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What To Give Someone in Sobriety

Published:
January 23, 2024
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17 min read
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January 23, 2024
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Certified recovery coach specialized in helping everyone redefine their relationship with alcohol. His approach in coaching focuses on habit formation and addressing the stress in our lives.
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Gifting Guide: Everything You Need To Know About Celebrating Sobriety

  • Celebrating sobriety encourages your loved one to stay the course, but finding the right gift can sometimes leave you empty handed.
  • There are numerous alcohol-free gift ideas to help celebrate sobriety and show a sober friend your support.
  • Reframe offers gift ideas that can help you understand how to best celebrate sobriety to keep on the right track.

Sobriety is a significant milestone in alcohol addiction recovery, one that deserves celebration. Whether it’s someone’s first day, first year, or first decade in sobriety, sober gifts to honor the occasion can be just the encouragement someone may need to keep going. Recovering from alcohol addiction is no easy feat. While you may want to show your support for such a noteworthy landmark, choosing the right gift may prove to be a challenge. 

It’s no secret that many people turn to a case of local craft beers or a fancy bottle of wine for easy gift ideas, but for your sober friends, this just isn’t an option. Similarly, many parties often include boozy drinks and a toast to honor the occasion. Fortunately, there are plenty of thoughtful sobriety gift ideas and celebrations that help to acknowledge someone’s efforts, alcohol-free.

Let’s take a deeper dive into things to keep in mind when choosing a gift and explore a range of gift ideas to help you show support for your sober friends.

Things To Consider When Choosing a Gift for Sober Friends

Before getting into our top picks for sobriety gift ideas, it’s important to gain a better understanding of what makes a quality sobriety gift. Here are some things to keep in mind when choosing a sober gift.

Personality

While personality is important to take into account for any gift, it can be even more important when considering sobriety gift ideas. Some people may not want to publicly announce their recovery milestones or sobriety. Knowing the person’s likes or dislikes can help you respect their boundaries and celebrate in a way that they find comfortable. For example, you may be planning a grand party to celebrate their sobriety, but a more private person may find this inappropriate or triggering. Make sure to take into account what the person is comfortable with, and if you’re unsure, it never hurts to ask.

Interests

Taking a closer look at the person’s interests can help you choose a more personalized and thoughtful gift. While there are plenty of sobriety gift ideas that can be beneficial for anyone, a sober gift that aligns with the person’s interests can help them feel heard and more supported. They will also be more likely to use the gift as support on their continuing sobriety trek. For homebodies, crochet kits or cookbooks may be a more useful distraction. For people who like to stay active, a gym membership or camping trip may be more suitable. As a loved one searching for the right sobriety gift, keeping in mind a person’s interest can make the difference in providing the motivation that someone needs in recovery.

Triggers

There are general triggers for anyone going through recovery from alcohol addiction, but being aware of personal triggers can help ensure the gift does not provoke a negative reaction or temptation to relapse. General triggers typically include alcohol or alcohol-related gifts (this sounds obvious, but you’d be surprised). Other personal triggers include certain environments, specific people, or negatively associated events. As you most likely know the person best, be sure to keep their triggers in mind when browsing for a gift for your sober friend. 

Stage in Sobriety

Sobriety is often thought of as a spectrum, but in this case, we’ll discuss it as abstinence from alcohol. While there are no established phases post-abstinence as there are in recovery, some notable periods include post-acute withdrawal, repair, and growth. Different stages come with their own set of challenges.

Someone who is newly sober may benefit from support that is completely different from what someone years into sobriety may need. Understanding which phase of sobriety a person is in can help you choose a gift that best supports their current needs. These small nuances set apart a good sobriety gift from a great one, which can make all the difference to someone in recovery who needs a reminder to keep pushing through.

Gift Ideas To Celebrate Sobriety

Now, let’s explore some of the best sobriety gift ideas to help you show a loved one how much you care. 

