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christmas gifts for recovering alcoholics

Best Christmas Gifts For Recovering Alcoholics

Ulrike Graziani
December 12, 2022

Every year we the same question comes around...

What Christmas gifts can I buy for my loved one, my friend, my family, my partner, my son or daughter my best mate?

The giving season while exciting and full of fun, can also be a bit stressful.

Somehow, while you are thinking and planning what to buy for people around you, it somehow manages to become an ordeal.

If you know someone who has recently decided to stop drinking, or has just completed a residential rehab program for their addiction, it can be difficult to know what is an appropriate gift for them now.....

A bottle of exclusive wine, a vintage scotch or original vodka from Russia were all obvious choices before your friend entered recovery...

It can be difficult to know how to best support your friend during their journey, especially around the holidays.

While getting them a perfect gift may seem like a small thing, it can actually be a really meaningful way to show that you care. Here are a few tips for picking out the perfect Christmas present and gift ideas for your loved one in recovery.

what to buy someone in recovery

Think About Their Interests

One of the best ways to pick out a Christmas gift for your friend is to think about their interests. Try to avoid giving gift cards or cash.

  • What are their hobbies?
    Chances are, there’s a gift out there that they would absolutely love but might not think to get for themselves.
    For example, if they love gardening you could get them a new set of gardening tools or some pretty flowers to plant. Or, if they’re into cooking you can get them a new cookbook or some fun kitchen gadgets.
    The key is to find gifts that they’ll appreciate and that will give them more depth to celebrate their new sobriety.
  • Consider their sobriety journey
    Another great way to pick out a Christmas gift for your friend in recovery is to consider their sobriety journey.
  • What has helped them stay sober throughout the year?
  • What are their challenges?
    Consider a gift that will help them with their sobriety, like a journal or a meditation app subscription. You could get them something that will help them relax and de-stress, like a massage or a spa visit. A gift to help them on their journey towards recovery and forget about the substance or drug that was a big part of their life, will find a warm place in their heart.
  • What do they need?
    Sometimes the best gifts are the ones that are practical and useful. If you’re not sure what your friend in recovery might need or want, you can always fall back on getting them practical gifts like a gift card. However, if you want to put a little more thought into it, you could also get them a nice coffee mug or water bottle to help with those morning caffeine cravings, or an ergonomic mouse to help with working from home, or even just some cosy pajamas to help them relax after a long day.

Picking out the perfect Christmas gifts for someone in recovery doesn't have to be difficult.

Think about their interests, consider their sobriety journey, and get them something they need. With these guidelines in mind, you're sure to find the perfect present that shows how much you care about your friend and their recovery journey.

Many people in recovery are used to reading a lot. Addiction, drugs, behavior, relapse prevention, and spirituality are all good subjects for your loved one in recovery.

Lets start with some ideas for a book.

Gift Ideas For Someone In Recovery


mark manson book

The Subtle Art of Not giving a F (Mark Manson)

Mark Manson is an American author and blogger. As of 2022 he has authored or co-authored four books, three of which were New York Times bestsellers.

His most famous, "The Subtle Art of Not Giving a Fuck", gives a dose of inspired perspective on personal development. It is philosophic, but easy to understand and follow.

Manson asserts that thing such as material possessions or other people's opinions matter very little. He teaches us to care more about priorities that do matter, like relationships and being happy.

Read people like a book (Patrick King)

Patrick King is a bestselling author and coach for social skills.

His book teaches us how to analyze and understand people's emotions, intentions, behaviors and thoughts.

In recovery it helps you to see other persons' behaviors clearly and understand the meaning or reasons behind it.

It is about reading people's body language, learning their true intentions, and their motivations so that you can foster deeper understanding and relationships.

Books about Buddhism

To start a new sober life often means a spiritual path. Spirituality is often essential for your peace of mind, freedom, and happiness.

You can gift a gratitude journal which your friend can use daily, or a self-reflection book, or a sobriety journal.

Sometimes it is difficult to find the spiritual path for newly recovering addicts and or someone who is has ongoing private alcohol counselling sessions. Buddhism is one path where many people, especially in the western world, don't often have mental or emotional blocks.

Building A Collection

In recovery we learn that addiction disorder is a disease of "I can't stop". Whatever we do, it must be finished. Obsession is part of addiction. So what about helping your loved ones to collect new and exciting things?

Collecting things can be a fun and rewarding hobby for people of all ages. Whether you're interested in collecting coins, stamps, or more unique items, there are many different things you can collect.

Not only is collecting a great way to pass the day, but it can also be a great conversation starter.

There is something therapeutic about taking your loved one to slowly browse through items and find the perfect addition to the collection. Searching for that one exclusive item can be a fun challenge, and the sense of accomplishment you feel when you finally find it is unbeatable.

Collecting provides a great opportunity to bond with others who share your passion.

What's more, collections can be excellent conversation starters when meeting new friends Whether you're at a party or networking event, talking about your collection is an easy way to break the ice and strike up a conversation.

Bonding and connection is an important part of recovery.

gift ideas for addicts

Sporting & Wellness Activities

Physical health in recovery is important. Keeping your body in shape is satisfying. It increases self-esteem, which is oftentimes lacking in early recovery.

Addicts and alcoholics in active use often neglect their body, so getting back into shape is a healthy habit to accompany their new journey.

The sport doesn't have to be stressful. You can buy him a course of golf. Or what about water sports? Diving, swimming, cycling, and running are all good ways to rebuild and destress.

Pets & Animal Care

Pets and animals are our best friends. And often mores in recovery. Maybe your friend is finds snakes beautiful, owls, peaceful, cats, fun, chickens, intelligent, or dogs, loving.

