Making connections through gift giving
There’s a long history of people getting stumped over gift ideas – hence Dad’s new tie every Christmas. People have attempted to thwart the problem of disconnected gift giving with gift cards. However, if we want to really highlight a connection, a bit of extra effort can pay off in making a deeper impression.
When we have a friend in recovery from addiction, the bond includes a sharing of our common hope and gratitude, our strengths and vulnerabilities. When it’s time for a gift, we want to convey something personal, a message of how much we care. Here is a list of recovery gift ideas that provide a possibility of more thoughtful giving during The Holidays:
Top 7 gifts for people in recovery
1. A book
A book is always a great idea for a recovery gift. Is there a novel that swept you away, or made you laugh, or both? Is there a book on meditation, or philosophy, that helped you grow spiritually? How about a biography of someone so interesting that your life was enriched by the reading? Sharing the experience of reading is a very personal gift.
Music comes in a close second. Whether it’s Bach or Lady Gaga, Lightning Hopkins or Herbie Hancock, music reaches us at a depth that is a joy to share.However, if your friend is twice your age, your favorite heavy-metal band might not be his cup of tea, so be considerate in your selection. The finding of common ground in musical tastes can be a gift in itself, and a new arena for sharing.
Tickets to an event can be another way of sharing something that inspired you. Whether it’s a play, a film, a lecture, or a museum exhibit, this gift says “I loved this and think you will too.” It’s also a more heartfelt gift because you’re giving the gift of an experience.
4. A token item
Don’t forget that it’s okay to give a small token as a recovery gift. This says “I’m thinking of you, and even though I’m broke it was important to me that I give you something.” A token gift can be a gag gift, a coffee mug with a recovery motto on it, or a pair of warm socks—it doesn’t really matter as long as it’s from you. A budget-friendly token gift can also be treated with respect and consideration by having it wrapped nicely or with specialty paper.
5. A donation
You can always share the gift of giving by donating to a charitable cause or organization in your recipient’s name. This works well even if you’re on a budget, because $10 to an organization will make more of a difference than $10 on a gag gift.
6. Recovery literature subscriptions
This list would be sadly incomplete without suggesting a subscription to the AA Grapevine. The Grapevine is AA’s “meeting in print,” with stories submitted by AA members, along with letters, jokes and a page on the latest research into alcoholism. Sharing the Grapevine can be a lifesaver. There are stories of people traveling who, nerves frayed and unable to find a meeting, found a story in the Grapevine that reminded them of their recovery and reconnected them, possibly even saving them from the disaster of a drink.
7. Your presence (not your presents)
Finally, give the gift of yourself, in the best sense of the word. Your time and presence are worth more than any material gift ideas. You can offer comfort, laughs, understanding and sympathy that are priceless and can only come, uniquely, from you.