Super Gifts for That Sober Someone in Your Life

So, you want to wow your sober friend or loved one with the perfect gift this season. Get some ideas and a few tips on what to consider when shopping for something special!

November 21, 2023
Sober gifts under the Christmas tree

It’s natural to feel a little nervous when you’re trying to do right by a friend or family member who’s gotten sober. As you know, they’re making a lot of changes in life. And on the whole, it’s something you love to see!

But you may worry that you’ll wrong-foot some interaction, that you’ll say or do something that comes off as insensitive or unsupportive of their sobriety, or even stigmatizing or triggering to them.

This kind of doubt can extend to holiday gift-giving. A bottle of wine is no longer in the cards, of course. You may wonder: Does your sober someone still like that author who bangs on about drug- and alcohol-related exploits? Are there substance-use scenes in this or that movie or TV show that will make them uncomfortable?

Our advice: Relax. That sober someone in your life is grateful most of all for your love and friendship, and appreciative that you’re supportive of their life in recovery. There are just a few things you might keep in mind while doing your holiday shopping this year.

A Quick How-To on Giving Gifts to Someone Sober

Well-intentioned friends, family and sober allies may fret that they have to learn new rules for navigating interactions with someone sober — things that used to seem simple. Some things have changed, sure, but the truth is that all that stuff is still simple. The key is openness and honest communication.

If you’re wondering whether certain books, movies or video games might be triggering, well, just ask your sober loved one. And even if you wrap up a gift that falls flat — we know, it’s hard for some of you to let go of gag gifts — people who are comfortable in their sobriety can handle it. Most likely, if you’re close, you’ve tackled some far more intense and difficult conversations together already.

You can also rest assured that someone in recovery either has, or is learning, the tools to deal with situations that make them uneasy, stressed or triggered. A healthy recovery includes the knowledge that the person can’t control the world around them, only their own actions and reactions. So, good news: A well-meaning gift that flops is pretty low on the list of things your sober someone is concerned about.

You Want To Give the Perfect Gift. Some Ideas!

Nonetheless. You don’t want to give a gift that flops! You want to knock it out of the park. We know, because you love that sober someone in your life, and also because you’re reading this article. So let’s dive into some ideas.

For the most part, giving to that sober someone in your life is not so different from giving gifts to anyone else. The key, as always, is to listen to that person when they talk about where they’re at in their lives and the things that they’re into. It’s how you put some personalized magic on a gift to anyone.

Books are great sober gifts

For your sober someone, that personalized gift can have a “sober” twist if you like. They’ll likely appreciate that you took their recovery into consideration, and you’ll likely be getting them that rarest sort of gift: something they can actually use!

  • A sober cookbook or fine nonalcoholic treats: Is cooking a hobby for your loved one? Is eating? Find a cookbook that features alcohol-free recipes or a mixology section with instructions for crafting nonalcoholic cocktails. Or pick up a bottle of a craft “zero proof” drink, if you know the person enjoys these. You can also find high-end non-alc versions of traditionally alcoholic foods and ingredients like bitters and vanilla extract.
  • A voucher for sober travel: There are now a number of companies focusing on sober travel packages and tours, and spots tend to fill up quickly! These companies may offer gift vouchers you can give the intrepid sober traveler in your life. Or you could give a gift card for a flight- or hotel-booking service so your sober someone can make their own itinerary.
  • Recovery reading and quit lit: There’s a ton of great books about sobriety out there. Some are self-help books for maintaining a healthy recovery, some are memoirs, some are accessible reading on more niche topics like neuroscience or addiction history. Movies, documentaries, podcasts, TV shows and art about recovery are also excellent choices.
  • Gym, fitness, yoga or dance classes or coupons: If, like many in recovery, your sober someone is getting more into exercise or other physical activities, you can’t miss with something like this.
  • Gift card for a favorite restaurant: Or better yet, one you want to take them to. People in recovery value their loved ones and supporters above most everything else. Think about gift ideas for things you can do together, as partners, siblings, parent-child or friends. Being present is, well … a present.
  • All Sober swag! We might humbly suggest your sober someone would look stunning in a new “Sex, Drugs, Rock & Roll” hoodie or “Recovery Is Possible” tee. You would too! Luckily, we made some. Check out our All Swag shop, now open.

You’re probably thinking, “Most of these are awesome gifts I could give anyone.” Indeed, you’re onto something ….

Remember That Recovery Isn’t the Entire Identity of Your Sober Someone

Many people in recovery are happy to discuss their sobriety and engage their family and friends about it openly, but others prefer to keep it more to themselves.

If your sober someone mentions this after you give them a sober-themed gift, it’s perfectly fine to simply say that you were unaware of their wishes and move on. Don’t take it personally; they’re just being open and honest, which is an important part of their sobriety. On the whole, you surely agree things are better now that 1) they are sober, and 2) you have a relationship where they’re able to communicate their feelings to you honestly.

All that aside, of course, sober people have many interests, talents and hobbies that aren’t strictly recovery-related. So feel free to get creative in your gift-giving!

The Greatest Gift of All

If you’re close to someone in recovery, you probably know very well that addiction doesn’t just affect the individual; it affects everyone around them too.

But so does recovery. Your relationship with your sober someone will continue to get stronger, and we know you want to understand how you can be the best sober supporter possible.

Gift-giving is a lovely ritual during the most wonderful time of the year. But being an encouraging, loving, compassionate presence in your sober someone’s life is the greatest gift you can give, all year long.

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