7 Gifts for a Recovering Loved One

gifts for a recovering loved one

Whether it be for a birthday, Christmas, or to show your recovering loved one that you care, they’ll be a time when you want to give a loved one who is recovering from a drug or alcohol addiction a gift. No matter what stage of their recovery journey your loved one is at, gifts can help show them that you are thinking of them, looking out for their best interests, and supporting their journey.

However, finding gifts for a loved one recovering from a drug or alcohol addiction can be tricky. Family and friends are often wary of giving gifts as they don’t want to give their loved ones something that could potentially trigger a craving or relapse. It can also be challenging to know what your loved one would like as their ‘perfect gift’ as beating an addiction requires change, and their preferences may have shifted since they’ve started their recovery process.

But don’t worry, help is at hand, as here are our top seven gifts for a recovering loved one.

1. Your Time and Support

Before we get into specific gift suggestions, it’s important to stress that, no matter how you choose to express it, your care and support are the most important gifts you can give to your recovering loved one.

The gift of your time and support will also directly strengthen your loved one’s recovery. It will help them grow their self-esteem and confidence while helping them avoid social isolation, which is a common relapse trigger. In addition, your support will also help develop your loved one’s sense of community, which the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) have identified as one of the four major dimensions that support recovery.

 2. A Shared Experience

A shared experience is a great gift idea for a loved one who has completed the residential treatment phase in their recovery. A shared experience can be a great way to reward your loved one for their hard work battling their addiction and to spend meaningful time together. Your experience gift could also help show your recovering loved one that you are proud of them and appreciate the journey they are on.

Shared experiences may take a bit of thinking and planning but will undoubtedly be appreciated by your recovering loved one. However, when planning the shared experience, it’s essential to avoid anything that may be a trigger for your recovering loved one, which can cause your loved one to crave drugs or alcohol. Triggers can include external triggers such as places, objects, situations, their pre-recovery routine or people, and internal triggers such as boredom, low mood, anxiety, or feeling lonely. Avoiding triggers is a key element of the preparation, action, and maintenance stages of change that your loved one will be going through as they overcome their addiction.

However, there are plenty of shared experiences that you could plan for your recovering loved one that easily avoids their triggers. For example, why not think about any local attractions you can visit? Or, perhaps, there is a one-in-a-lifetime experience your loved one has always wanted to try. Your shared experience can be as extravagant as a skydiving experience, luxury hotel stay, spa day, or as simple as a road trip to a nearby park or beach.

Your shared experience gift for your recovering loved one will enable you to make new memories together and provide a topic for conversation that isn’t linked to their recovery journey, show them that living free of their addiction can be fun, and help demonstrate how different experiences can be exciting and rewarding without drugs or alcohol.  A shared experience can also help you rebuild your relationship with your loved one.

Why not explore how Summit Detox can help you rebuild your relationship through their expert support?

3. A Fidget Spinner or Gadget

A small ‘fidget’ item or gadget, such as a stress ball, fidget spinner, fidget cube, or even a small puzzle, could make a great and inexpensive gift for your recovering loved one.

This is because those recovering from drug or alcohol misuse often experience withdrawal effects, which can sometimes make them have difficulties keeping their hands still or feel uneasy when they aren’t doing something with their hands. This difficulty can be caused by many things, including the withdrawal effects of stopping their drug or alcohol use. Therefore, your gift of a fidget toy could help distract your loved ones and keep their hands busy, making their recovery process more comfortable. Another key way to help your loved one manage the withdrawal effects is by ensuring they start their recovery journey in an expert treatment center.

Explore how Summit Detox elevated level of care can help your loved one manage their withdrawal symptoms?

4. A Journal

A beautiful journal can be an excellent gift for your recovering loved one that could also directly help their recovery.

Your loved one’s recovery is likely to be an emotional process filled with positive and negative feelings. It’s vital that your recovering loved one can both share these feelings with others, such as the expert staff at Summit Detox, while also being able to reflect and process these feelings themselves, and this is where a journal can help, and it can be particularly helpful in the contemplation, preparation, action and maintenance stages of change.

A journal gift is a great way to encourage journaling which can allow your loved one to record and express their joys, sorrows, and frustrations with no pressure or judgment. Journalling is also an excellent way for your loved ones to develop important self-reflection skills, and research shows that self-reflection is a highly modifiable factor that can significantly contribute to an addict’s recovery.1

5. Something Sporty

A gift that is related to sport or physical activity could be the perfect gift for your recovering loved one.

Your physical activity or sport-related gift could also help your loved one in their recovery, as physical activity and exercise have been proven by research to impact the outcomes of people recovering from an addiction significantly. A separate research study also found that taking part in exercise while recovering from an addiction helped create positive habits and increase confidence and body image while decreasing stress and anxiety levels.2,3

6. Hobby Supplies

During their residential treatment, your loved one may have thrown themselves into a new hobby. Hobbies are great for helping people in recovery stay busy and filling the chasm they may feel drugs or alcohol may have left behind while assisting them in creating a sense of purpose. A hobby is also an excellent way for your recovering loved one to find enjoyment and pleasure and escape boredom and can be key to helping them when they are in the action and maintenance stages of change.

This new hobby could be a great source of ideas for the perfect gift for your recovering loved one. For example, if they have taken up an art activity during their treatment, you could get the supplies so they can keep engaged in this activity at home. On the other hand, if your loved one hasn’t established a new hobby, why not talk to them about what they’d like to get into and focus your gift around this?

7. A Book or Movie

People battling drug or alcohol addiction are often intrigued by the lives of others who have been in their situation and recovered. This can give them hope by seeing how someone else has successfully conquered the same battles they are facing.

If your recovering loved one enjoys reading or watching movies, some books and movies do a great job illustrating the recovery process and showing how people have emerged triumphant from their recovery. A few examples include:

  • Boy George’s autobiography, in which he talks about how he took ecstasy and LSD and later heroin but became abstinent as he matured, and how his life has been so much better since he conquered his addiction.
  • “It’s All Gone Pete Tong” is a great movie that is funny while being deep and illustrating the negatives of cocaine use and the many positives of recovering without preaching or making cocaine the movie’s central focus.
  • A Million Little Pieces by James Frey outline’s the author’s inspirational journey from addict to a world-famous author.

Hopefully, you’ve now got some great ideas for gifts for your recovering loved ones, no matter what stage of their recovery journey they are at. Your gift help remind your loved one that they are cherished and supported throughout the stages of change in their recovery journey.  Gifts from loved ones perfectly complement the expert support and guidance offered at residential centers such as Summit Detox.

Contact us today to explore how Summit Detox can help your loved one on their recovery journey.


1 Yang, J., & Kim, S. (2021). Factors affecting alcohol abstinence intentions of inpatients with alcohol use disorder. Journal of Psychosocial Nursing and Mental Health Services, 59(12), 23–32. https://doi.org/10.3928/02793695-20210819-05

2  Patterson, M. S., Spadine, M. N., Graves Boswell, T., Prochnow, T., Amo, C., Francis, A. N., Russell, A. M., & Heinrich, K. M. (2022). Exercise in the treatment of addiction: A systematic literature review. Health Education & Behavior: The Official Publication of the Society for Public Health Education, 10901981221090156. https://doi.org/10.1177/10901981221090155

3  Fitzgerald, C. M. (2017). Capitalising upon the Physical: Exercise and addiction recovery. University of Sheffield. https://etheses.whiterose.ac.uk/19316/

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