Our Guide to Ridiculous Recovery Gifts

By Jack Ferver 03/21/11

Wondering what to give your sponsor on her golden anniversary? May we suggest a scarlet pair of sober undies or a lifelike Bill W. bobblehead?

Bill W. Bobblehead (left), My 12 Step Store Panties (right) Photos: Courtesy BillBobblehead.com; my12stepstore.com

Twelve-step stores abound, both online and off, and there are shopping and gift-giving options for literally everyone besides your pals in Debtors Anonymous. While you can always Lindsay Lohan it with a pair of sassy underpants or give someone a sex addict warning T-shirt -- either because they need it or that’s just your idea of a fun joke -- there are plenty of other possibilities. Herewith, a few of our favorites:

The Bill W. Bobblehead: What better way is there to commemorate the pioneering man than with a bobblehead figurine? Tacky, you say? Well, Jesus has one. When troubles arise, you can always lightly tap Bill’s head and, as it bobbles, maybe a truth about the road being trudged will come to mind. Or maybe you’ll just be able to laugh at it all.

Recovery Jewelry: If you want to wear your sobriety on your sleeve – or ear or neck – there’s a vast array to choose from. Consider the "Sober Brat" necklace or the  Al-Anon pendant, earring or ring (a great gift for yourself in case you need reminding who comes first).  But our favorite might be the “Clean and Crazy” charm.

Recovery Body Jewelry: If precious metal doesn’t do the trick, rest assured that there’s a belly button ring for everything. Our personal favorite is the Narcotics Anonymous initials. Made of sterling silver and roughly two inches long, it’s the ultimate hardcore accessory. And can Mom really bitch about this navel piercing if it celebrates your new sober life?

Cocaine Anonymous Doggie T-Shirts: This is, arguably, just more punishment for the Fido you neglected during your time using but it could also be a good daily reminder that crack is whack and generally makes for bad puppy parenting. They come in various sizes (though they run small so get the size larger than your dog regularly wears) and all shapes can be outfitted -- from your neurotic Chihuahua to your protective Pincher. And if your pet doesn’t like it, maybe you can re-gift it at a baby shower?

Medallion Wall Clock: One day at a time is clearly illustrated in this clock that would be the perfect gift for your sponsor’s 12-year anniversary if only because you will undoubtedly be the only one to give it, casting you in the favorite sponsee role (competition is a great way to stay sober). Potential added bonus: get out of having to do your daily 10th steps for a while.

Journal (Black Apple Series): Why not get your incredibly depressed friend an incredibly depressing journal? On the front of a black book is a picture of girl with runny mascara who’s staring bleakly out at you while wearing a t-shirt that says “SHE’S LOST CONTROL.” Since those in recovery should have gallows humor in spades, this could be the best gift to give that sober sister going through a terrible time.

Snow Globe: Just what it sounds like, this snow globe manages to house your most recent anniversary coin, making it the ideal gift for the snow globe enthusiast in your life (surely you have one?) You’ll earn extra points for creativity and sheer randomness in your gift selecting ability. Warning: may not be the best present for a former cokehead.

Unique Sober Christmas Ornament: You know when you are in a meeting and you hear a share that is just so insane that it makes you feel giddy and grateful that you’re at least more stable than the person speaking? Well this ornament is a bit like that. It obviously took someone a very long time to carefully sew these beads into that plaque. And just like the intricacies of the share from the crazy person who only got called on because she’s sitting in the front row, this ornament is also obsessive, detailed, and rather terrifying. Perfect for Christmas (or Kwanza)!

Jack Ferver is a writer, performance creator, and teacher living in New York City. His work has been written about in The New York Times, The Financial Times, Time Out, The New York Post, The Village Voice, Artforum, and Modern Painters

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Jack Ferver is a writer, performance creator, and teacher living in New York City. His work has been written about in The New York Times, The Financial Times, Time Out, The New York Post, The Village Voice, Artforum, and Modern Painters. He also wrote about ridiculous recovery gifts for The Fix. Follow Jack on Twitter.