Sobriety Milestone Gifts

Being around the recovery world for a long time and having seen parents with their recovering children, provides glimpses into what types of gifts to give and what not to give when kids pass important sobriety milestones. Typically, sharing the household with a young addict/alcoholic is tumultuous and many parents have used gifts as a way to quell their guilt, lure their kids into recovery or just simply as a way to distract themselves from the elephant in the room – addiction.

Many young adults have wrecked cars, incurred financial debt and just plain wreaked havoc in the lives of others as well as their own lives. Also, it might be that the young adult has been on the receiving end of brutal behavior by an adult or other authority figure, is experiencing trauma and did no damage to anyone else, yet was still addicted to substances. Although each case is assuredly unique, where recovery is concerned, it’s always best to start out slow in all regards. This is especially true when giving gifts for 30, 60, 90 days, 6 and 9 months plus years of sober time.

A young adult doesn’t need, nor will they truly appreciate a brand new car for achieving 3 months of sobriety. There are just some gifts that are inappropriate in the initial stages of recovery…a new computer – no…iPad – not so much…cell phone with all the bells and whistles – don’t think so…new Rolex watch – not such a great idea. These are things a young person (adults too!) will appreciate much more if they are the ones who earn the money to pay for them. Plus, there are no guarantees in sobriety and some people will try a few times before it sticks. Keep the bar at a realistic level and give them the opportunity to experience a sense of love through giving. This is a spiritual program and it’s befitting that the gifts reflect that symbolism.

Here are some recovery gift ideas for parents. Specific 12 step items can be be found at one of the 12 step stores mentioned at the bottom of this article or at an online store of your choosing:

  • Cards – Recovery 12 step shops everywhere had a large assortment of touching and humorous cards.
  • Chips – Always a great item to have in a pocket or purse as a reminder of recovery.
  • Plants – Plants signify growth and rebirth. A small plant in a nice pot would make someone in recovery happy as they watch the progress it makes along side theirs.
  • Plant a tree in your child’s name.
  • Books – There are a slew of fabulous books to support recovery: A New Pair of Glasses by Chuck C., One Day At a Time and Twenty four Hours a Day reflection books and more.
  • Buy a star and name it after your son or daughter.
  • Speaker Tapes – Does your child live in an area where speaker meetings are few-and-far-between? There are great AA speaker tapes available at bigger meetings in the Los Angeles area and at some 12 step recovery stores.
  • Gift cards – Starbucks is good because most “soberites” love their coffee. Movie cards are great too!
  • Personalized coffee cups are fantastic gifts and they will see good use.
  • Sobriety jewelry – 12 step stores will have necklaces, rings, key-chains, all with the amount of time inscribed on them. ETSY – the online jewelry site has some of the most unique pieces I have found. https://www.etsy.com/market/recovery_gifts
  • Make a donation to a charity in your child’s name.

Local 12 Step Shops, in Los Angeles, CA:

Twelve N’ Twelve

12118 Santa Monica Bl, West Los Angeles 90025


Be sure to call ahead for hours as she keeps unusual ones!

Easy Does It – Books and Gifts

3517 E. Broadway, Long Beach, CA 90803


The Latest Thing

1576 Newport Blvd. Costa Mesa, CA 92627


My 12 Step Store in West Hollywood

8730 – B Santa Monica Bl. 90069 310.623.1702


The Serenity Shop

4740 Clairemont Mesa Blvd, San Diego, CA 92117


It’s always a good idea to run ideas for gifts by someone in recovery before purchasing them. As parents our focus has been to nurture, handle problems, put out fires, etc. and we need support in learning how to establish new ways of healthy behavior.

Last Updated on May 24, 2022


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