5 Gifts Not to Get a Recovering Alcoholic for the Holidays!

5 Gifts Not to Get a Recovering Alcoholic for the Holidays!


Avoid These Gifts for a Recovering Alcoholic!

Okay, this should be obvious and I shouldn’t have to say it, but I do. This list does not apply to all alcoholics. This list is not based on any scientific fact. It’s based on my life and my experiences. These are my best teachers and have helped me get four years sober.

avoid these gifts for a recovering alcoholic

The holiday season presents some very unusual experiences and brings out some very unusual people we usually don’t associate with and that, three hundred and sixty-four days of the year, we don’t get gifts from.

Now, we’re all different. We’ve found sobriety and many of the wackos we call family haven’t changed. Their gift giving skills haven’t improved. So, if you’re a family member of an alcoholic and you happen to stumble across this article, please know that I’m an alcoholic and please don’t give me, or any other alcoholic, the following gifts.

5) Recovery Related Literature

Ok, so not everyone in your 300+ extended family knows your loved one is an alcoholic. When you’re all decked out in your Christmas sweaters and flannel pajamas is not the time to declare Jimmy’s an alcoholic!

When he opens a book called “How to Stay Sober for Dummies” you, the gift giver, will be the only one of those 300 who doesn’t feel awkward. Your loved one, or secret alcoholic Santa, will receive all the recovery literature they need, it just shouldn’t come from you.

Alternatively, a personalized journal where they can write down all of their thought is a – pun intended – thoughtful gift. 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!

4) Pictures From the “Dark Days”

If you know your son struggled with cocaine, giving him a cute picture from when he weighed forty-five pounds is not a good idea. A picture of him at a family function with a bottle raised in the air is not a good idea. His eyes may look so blue and beautiful, but don’t do it! Now is not the time to make a point!

Instead, consider a share experience instead. Think hot air ballooning or sky diving. Maybe even a trip to a local tourist attraction. This will help give your loved one something to do other than drink and you both can create new, sober memories. Consider including a dispoable camera in the gift so that you can take new photos to capture the new memories.

3) A Puppy

This can be a great idea, just make sure that your recovering honey is in a position to care for others.

A good way to find this out indirectly is to ask if they’re sponsoring people in AA. If so, they’re putting others before themselves as a way of staying sober. A puppy will strengthen this, help them stay accountable, and help them keep to a schedule. If they’re in early-recovery, the puppy may take time away from them working on themselves or the puppy may be neglected for their program.

If they are not in a position to care for a puppy, there are lots of other gifts that can help keep your loved one busy and entertained. Gadgets such as a rubix cube or fidget spinners are perfect! 

2) Large Sums of Money

Please do not give an alcoholic in early-recovery large sums of money!

They have to work for this. They have to sweat for this. They have to live in a way that promotes the forward progress of their life. If you step in and hand them a large sum of money, it may throw the brakes on their self-discovery. They may revert back to the life of a taker instead of a worker.

My recovery was forged with a bike and a sponsor. So, a good rule of thumb is that if the sum of money exceeds that of a bike and a sponsor, don’t give it to the one you love in early-recovery!

A sponsor costs $0. A bike isn’t too expensive either.

Also, if you plan on giving any money at all, consider a gift card instead of cash. Gift cards for groceries or clothing are always something that someone could use.

1) Alcohol


There are plenty of liquids you can get a recovering alcoholic that aren’t alcohol. Essiential oils, a hot cocoa kit, and delcious coffee ground are just a few things that come to mind.

Now that you know what not to get a recovering alcoholic for the holidays, learn what TO get them!

If you beleive your loved one is an alocholic who needs treatment or has recently relapsed, then call Lighthouse Recovery today. Their recovery is one of the best gifts that you can give each other!

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