Hand of an anonymous woman holding a Christmas present, a close up.

If you find yourself struggling with what to get your loved one in recovery, you’re not alone.

Recovering from an addiction is likely one of the hardest things your loved one will ever go through. Addiction dramatically alters the chemicals in a person’s brain, destroys their mental health and physical health and can lead to countless repercussions in their relationships.

Hitting a milestone in their recovery, whether it be one full day or a one-year anniversary, is a huge accomplishment. Recognizing and celebrating this accomplishment with them is one of the best ways you can support a loved one in recovery and encourage them to keep going.

Today we’re going to share with you the seven best sobriety gift ideas for your loved one, as well as three gifts you should never give someone in recovery.

What are the best sobriety gift ideas?

1. A personalized gift

Jewelry, watches, keychains, wallets and more can all be engraved to be more personal. Some examples of personalization include an anniversary sobriety date, a phrase or design that represents a certain memory or inside joke, or a simple inspiring phrase, such as, “It’s a good day to have a good day,” “I can and I will” or “Small progress is still progress.”

2. A diffuser and essential oils

All of us can struggle with stress and anxiety, and those going through recovery are no different. Essential oils are concentrated plant extracts that when inhaled (either through diffusing, steaming, direct smelling or skin application), stimulate certain receptors in the brain that chemically ease symptoms of stress and anxiety. Some of the best oils for this are lavender, jasmine, chamomile and rose.

3. Gift certificate for a spa day

There are many different kinds of spas out there, ranging from the more cosmetic-oriented (hair care, manicures, pedicures) to those designed to rejuvenate you (Himalayan salt rooms, lymphatic drainage massages, seaweed body wraps). Depending on what your loved one enjoys and what they’ll be comfortable with, this can be a great way to give them a “day off.”

4. Something they need

Don’t underestimate the power of giving someone a practical gift that they want or need, but maybe can’t afford at the moment or just haven’t yet bought. Consider offering to pay one of their bills (in a way that doesn’t diminish their capability), giving them a gift card to their favorite home decor store or replacing a practical item (such as a microwave).

5. Make something yourself

If you have the gift of writing, consider writing a longer, heartfelt letter to your loved one. If you have the gift of drawing or painting, you can create a piece of art for them. Perhaps you love to bake or cook, in which case you can prepare some sort of delicious meal or dessert. Gifts that are homemade can be especially meaningful, and often hold a special place in the hearts of those on the receiving end.

What gifts should you avoid?

Even the most well-intentioned people can miss the mark. These are three gift categories you should avoid dipping into when searching for the perfect gift for your loved one in recovery.

1. Alcohol-themed gifts

While it should be obvious that providing someone recovering from alcohol use disorder with an alcoholic gift is a big no-no, we’re also talking about gag gifts here. Plenty of marketers have attempted to create funny, alcohol-themed gifts for people who are sober (such as cards, plaques and more), but it’s not what someone in recovery needs.

2. Gifts that refer to them as an “addict”

“Addict” only refers to someone who is actively addicted to drugs or alcohol. Using that terminology to label a person who is no longer fueling an addiction is not only disrespectful to how far they’ve come in their journey but harmful to their progress because it keeps the addiction at the forefront of their mind.

3. Money

Some people might think they’re doing their loved one a favor by surprising them with a large check (maybe to help them pay their bills or start saving money), but it can be a risky gift. Those who are in recovery are still relearning how to have and manage money, and sudden large sums of money could potentially overwhelm them, trigger old habits or lead to a setback.

Instead of money, you can either ask to pay one of their bills directly or provide them with a gift they might want but maybe can’t afford right now — a quality coffee maker or a nice set of headphones.