Birthday gift for a 19yo just out of rehab?
November 13, 2007 8:18 PM   Subscribe

PostRehabFilter: A family member is getting out of rehab tomorrow and his birthday is on Thursday (turning 19). He will be returning to rehab after the holidays for a longer stay (starts last week in December) but until then he will be at home, attending NA meetings and seeing his counselor. He'll have A LOT of free time, but will be pretty much confined to the house. He is very artistic, extremely musically gifted and likes history and science. What should we get him for his birthday???

We were initially going to get him the Harry Potter 1-7 box set but found out he's read them already... My next thought was some sort of DVD series. I was originally thinking something relating to music (he seems to be into anything between 1950 and now) but my sister reminded me that there might be drug references in that sort of thing. Other options are history/science related DVD box sets.

Does anyone have any suggestions for gifts that would keep him occupied, not make him think about drugs and fit the interests I noted above? Maybe something completely different even? My budget is $100 but if you have a good suggestion that cost more please post them anyway so I can pass the ideas on to family members with deeper pockets.

posted by hummercash to Human Relations (18 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
Best answer: I think he needs something more hands on and productive to do than sit on his butt watching videos. Do you have an art league in your area where he could take a short term ceramics class or art class? Welding? Stained Glass? Sculpture? Or, how about asking if he would like to volunteer at an animal shelter for a short time? Not as his birthday gift, but a purposeful chore to do on his free time since it sounds like he has a lot of it. Taking care of animals is therapeutic and animals are very accepting and non-judgemental and he might find that a nice respite after doing NA and seeing a counselor. Animal shelters always need dog walkers and people to socialize the cats and he would be welcomed with open arms. He is young and he needs to feel some sort of sense of accomplishment or purpose. Good luck!
posted by 45moore45 at 8:25 PM on November 13, 2007

A musical instrument. A mandolin, maybe. Or a lap steel. Something unexpected that he doesn't know how to play yet, or that he wants to learn to play better.
posted by The World Famous at 8:27 PM on November 13, 2007

I mean my first thought would be some sort of musical instrument (guitar?) and then lessons 2 or 3 times a week until he goes back. If he had lessons a few times a week he'd have some pretty constant encouragement and probably pretty regular assignments to keep him busy. I realize this is over $100 but might be something multiple could go in on.

I also wouldn't worry too much about the drug references, he's 19 and a recovering addict, I'm guessing he's already heard and seen anything you might throw at him.
posted by whoaali at 8:27 PM on November 13, 2007

Best answer: Combining music and science, and if he likes to read, how about This Is Your Brain On Music?

Accessories for his instrument of choice, or maybe a brand new instrument to play?
posted by infinityjinx at 8:30 PM on November 13, 2007

Creative stuff, definitely. Something he's always wanted to try but hasn't, or something he used to enjoy and misses. I can't see how an art kit or an instrument could go wrong, here.
posted by cmyk at 8:39 PM on November 13, 2007

Response by poster: great suggestions so far, keep'em coming.

and with regards to music lessons... thats pretty much what he did for the past 3 years instead of going to school. lots and lots of music lessons. chances are, his parents have something along those lines lined up for him already.
posted by hummercash at 8:41 PM on November 13, 2007

Is he familiar with GarageBand (or, back in my day, Vegas) or it's ilk? imacs aren't too expensive, nor is an entry-level PC, if they aren't already available. Ask him if he's most familiar with a particular program, or if he prefers a particular program, first, though.

Perhaps an opportunity to put those lessons to practical use.
posted by porpoise at 8:59 PM on November 13, 2007

Response by poster: a lot of the lessons he took were Logic Pro related... he has Logic Studio now but hasn't had a chance to use it yet.
posted by hummercash at 9:03 PM on November 13, 2007

seconding an unusual instrument. banjo?
posted by Pants! at 9:06 PM on November 13, 2007

Well.. if you are still considering the sitting on his butt watching videos option I have several people in my family that are getting the Planet Earth DVD set this Christmas. It's likely the most amazing TV I've seen in my life. Personally I think anyone who hasn't seen it should. (I'd say go with David Attenborough.)
posted by Wood at 9:14 PM on November 13, 2007

Banjo, Ukulele, Banjo-Ukulele, or an M-Audio MIDI Keyboard. I'd say that the last option is the best, given some experience with Logic Studio.
posted by tmcw at 9:42 PM on November 13, 2007

Response by poster: yah Wood, that was one of the options (the BBC version, not the Discovery) but something like that NEEDS to be on Bluray or HDDVD. I can't bring myself to buy a standard def version of that, heh.
posted by hummercash at 9:43 PM on November 13, 2007

A Playstation Portable or Nintendo DS, maybe with one of the new brain-exercising games like Brain Age. Keep the mind and reflexes active.
posted by ikkyu2 at 9:58 PM on November 13, 2007

I would hold up on the animals for a minute, unless you're cool taking over caring for them in the event that he relapses. Which is not to say I'm fatalistic about his chances for sucessful recovery, I'm being realistic about the fact that a lot of people don't make it the first time around.

I mean, you can't really go wrong, except if you were to buy him The Corner on DVD or maybe the collected works of William Burroughs or something.
posted by The Straightener at 5:17 AM on November 14, 2007

I like the portable game player idea or something instrument related. Speaking as someone with a family member recently out of rehab, busy is good and I am sure some of the things he used to do and the people he used to do them with are off limits, even if they weren't directly drug related. Helping find him a new hobby is a great idea.
posted by domino at 6:35 AM on November 14, 2007

Best answer: A build-it-yourself theremin kit.
posted by Sara Anne at 7:40 AM on November 14, 2007 [1 favorite]

Seconding 45moore45, especially the "hands on" part. Most druggies are stuck on ritualistic little activities--chopping lines, cleaning buds, cooking shots, whatever--and glowing screens/printed pages aren't much of a replacement. Something musical sounds like the way to go. Or some paper and a good origami book.
posted by generalist at 7:43 AM on November 14, 2007

paint set. oils are expensive, but maybe water colors or even acrylics? maybe don't get canvases if he's just beginning, but good quality water color paper if you choose the water colors would be nice. or at least a good sketch pad and some pastels.
posted by buka at 9:29 AM on November 14, 2007

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