Halloween doesn’t have to be scary if you’re in recovery
Halloween can be a frightening time for those in addiction recovery. With adult festivities, there tends to be a focus on drinking, so it’s a good idea to have a plan to protect yourself from temptation.
Knowing what to expect before you go to a party will help you get ready to say no. If you know alcohol will be served at a party, either don’t go or talk to the host in advance and let them know you’ll be abstaining. Take a friend with you who understands and respects what you’re going through. One trick to ward off uncomfortable conversation is to have a non-alcoholic drink in your hand. Put a stirrer and a cherry in it and it looks just like a mixed drink. People who don’t know you won’t know that it’s just club soda or cola, and it’s not really their business. When they offer you a drink, you’ve already got one, thanks.
Have a prepared and practiced exit statement before you go, too. “I’m sorry, but I’ve got to leave now. No, I can’t stay longer.” If you want, make up an excuse, such as you have to relieve the babysitter or dog sitter, or that you have another party to attend. Nobody need know that you’re struggling to stay away from your addictive triggers. If anyone tries too hard to get you to imbibe, just leave as fast as you can. Don’t let anyone else hold back your progress.
Find a new way to have fun
Look online to find a sober Halloween party in your area. Others in recovery want to have fun, too, so there might be a party set up for people going through the same thing you are. Not sure what else to do? Here are some great suggestions:
- Try going for a hike. Many places and groups host Halloween night hikes, where you can enjoy nature while howling at the moon. The exercise will be good for you, too.
- If you don’t go to any parties, there are still ways to enjoy the holiday sober. You can have your own sober party. Serve alcohol-free drinks and play games. If the weather is nice, have a fire in a backyard fire pit and roast hot dogs and marshmallows, and tell ghost stories.
- Host a Halloween movie night, and screen scary movies. Have a movie trivia contest or have a movie scavenger hunt. Find obscure items or references in the movies for your friends to spot. If you or your guests don’t like to be scared, you can show Halloween spoofs for a good chuckle.
- Many movie theaters show Halloween-themed movies this time of year, so go see them with a friend, or even alone.
- You can stay home and hand out candy to trick-or-treaters. Wear a costume and decorate your home, giving little goblins their candy and enjoying their fun costumes. Or volunteer at a homeless shelter’s kids’ party. Doing something to help others will help you get out of your own head.
Of course, if you’re really struggling during the holiday, go to a meeting. Call your sponsor if needed, and get to a support group. Having others around you who know your struggle will help bolster your sobriety and remind you of why you’re doing this in the first place.
Maintaining sobriety amid revelers can be very challenging, but completely worth it. Don’t let one holiday turn back the hard work you’ve done. Remember: If you slip up, it’s OK. Just get back to a meeting and get started again. Every step forward is an important one.