The Christmas season and New Year’s celebrations can be a very difficult time for people in addiction recovery; there are many potential triggers for addiction that can occur throughout the festive season. 

If you have friend, family member, or co-worker that is in addiction recovery, you may be thinking of what kind of gift to buy them that is respectful of their recovery and is less likely to trigger a relapse.

Here are a few gift ideas for someone in addiction recovery

A Journal or Diary

As part of the recovery process, many former addicts keep a journal to help express their feelings, relieve stress, and identify and avoid triggers for addiction. Writing in a journal can be a powerful therapy, helping former addicts stay focussed on their recovery and helping their mental wellbeing. Gifting someone in addiction recovery a journal can be a thoughtful gesture of support for their recovery journey.

An experience day, trip, or voucher

Especially during the early stages of recovery, many former addicts crave strong sensory experiences to replace rush they received during their substance abuse. A thoughtful gift of an experience day such as a bungee jump, sky diving, white water rafting, or a day on a race track can help remind them that you don’t need drugs or alcohol to enjoy life. Or, if you wanted to avoid more extreme adventures, you could gift them other strong sensory experiences such as a meal, a camping trip, a live music concert, or a hot air balloon ride. One thing to bear in mind with these, however, is that if you are aware of the potential triggers of the person you’re buying for, be sensitive of them when choosing the experience.

A Spa Day

Like the above, a spa day makes a great gift for many people in active recovery. It allows them to relax and destress whilst also enjoying the sensory experience of spa treatments like massages, steam rooms, or a dip in a jacuzzi. Some people in addiction recovery can suffer from health issues relating to their addiction and a trip to a spa can often help alleviate symptoms. Just be careful of the spa package that you purchase as many spas offer deals that come with a free glass or bottle of alcohol, which may not be suitable. You can always speak with the venue when purchasing the gift and come to an addiction recovery sensitive compromise.


Books are always a good gift for anybody for any occasion, let’s be honest. You could gift self-help books, books on recovery, books on mindfulness, books on positive thinking, or buy them a book from their favourite author, on their favourite subject, or within their favourite genre. The best thing is, books can be taken anywhere, and they are affordable too, so they make a great secret santa gift or for those on a budget. Just be mindful of the content of a book before you gift it to anyone in addiction recovery. While a book about addiction recovery can be useful to some, others may find it a difficult subject to engage in or find it embarrassing to be gifted a book on the subject, especially if they are opening the present in front of other people.

A gift relating to their hobbies or interests

Many people going through addiction recovery are encouraged to take up or engage in hobbies that interest and excite them as it can help relieve stress, keep them busy, and eliminate boredom and restlessness. Whether your friend, family member, or co-worker likes to paint, play the guitar, sew, cook, or takes part in martial arts, gifting them something relating to their hobbies or interests will show support and thoughtfulness. It is also far more likely to be used and enjoyed rather than discarded along with all the other “novelty” gifts many people receive at Christmas.

Gadgets, fidget toys, and other small knickknacks

As the saying goes “idle hands are the devil’s workshop.” Many people in addiction recovery suffer from withdrawals not just from the substances they used but also from the behavioural aspects associated with their addiction. These behaviours can make some recovering addicts uncomfortable when their hands are idle. A gift of a fidget toy (such as a fidget spinner or fidget cube), a stress ball, or a small puzzle like a Rubik’s cube can help keep their hands busy. These are usually cheap and affordable too, so they make great gifts for a secret santa or when there is a small budget. Another great gift idea to keep hands busy is a musical instrument or other hobby items that require the use of their hands like painting tools or cross stitch kits.

Support, love, and time spent with a loved one

Sometimes, the best gift you could ever give someone recovering from addiction is your love, support, and your time. Telling them how proud you are of how far they’ve come and offering up your time to spend doing something they love can mean more to them than anything wrapped in paper. 

However you choose to show your support and whatever you gift that special someone on their recovery journey, just be mindful of their specific triggers and feelings, and most of all, show them that you care.

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