If you have even the tiniest romantic bone in your body, Valentine’s Day can be hard when you’re single.
As much as you might try to avoid the holiday or tell yourself it’s just a marketing ploy, it can hurt to feel like everyone is celebrating but you. If you’re also in recovery, Valentine’s Day might be a reminder that you’re not ready for a relationship yet or of the pain substance use brought to your relationships.
So, while you could boycott the holiday by dressing in black and listening to murder ballads all day, you could also decide to embrace the holiday and create your own traditions.
- Do something nice for someone else who might be feeling lonely on Valentine’s Day. You could go traditional, sending that person a card, flowers, or chocolates, or you could suggest an outing or activity that has nothing to do with the color red or anything heart-shaped. Bring humor and delight to someone in a way that makes sense to you.
- Do something nice for yourself. Spend the day with yourself, practicing kindness toward yourself and acceptance of where you are right now in your life’s journey. Eat strawberries and cream for breakfast, get a massage, buy yourself a box of chocolates. Figure out how to make Valentine’s Day a day you can look forward to.
- Do something to help repair a damaged relationship. By this, I do NOT mean that you should stalk an ex. Better to stay away from that territory, at least on Valentine’s Day. Instead, focus on a relationship with a parent, child, or friend. While part of your recovery is continual work to rebuild trust with those you love, there’s no reason you can’t do something extra on Valentine’s Day.
- Manifest the relationship you want. Begin taking stock of where you are in your relationship status. What went wrong in previous relationships? What will you do differently next time? Spend some time reflecting on what you hope for in a partner and on the kind of partner you hope to be. Decide that instead of spending your time looking for someone who will make you happy, you will focus on becoming the person and potential partner you want to be.
Valentine’s Day can do a number on those who feel left out. Don’t let the holiday take you by surprise. Start planning now what you will do to keep yourself calm, centered, and happy on February 14th. Remember all that you’ve done for your health so far. Continue talking to your sponsor or therapist, continue working on your relationships, and let Valentine’s Day be a reminder to love yourself and show love to those around you.