

1. treat yo’ self

Valentine’s Day isn’t just for couples — it’s meant to celebrate anything or anyone that you love and cherish, which should include yourself. If you’re single this year, take an opportunity to focus on your own well-being. Or, in other words: treat yo’ self.

treat yo self

Instead of getting hung up on couples’ activities, indulge in some quality self-care. You could go for a long walk in nature, cook your favorite meal, start a movie marathon or tackle a new DIY project. You can also spend the day journaling, meditating or practicing mindfulness.

Whatever floats your boat, the most important thing is to find something that you enjoy doing and take the time to do it. Valentine’s Day is the perfect excuse to spoil yourself.

2. connect with others in recovery

At Choice House, we’re well aware that recovery is a journey made easier when you have a supportive community to rely on. In the Boulder area, you’ll find a robust brotherhood of men who have been through our program and forged strong bonds that you can connect with.

If you’re feeling lonely this Valentine’s Day, reach out to your sober peers and plan something fun to do together. You could have a game night, organize a frisbee golf tournament, hit a couple of meetings or go out to dinner together. The bottom line is, spending time with others who understand your challenges can be a great way to feel connected and supported.

3. volunteer for a cause you care about

Valentine’s Day is also a fantastic opportunity to help others and show some love to those in need. Giving back is good for your local community, but it can also strengthen your own recovery by helping you get out of your own head and keeping you distracted from harmful thoughts. And it can make you feel better about yourself — the National Institute of Health (NIH) has published research showing that service work, charity and generosity increase happiness by activating the brain’s pleasure centers for a positive mood lift.

Some things you can do to support your community include donating your time to a local food bank, animal shelter or soup kitchen. You can also explore other ways to give back through your recovery groups or alumni program. Choice House helps alumni stay in touch by organizing monthly outings, which include service work and volunteer opportunities.

4. plan a solo adventure

If you’re local, Colorado is full of possibilities for adventure. Surrounded by the Rocky Mountains, your options are endless. This Valentine’s Day, you could plan a solo outing and explore the Boulder area. Take a break from your everyday routine by going on a road trip, hiking on some nearby trails or enjoying some cross-country skiing. The experience of exploring new places and having new experiences can be both empowering and therapeutic.

5. get creative

Another way to celebrate Valentine’s Day is by embracing your originality and imagination. Get creative and spend the day pursuing a new hobby or activity. Whether you enjoy painting, drawing, writing, or playing an instrument, now is the perfect time to try something new. Not only will you be indulging in your creative side, but you’ll also be keeping your mind occupied and distracted from any triggers or negative thoughts.

6. reach out to loved ones

Valentine’s Day is a great time to reach out to friends and family members you haven’t spoken to in a while to rekindle your connection. Especially for those of us in recovery, it can be the perfect opportunity to make amends and repair relationships that have been damaged by drug or alcohol abuse. To get the ball rolling, you can text, call or simply write a letter expressing your love and gratitude. You can catch up in person. No matter how you decide to do it, spending time with loved ones can help you feel more connected this Valentine’s Day.

7. celebrate your progress in recovery

Last but not least, a solo Valentine’s Day provides the chance for you to really celebrate your progress in recovery. Whether you’ve been sober for a month, a year, or several years, take some time to reflect on the positive changes you’ve made and how far you’ve come. Remembering your progress can help you feel proud and motivated to continue your journey.

At Choice House, we know that Valentine’s Day can be difficult for those in recovery. However, there are many ways you can celebrate solo that don’t revolve around couples’ activities, romantic gestures or triggering situations. Instead of focusing on relationship concerns, you can treat yourself to a day of relaxation, connect with others in recovery, give back to your community or reach out to loved ones. No matter what you decide to do, this Valentine’s Day doesn’t have to be challenging or boring. If you are feeling overwhelmed and on the verge of relapse, we want to help. Reach out to learn more about our recovery programs and sober community in Boulder, Colorado by calling us at 303-578-4977. You can also email us at

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