Time

The gift of time is a priceless present, especially for someone who may be trying to get their life back on track. Time is a great gift for anyone, but it can be especially helpful as a gift for sober friends in earlier stages of sobriety. They may not have as much energy to complete everyday tasks due to withdrawal symptoms or seeking new employment or education opportunities after finding sobriety, so crossing a few things off their list of everyday tasks can be extremely significant in their recovery. 

Need some ideas related to the gift of time? Try a meal preparation subscription, cleaning service, or scheduled grocery deliveries. You can also offer your own time to them for tasks such as babysitting, running errands, or cooking. Offering your time is a considerate gift and can be great for those who may not have a lot to spend on a physical present or to buy someone else’s service.

Experiences

While physical sober gifts are great, experiences can often be the gifts that keep on giving. Participating in a class or activity can be a healthy distraction for someone in sobriety and can help them re-develop their hobbies and interests. Activities are also a great way to spend quality time with your sober friends and show your support for them by being there. There are infinite choices when it comes to activities and experiences. No matter what a person’s interest may be, there are alcohol-free activities that will make for a perfect sobriety gift.

Activity-based sobriety gift ideas can be personalized to fit a person’s interests. For example, someone who loves spending time outdoors may enjoy being invited out for a day of hiking. For people who enjoy cooking, a weekly cooking class could be a great gift. Participating in an experience with a sober friend can help them feel less isolated during a tough time.

Self Exploration

Many people find that they lose their interests and who they truly are when falling into alcohol misuse, due to depression and other symptoms. A sobriety gift that can help a loved one find their interests again can help them stay on the right path by focusing their attention on positive activities. A wide range of gifts for sober friends can help someone rediscover who they are and what they enjoy doing. 

Some sobriety gift ideas in this category include books, journals, or personalized mementos. Books can be entertainment or self-help tools that can help them learn positive skills and coping mechanisms. Journals are a great way for someone to express their emotions and serve as a reminder of how far they have come. Personalized sober gifts can remind them of their achievements and motivate them to continue. Equipment for a new hobby can help them get started in an activity they may not otherwise look into.

Helpful Distractions

Healthy distractions are a great way to help someone in recovery refrain from stepping back into old habits. Distractions can range from activities and entertainment to smaller, tangible items that they can use for immediate relief. 

Some sobriety gift ideas that serve as helpful distractions in recovery include movies, subscriptions to a streaming service, puzzles, and gift cards to a self-care treatment. These gift ideas can help a sober friend stay busy and spend less time thinking about harmful habits or uncomfortable feelings that sobriety may bring. Smaller, immediate distraction tools can help to relieve sudden anxiety or temptations. Gift ideas for more tangible items include fidget toys, small gadgets, rings, or keychains that they can have access easily. While these may seem small, these distractions can be significant in helping a sober friend refrain from engaging in old habits.

Celebrations in Sobriety

It’s a common stumbling block for people in recovery: many celebrations, holidays, and parties include alcohol. But there are plentiful ways to plan celebrations even in sobriety. Whether you’re celebrating a sobriety milestone or planning a birthday or holiday party with and for sober friends, a wide range of activities make for booze-free fun

A special occasion does not need alcohol! Some sober birthday ideas include going on a picnic, planning a scavenger hunt, bowling, taking a road trip, having a spa day, or signing up for your favorite workout class to celebrate a special day without even the thought of alcohol.

Another notable sobriety event is throwing a sobriety party. A sobriety party is similar to an anniversary, but in this case, it’s to recognize the amount of time someone has been sober. This is a great way to commemorate a person’s achievement and gather their circle of support to show them some love. 

Sobriety Cake Ideas

A key aspect of a sobriety celebration is a sobriety cake — a fun, whimsical treat that recognizes a person’s accomplishments. As the sobriety cake is typically the focal point of a sobriety party, the message on the cake is one you won’t want to mess up. 

While personalization will always depend on the celebrant, some common messages are popular for good reason. Some favored sobriety cake ideas include the Alcoholics Anonymous Chip with the anniversary number the person is celebrating and “Happy Soberversary.” Some more humorous sobriety cake messages include a picture of the iconic bald mascot “Mr. Clean” and “Sober AF.” Make sure to respect the person’s boundaries and their sense of humor.

