Posted by Steps to Recovery on February 14, 2013 – Happy Valentine’s Day to the recovery community!

Valentine’s Day. Everyone wants to be someone’s Valentine. It feels so good to be loved and desired, adored. And most people feel that Valentine’s Day is a glaring representation of  adoration in our society. But what happens when you are in early recovery and shouldn’t be dating or in a relationship, or you simply don’t have a significant other?

Be your own Valentine.

We all know that relationships aren’t a good idea in early recovery. In fact, my recovery program made all of the women who wanted to do recovery there sign a contract stating that while they were doing the 2 year apprenticeship, we would abstain from relationships, dating and sex. It is THAT important to avoid putting yourself in that situation when you are doing such important and delicate work.

Why aren’t relationships a good idea in early recovery? There are a number of reasons, and the one I find the most important is that relationships are the number one excuse for relapse. Things happen in relationships, emotions are on overdrive, and this can be a breeding ground for a relapse.

Another good reason to avoid relationships in early recovery is that you need to focus all of your attention and energy on healing yourself and dealing with the internal conflict that fuels your addiction. You can’t give yourself the attention you so desperately need if you are focusing on nurturing someone else and cultivating a relationship.

One more reason to avoid relationships in early recovery is that you are just learning the tools you need to navigate the hardships life throws your way. You are still developing the coping skills necessary to deal with the triggers that WILL arise in a relationship. Give yourself time to get the best start you possibly can!

So, how can you feel loved and valued on Valentine’s Day? How can you be your own Valentine? Here are a few suggestions to get you started.

1) Silence your inner oppressor just for one day. Longer if you can! But promise yourself just this one day without any negative self talk. It’s a great start.

2) Do self care. Cook yourself a beautiful meal, eat ice cream in a bubble bath, meditate with candles and soft music that helps you feel held and nurtured.

3) Spend the day with your recovery community. Give and receive lots of hugs. Give people genuine compliments, what you see as beautiful and valuable in them is just a mirror of yourself.

4) Love yourself unconditionally. If you have a hard time doing that or if you start to hear that critical voice coming into your thoughts, start reciting affirmations to bring you back into your heart. I am lovable. I am whole. I am beautiful. I am special. I am perfect. I am worthy. Whatever comes to mind that you would like to hear someone else tell you, say it to yourself! And really work hard to MEAN IT. It might feel awkward at first but it will fall into place, and it will help you feel better so keep trying.

These are just a few suggestions I have found helpful in making myself my own Valentine. Because loving yourself is the best gift you can receive. Don’t get me wrong, it’s always nice to get chocolates and a beautiful bouquet, but who needs a bunch of processed sugar and flowers that are just going to die eventually anyways when you have self love?

How will you love yourself on Valentine’s Day?