5 Best Addiction Recovery Gifts For a Drug User

As the holidays get closer, many of us are wondering what to buy for those loved ones in our lives who may be former or current drug users?  Asking what they want can be problematic, because the gifts they ask for may be related to their addiction, or even make their addiction worse. And if they ask outright for something directly related to their addiction, such as money, drugs, or drug paraphernalia, it could lead to conflict, at a time when you want to strengthen, not weaken, your relationship.

If you are hoping to find something that might help with recovery from an addiction, but still be a welcome gift, this is the article for you. Here are the five best addiction recovery gifts for a drug user that won't worsen their habit.

Share an Experience

A couple in a hot air balloon
Sharing a novel sensory experience is a great gift for a drug user. Ken Fisher/ Getty Images

Although each person who uses, or is addicted to drugs, is an individual, so it is hard to generalize, many people who use drugs actively seek out sensory experiences and social contact through their drug use. Sharing an experience can be a meaningful way of spending time with someone who uses drugs, without reinforcing their addiction. On the contrary, a different kind of experience might just open them up to life having more to offer. It could be something outlandish, such as a flight in a hot air balloon -- the ultimate high -- or something as simple as a meal in a restaurant that is pleasant, accepting and provides an experimental sensory experience, such as a raw food cafe or one that features live music. Stay away from places that serve alcohol.

Financial Gifts That Can't Be Used for Drugs

Hero Images/Hero Images/Getty Images

Although cash often equates to drugs for those addicted, you can give money, in forms that are a step removed from a drug deal, so it may not be worth the hassle of your friend or loved one trying to convert it to cash in order to buy drugs. Good examples are gift certificates, particularly for items you know they need. You can also pay for something that can't be cashed in, but might enhance their quality of life, such as health insurance, a magazine subscription, or a continuing education program.

Gadget or Nick Nack Unrelated to Drugs

Hands working on a puzzle cube
A fun gift for a drug user is a cool puzzle cube. Glow Images / Getty Images

One of the big attractions of drug use is having something to do with your hands. There is often a procedure, even a ritual associated with drug use, that can leave idle hands uncomfortable when abstinent. Little gadgets such as a small, handheld fidget, spinner, stress ball or musical instrument fulfill a similar need. A small puzzle such as a Rubik's Cube can also fulfill this need. This is a great option if you don't have or want to spend a lot of cash, but still want to give an enjoyable gift.

Media Showing the Realities of Recovery

Movie poster for It's All Gone Pete Tong
It's All Gone Pete Tong. Sony Pictures Home Entertainment

Drug users are often fascinated by the lives of other drug users, especially if the person is using the same drug they are hooked on. While some books and movies make inappropriate gifts by reinforcing the excitement of drug use, some do a great job of illustrating the recovery process, showing people can come out the other side. Some examples are Boy George's autobiography -- he took ecstasy and LSD and later heroin, but became abstinent as he matured; the movie, "It's All Gone Pete Tong," is funny and deep, gets across the sinister side of cocaine addiction, without being preachy, or cocaine being the focal point of the movie; and Eminem's "Recovery" album. The following are movies about drugs, but be careful to watch them in full before deciding whether or not they sent the right message to your loved one.

Read Five Acid Movies

Read Five Heroin Movies

Read Five Cocaine Movies

Read Five Ecstasy Movies

Realistic Self Help Resources -- If They Want to Quit or Cut Down

Cover of the book Controlling Your Drinking
Controlling Your Drinking is an excellent self help book. Guilford Publishers

If your drug addicted friend or loved one is interested in self-help approaches to recovery, a carefully chosen gift might spur them on to try to get clean or work on improving their lifestyle more generally. Particularly helpful are approaches to achieving the goals of drug use without drugs. "The Natural Mind" by Dr. Andrew Weil, and "Free Rides: How to Get High Without Drugs," by Douglas Rushkoff and Patrick Wells are good examples. Controlling Your Drinking by William Miller and Ricardo Munoz is a great self-help book for cutting down on alcohol. However, take care that the book actually fits their goals, otherwise, they might feel judged and that you were pushing your own agenda, rather than giving a genuine gift.

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