10 Great Gifts for Someone in Recovery

Whether it’s a sobriety “birthday,” a regular birthday or you just want to show your support, finding the right present for a newly sober friend can pose a challenge. Many people are used to giving bottles of wine or liquor as gifts — obviously not the best choice for your sober pal. Here are a few ideas I’ve given (and gotten):


“I am not hiding vodka in this mug” coffee cup: This is one of my all-time favorite gifts to give people in recovery. Why do I think it’s so hilarious? Because I actually did hide vodka in mugs, water bottles, my stomach – anywhere I could. And I love using this mug because I’m not hiding vodka in it, or any other cup, these days. That’s something I can certainly raise a glass (mug) to. Vodka mug, $12.99, cafepress.com


10 Great Recovery Gifts
A trial yoga membership: Your friend may already know that staying active will be important for maintaining his or her recovery. Yoga is especially useful because it both strengthens the body and helps to quiet the mind. Studios typically offer trial memberships for a week, two weeks or a month, for all levels from beginner to advanced; many also have classes in meditation. Pick up a trial membership for your friend and offer to come along to get those endorphins flowing together. Prices vary; you can also find deals on sites like Groupon and Amazon Local.


Daily gratitude journal: It can be hard to remember to take time to reflect on the things our recovery has given us. But finding ways to feel grateful is an essential element of a happy, healthy recovery. Writing in this cheerful journal is an easy way to incorporate reflection into your daily routine. The prompts and quotes throughout the lined book help fuel the creative process when you’re stumped for inspiration, too. Gratitude Journal, $14.95, papersource.com




SodaStream Sparkling Water Maker: Bubbly water is a lot more fun with this at-home gadget; use the syrups to create the virgin beverage of your choice, or just make fizzy water without going through endless plastic bottles. Revolution Black Starter Kit, $179.99, sodastreamusa.com


A book you really loved: We all know that the very best gifts are those that mean something to both the giver and the receiver. Here are a few of my favorites, including ones I’ve given to friends in recovery: Wild: From Lost to Found on the Pacific Crest Trail by Cheryl Strayed is a memoir about recovery that isn’t really about recovery. The best-seller is as much about the absolute grief and desperation of recovery of recovery as it is about tackling the Pacific Crest Trail as a solo female hiker.. And while they say laughter is the best medicine, it can be plenty hard to find in the early days of getting sober. Give the gift of Bossypants by Tina Fey, or Me Talk Pretty One Day by David Sedaris, and your friend will be laughing out loud in no time (that’s a promise). Want a dose of recovery with the humor? Try Dry by Augusten Burroughs. All available at indiebound.com and amazon.com; prices vary.



Tea wallet: No matter how limited the beverage options may be, with this handy tea holder your friend won’t be stuck drinking plain water when out and about. Simply tuck a selection of favorite teas in the pouch (my go-to picks are Mighty Leaf’s Green Tea Tropical and Trader Joe’s Harvest Blend) and throw it in a purse or pocket. Yanettine Linen and Cotton Tea Wallet, $19, etsy.com


A guided meditation CD/MP3: Meditation can be a great part of recovery but damn, if it isn’t challenging to actually do sometimes. It often helps to have a little guidance when trying to sit still and calm an overactive mind. Buddhist teacher, author and nun Pema Chodron has a number of audiobooks and guided meditations, but if you’re giving a gift to someone who’s just starting to meditate, I recommend “How to Meditate with Pema Chodron: A Practical Guide to Making Friends with Your Mind$20, soundstrue.com.

The very best way you can show you’ve got the back of someone in recovery doesn’t cost a thing: Sometimes what we need most as newly sober people is just the time, patience and compassion of a friend — someone who will listen and support us as we discover our new, clear-eyed world. The gift of friendship is, after all, priceless.

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2 Responses to 10 Great Gifts for Someone in Recovery

  1. Avatar
    Barbara Cofer Stoefen March 29, 2015 at 10:38 pm #

    What a great topic, Katie, and such wonderful recommendations. I buy my daughter flowers each year on her clean and sober birthday. It’s a ritual and a celebration I likely enjoy as much as she does!

  2. Avatar
    msmacb April 12, 2015 at 11:35 am #

    That’s so sweet, Barbara! I have a friend who buys her brother flowers each year on her sober birthday, as a thank you for helping her get sober 🙂

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