Why Halloween is Tough for Those in Recovery
The month of October can be a difficult one for those in recovery. Between the parties and festivities of Halloween, you may feel anxious about maintaining your sobriety. And while any holiday can be challenging, holidays like Halloween that often involve heavy drinking are especially hard. Peer pressure and fear of missing out can be large factors in slipping up. This applies to either drug or alcohol use.
But it’s possible to not only get through the holiday in one piece but to actually have fun this Halloween. Here are a few tips to staying sober and enjoying your October without the assistance of substances, as well as some of the benefits of being honest about your journey. You may surprised at how many people can relate to your addiction recovery, or how many struggle with similar things.
Between having a solid game plan and confident in yourself, you can have a substance-free Halloween and have fun in the process.
Tips for a Sober Halloween
Plan a Get-Together with Your Recovery Group
Your support recovery group can be a great place to start when it comes to sober Halloween celebrations. Check with them before you make a plan because someone may already have something in the works. Whether it be Alcoholics Anonymous or another recovery support group, they may already have sponsored alcohol-free parties for you to attend.
If your group doesn’t have a plan yet, don’t be afraid to initiate the idea. Send out the invites, organize food and drinks, and choose a venue. It can be as casual or extravagant as you want—you can even make it a costume party! All in all, it’ll be comforting for you and your recovery group to feel safe around others who also don’t drink on Halloween. Especially for those in early recovery, this is a great solution to avoid any relapse temptation. Moreover, you’ll be around those who’ve been in similar situations as you and can sympathize with what you’re going through.
Explore Alternatives to Alcoholic Beverages
So what if you’re not drinking alcohol on Halloween? That doesn’t mean you have to be stuck with a glass of water in your hand all night. With the right amount of creativity and boldness, you can make non-alcoholic drinks some of the most popular at the party. There are plenty of festive mocktails you can make that will make a great contribution to the table. You may be surprised at how many people want to steer clear of alcohol on Halloween, whether they’re in recovery or not. You can start with a simple internet search or go back to classics and innovate from there. Who doesn’t love Grandma’s old-fashioned apple cider with a modern twist?
Organize a Non-Drinking Event with Friends
There are plenty of ways to celebrate Halloween outside of a typical late-night party. Why not switch it up with your friend group and suggest celebrating Halloween by an activity other than throwing a drinking party? Consider organizing an alternative event, such as a game night, or something more interactive that doesn’t require the presence of substance use.
Despite the overuse of the term “peer pressure,” a recent study shows that societal influence from peers continues to play a role in alcohol consumption. Whether you’re early on in your recovery or years into the journey, who we spend our time with still affects us. Social pressures may impact you more than you know, so it’s best to anticipate the temptation and plan for it.
Have an Exit Plan Ready
If you do decide to attend a more typical Halloween party, it’s essential to remember that you never have to stay longer than you want to. Especially if you’re feeling uncomfortable, don’t hesitate to leave early. In fact, prepare a reason beforehand that you need to get home. You can also have a supportive friend or family member call you at a certain time to check in with you. Accountability can be one of your greatest supports in addiction recovery.
If you don’t feel confident in leaving the house, it’s totally okay to stay home this year! Every person’s recovery path toward sobriety looks different. There’s no single “right way” to recover. But on every journey, it helps to make a plan and stick to it. This may be one the best ways to stay sober this October. And of course, you can still have fun, enjoy your Halloween night, and maybe inspire those around you to stay safe.
Have a Plan for Saying “No” to Alcohol
If you are in the early stages of your recovery process, you may have to prepare an answer for every time someone asks you why you’re not drinking at an event. This prepared statement will save you the awkwardness of the moment and keep you emotionally stable when you need it. For some people, say “no” to alcohol is as simple as saying “No thanks, I don’t drink.” But sometimes people will push the issue and ask invasive follow-up questions. This is why it’s important to think of what you want to say in a situation like this, especially if they keep pushing. One example is to say that you’re the designated driver for your friends if they plan on drinking.
How to Be Honest About Your Recovery Journey
You can keep your answer as simple as “no.” But there’s also the option of being forthright with your recovery journey. This is a personal decision, of course. And it may depend on the person who’s asking or the environment you’re in. There is, however, ample evidence to show how being honest and forthcoming about your recovery journey is a healthy decision. For example, one recent study has examined what it’s like to be sober in academia, including the difficult social stigmas that come with it. But the study demonstrated positive outcomes for being open about one’s journey. This includes how it left the door open for others to voice their own struggles.
Wherever you’re at on your recovery journey, there are always more ways to grow and heal. Reach out to a professional at Impact Recovery today to learn more about resources and treatment options for you or a loved one.