Maybe your friend has already a pet. How about a course that teaches tricks to dogs, or how to build an home for other animals, such as cats.

Hopefully your friend is not in love with white tigers or elephants - then you might be in a little trouble with your gifts.

Online Courses & Education

Your friend in recovery might be sitting at home more than usual, letting their brain heal, perhaps still a bit shy or ashamed. How about an online course to learn something new?

This could be a new language, a course will help them professionally, a cooking course, or a class on how to write a book.

Adventure & Holiday Planning

An adventure day pass is a perfect gift for someone who loves to experience new things sober.

It's also a great way to show support for your friend's sobriety journey by spending time together doing something fun and new.

A skydive, a walk through the jungle or forest, climbing on a mountain with a superb picnic at the river, or riding a horse at the beach, are all adventurous ideas.

Rafting on a river, driving a car through the snow or on the sand, hiking up and downhill, are all fun for someone in recovery learning to experience their new life.

Adventure trips with a person in recovery also help distract them from drugs and alcohol. It helps teach them responsibility, self-care, and excitement in a healthy atmosphere.

For Europeans, one of the best organizations for adventure trips is Jochen Schweizer.

Check it out or

former alcoholic gift ideas

Your Companionship & Time

You have gone through the list and still saying "there is nothing".

Maybe all the suggestions so far are too extravagant, strange, not available, too expensive, or too extreme.

A wonderful gift for your loved one is to offer him a day just with you. Simply talking, listening, or sitting silently watching nature.

Sober company can be the greatest gift for a person in early recovery. You provide support and accountability during the transition from addiction treatment back to everyday life.

Start the Day with a Relaxing Breakfast

Starting the day with a nutritious and relaxing quality breakfast can set the tone for the entire day. Make sure to include plenty of fruits and vegetables, as well as protein-rich foods like eggs or tofu. If your loved one enjoys coffee, try making them a cup with some soothing spices like cinnamon or nutmeg. Breakfast is the perfect hour to catch up and chat with your friend.

Get Moving with Some Gentle Exercise

After breakfast, it's time to get moving and get some fresh air!

Exercise is a great way to boost energy levels and improve mood. But if your friend is not used to exercising, it's important to start slowly. Going for a walk or doing some gentle yoga poses are great options.

If your friend feels up for it, you can even turn it into a fun competition by seeing who can do more yoga poses or walk further!

Indulge in Some Pampering

After all that exercise, your loved one deserves some pampering!

A relaxing massage, a manicure or pedicure, a foot massage or a visit to the hairdresser are all good ideas for self-care.

If you don't have time for a professional spa treatment, no worries - you can easily give a massage at home using some essential oils. It's a fun way to relax and bond with every person in recovery.

Finish Off with a fantastic dinner

End the day on a high note with a healthy dinner together.

You can either cook at home or go out to eat at a restaurant. If you're cooking at home, try making something light like grilled fish or vegetable stir-fry. And if you go out to eat, look for restaurants that have healthy options like salads or soup. Whatever you do, make sure to avoid any trigger foods that might tempt your friend to drink alcohol or use drugs again.

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A sober companion can be a great asset for someone in early recovery. Travel is a Christmas gift which gives joy, adventure, and fun to everyone involved.

A day trip, weekend trip, or holiday at a beautiful beach are all possible options. Exploring a new town, enjoying the nature, relaxing at the sauna, and eating different foods are all ways to travel, even with a small budget these activities are all possible.

Pick your destination

When it comes to choosing a sober vacation destination, there are endless possibilities. That said, some places are better suited for those in recovery than others.

For example, beach towns like Sayulita, Mexico or Laguna Beach, California offer plenty of opportunities for sun and fun without the temptation of alcohol. If you're looking for something a bit more urban, try New York City or London. Both have vibrant nightlife scenes that don't revolve around drinking.

Regardless of where you go, make sure to do your research ahead of time so you know what kind of environment you'll be walking into.

Plan ahead

Once you've picked your destination, it's time to start planning!

In addition to booking your flights and accommodations, think about what activities you'll want to do while you're there. If you're going to a beach town, research restaurants and bars that are sober-friendly so you can have a game plan for nights when you want to go out.

The same goes for cities. Look up sober events happening during your trip and buy tickets in advance. Planning ahead will help reduce stress and anxiety during your vacation so you can relax and enjoy yourself with your friend.

Pack accordingly

This may seem like an obvious one, but it's worth mentioning nonetheless.

Make sure to pack any medications or supplements helpful to sobriety. This may include things like vitamins B and D. You should also pack snacks and plenty of water so you can avoid getting hungry.

Maybe also pack some little toys (more gifts) like a stress ball, a mini Rubik's cube, handheld gadgets or a fidget spinner, to keep the hands occupied. A person going through withdrawal feels uncomfortable if their hands are idle as using disorder normally needs the use of hands.

And last but not least, don't forget to pack your sense of adventure for the right season! Sobriety is an opportunity to explore the world in new and exciting ways, so make the most of it and celebrate together!

Wrapping Up

People in recovery now have more time than they did when they were drinking or using drugs.

They now discover and experience feelings that they didn't know existed or that they have been burying for years.

Your gift ideas should be different than a bunch of flowers or a nice fancy shirt, perfume or jewelry.

Your Christmas present should be more personalized, something they can work with, think about and keep their mind and body busy.

It is so thoughtful of you to be reading this and thinking about your friend in recovery. How lucky they are to have you in their life!

Article written by Ulrike Graziani
Originally from Austria, Ulrike Graziani had an exciting career as an investigative journalist and documentary maker, now retired in Thailand and in alcohol recovery.
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