Everyone loves Halloween. It’s the one time of year everyone’s encouraged to dress up as someone (or something) else and adopt a scary personality for a day. It’s a lot of fun, but if you’re a recovering addict that can be both good and bad. It can easily lead to temptations that make it very hard to maintain your sobriety. If you’re struggling to stay sober, it’s important to remain rooted to the reality of your situation. Fortunately, you can still have a spooky, sober and fun Halloween with a little planning and creativity.
Control your environment
Put your own mark on Halloween by throwing a party that emphasizes active fun and takes the focus off alcohol and drugs. Controlling your own party environment is a great way to make Halloween work for you. After all, physical spaces influence how we feel, think and act. It can also give like-minded people and close friends a chance to have a good time while supporting your sobriety. A scavenger hunt can be a lot of fun in a graveyard. And the physical activity will take everyone’s mind off substance abuse.
Who said a sober Halloween can’t be scary? Why not spend the evening in a graveyard with your closest friends and find out? Find out if it’s legal to be in a graveyard after sundown in your state (it’s illegal in some places). Aside from being the definitive Halloween setting, a graveyard is a great place to sit around and tell scary stories, play hide and seek, take chalk rubbings of gravestones, or hold a seance. If an evening in an actual graveyard isn’t possible, why not set up your own graveyard…in your backyard. You can buy tombstones at your local party supply stores, along with spray cobwebs, a fog machine and more.
Horror at home
Why not have everyone over for a good old-fashioned sleepover? All the best horror movies are usually queued up for you on TV on Halloween night, not to mention the little (and big) ghouls and goblins who ring your doorbell for goodies. Hold a pumpkin-carving contest and get out everyone’s favorite board games, not to mention that age-old Halloween activity, the ouija board (but beware: staying sober makes the fright all the more intense!).
Help others stay sober
There are a lot of people trying to remain sober, not just on Halloween but throughout the year. Consider volunteering at one of the hundreds of organizations dedicated to providing support to recovering addicts. One of the best things about volunteering to help others is that it takes your mind off your own struggles and reduces temptations that come from introspection. Volunteering will keep you focused on helping others at a time when you may be tempted to give in to self-destructive behaviors.
Plan your strategy
If you’re going to an alcohol-free Halloween party, it’s a good idea to plan out an exit strategy if things get a little too intense. You should also have some idea of what you’ll say to your host and other guests if you need to remove yourself from a difficult situation. For a newly recovering alcoholic, the most difficult question is being asked why you’re not drinking.And be aware that people who aren’t aware of your condition may ask if you’d like to partake. Alcoholics Anonymous points out that there’s never a reason to be nervous about being in a place where alcohol is being used as long as you have a reason for being there, such as a Halloween party with friends. And remember that you can always leave if you need to get away.