Gifts Ideas To Avoid for Sober Friends

There are no definitive sobriety gifts to completely avoid; however, there are some that are more sensitive that may not be appropriate for everyone.

Alcohol-related Gifts

  • Gag gifts that revolve around alcohol may be funny, but they may not be for everyone.
  • Mocktails/zero-proof alcohol can be a great way for sober friends to join in on having a fun drink without any negative effects. For some people, however, the direct similarity to alcohol can be a trigger.

Addiction-specific gifts

  • Addiction-specific gifts can be helpful to some to remind them of what they overcame. For others, it can be isolating and negatively associated as a label of who they once were.

Personal triggers

  • These vary from person to person, so it’s important to identify what this may be for your sober friend. When in doubt, leave it out! The wrong gift can do more hard than good.

Tying It All Together

Finding a thoughtful gift to celebrate a momentous occasion can be overwhelming at first. But now that you have a long list of quality options, you can rest assured that your sobriety gift is sure to warm the heart!

Summary FAQs

1. Are there specific symbols and colors that honor sobriety?

While there is no specific universal symbol of sobriety, a common one is the Alcoholics Anonymous triangle emblem that symbolizes recovery, unity, and service. It is typically accompanied by the number that represents the amount of time the person has been sober. Similarly, there is no specific color for sobriety, but common colors to recognize achievement are silver and gold.

2. What is the significance of a sobriety gift?

A good sobriety gift can help your sober friends feel supported and cared for. Recovering from addiction is a challenging journey that can be made easier with support and motivation from loved ones.

3. What are some tangible ways to celebrate sobriety?

Personalized sobriety mementos and sobriety cakes can be a great physical reminder of how far someone has come. Give the gift of encouragement and recognition with these sober gifts.

4. What are the most important things to consider when choosing a sobriety gift?

Personality, interests, and triggers are important factors to keep in mind when choosing a sobriety gift. These considerations can ensure that your gift is thoughtful, respects a person’s boundaries, and honors their achievement without potentially provoking a relapse or negative actions.

5. What are other ways that you can support someone in sobriety?

Gifts for sober friends and celebrations are a great way to show someone you care, but providing support in other ways can help a loved one navigate lows they may be experiencing in their sobriety journey. Ask them what they need and create a safe space to express their thoughts and feelings. Support is a crucial aspect in helping someone persevere on their sobriety journey.

Want To Support a Friend in Sobriety? Reframe Can Help!

Although it isn’t a treatment for alcohol use disorder (AUD), the Reframe app can help you cut back on drinking gradually, with the science-backed knowledge to empower you 100% of the way. Our proven program has helped millions of people around the world drink less and live more. And we want to help you get there, too!

The Reframe app equips you with the knowledge and skills you need to not only survive drinking less, but to thrive while you navigate the journey. Our daily research-backed readings teach you the neuroscience of alcohol, and our in-app Toolkit provides the resources and activities you need to navigate each challenge.

You’ll meet millions of fellow Reframers in our 24/7 Forum chat and daily Zoom check-in meetings. Receive encouragement from people worldwide who know exactly what you’re going through! You’ll also have the opportunity to connect with our licensed Reframe coaches for more personalized guidance.

Plus, we’re always introducing new features to optimize your in-app experience. We recently launched our in-app chatbot, Melody, powered by the world’s most powerful AI technology. Melody is here to help as you adjust to a life with less (or no) alcohol. 

And that’s not all! Every month, we launch fun challenges, like Dry/Damp January, Mental Health May, and Outdoorsy June. You won’t want to miss out on the chance to participate alongside fellow Reframers (or solo if that’s more your thing!).

The Reframe app is free for 7 days, so you don’t have anything to lose by trying it. Are you ready to feel empowered and discover life beyond alcohol? Then download our app through the App Store or Google Play today!

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