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5 Worst Gifts for Recovering Alcoholics for the Holidays

by | Last updated Oct 2, 2020 at 1:40PM | Published on Dec 17, 2019 | Sober Living


Come the holiday season. It can be challenging to find a thoughtful gift for someone in your life that’s a recovering alcoholic. Clothes, candies, chocolates, and other traditional gift-ideas are all great choices. However, it would be best if you stayed away from some of the worst gifts for recovering alcoholics.

Now, everyone is different. Some people won’t find these gifts insulting or have an issue receiving some of them for the holidays. If you’re a family member of a recovering alcoholic, think of these gift ideas to celebrate the holidays without triggering their addictions.

1) Recovery Related Literature

After their time in drug rehab and throughout their recovery process, most alcoholics do a lot of reading and self-reflection. Instead of recovery-related literature, consider a personalized journal. Journaling is commonly encouraged during recovery and something that a recovering alcoholic may have already picked up. Even a daily planner to keep track of upcoming meetings and responsibilities is a good idea.

2) Old Pictures

One of the worst gifts for recovering alcoholics are old photos. Most people who struggled with a substance abuse problem didn’t look their best during their addiction. A framed picture of them when they were using might trigger resentment and other feelings that can lead to relapsing — especially during the holidays.

Instead, consider making new memories together. Plan a fantastic experience like hot air ballooning or visiting local tourist attractions. Even if all you can do is attend a yoga class together. If you have the time, consider planning a weekend trip to a nearby town and start creating new – sober – memories together.

3) A Puppy

This can be a great idea, but it can also be one of the worst gifts for recovering alcoholics. For those in early recovery, they’re still trying to understand their new lifestyle and how to care for themselves. A puppy addition can make adjusting to a sober life more challenging and overwhelming.

An excellent way to find out if a puppy can be an appropriate gift is by asking their former therapists or checking in with their AA sponsor. If those who worked with them throughout the recovery process believe they can care for a puppy, you can choose this as a gift.

Instead of a puppy, you can still find an interactive gift. Today, there are millions of virtual pets, virtual games, and other digital gifts you can send someone to help them stay accountable.

4) Large Sums of Money

Please do not give an alcoholic in early-recovery large sums of money. While you might think you’re doing them a service by helping them pay their bills or start saving, money can be overwhelming for recovering alcoholics.

Someone in recovery for alcohol abuse is on a self-discovery journey that involves becoming a worker, being accountable, and managing their finances. If you give them large sums of money, it could trigger old habits and become a setback in their recovery.

Instead of money, find a lovely gift. Ask them about what they need. If they have struggles paying some bills, ask which ones and pay them yourself directly. By eliminating the endless possibilities they have with cash, you are helping them in more ways than you believe.

5) Alcohol Is The Worst Gift For Recovering Alcoholics

Perhaps the absolute worst gifts for recovering alcoholics. Many people don’t think about it, and alcohol is often a last-minute gift. Even if they’ve been sober for decades, don’t bring a bottle of wine to dinner or any holiday party. It would be best if you also thought about other gift ideas that might contain alcohol.

For example, some holiday candy can contain alcohol, even if it’s in small quantities. Some chocolates contain various liquors. These are not appropriate for recovering alcoholics. Additionally, it would help if you also stayed away from non-alcoholic versions of classic cocktails like Margaritas.

Instead, consider bringing other beverages like hot cocoa. Nowadays, you can find adorable hot cocoa gift packages that are an excellent holiday gift.

When it comes to the worst gifts for recovering alcoholics, these make the list. Be mindful of your choices, and remember that everything you do to help them in their recovery journey will always be the greatest gift ever.

Lighthouse Editorial Team

Lighthouse Editorial Team

Our editorial team includes content experts that contribute to Lighthouse Recovery Institute’s blog. Editors and medical experts review our blogs for accuracy and relevance. We consistently monitor the latest research from SAMHSA and NIDA to provide you with the most comprehensive addiction-related content.
Medical Disclaimer:

Lighthouse Recovery Institute aims to improve the quality of life for anyone struggling with substance use or mental health disorder. We provide fact-based content about the nature of behavioral health conditions, treatment options, and their outcomes. The material we publish is researched, cited, edited, and reviewed by licensed medical professionals. The information we provide in our posts is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. It should never be used in place of the advice of your physician or another qualified healthcare provider.

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