For people in recovery from substance abuse, holidays can be some of the hardest times. That’s because culture dictates that holidays are times to cut loose and let alcohol and other substances become focal points. Holidays like Halloween are big party nights, and as someone struggling with recovery you may not know how to have a good time with your friends and family without participating in destructive behavior. Here are some tips.
Make a plan for temptations
Probably the best way to go into Halloween night with sobriety on your mind is to prepare - both mentally and logistically. You need to have a plan for how you will deal with temptations. Practice what you will say to friends who offer you a drink. Your friends may know that you’re in recovery and you don’t necessarily expect them to pressure you, but you need to be ready. As DrugRehab.org points out, some people can become belligerent and forceful about drinking. Ready an excuse or reason for if and when you need to leave, as you may have to make a quick exit if your urges become too strong. You don’t have to lie, but you can make things less awkward for you and your friends if you say something like I’m tired and have to work in the morning or I really need to go check on my dog, for example.
Always have a (non-alcoholic) drink in your hand
The best guard against being offered a drink (or worse, pressured) is to have a drink in your hand. Serve yourself. Always have a club soda, water, or juice in a cup in your hand. This will thwart overzealous partygoers.
Don’t limit yourself because you’re not drinking
Crazy, off-the-wall, spontaneous behavior is not only for those using substances. Let loose. Don’t be limited by your sobriety. Sing, dance, participate in games, and be involved. Once you start having fun sober, you will take your mind off the need to drink.
Being a sober friend along
The friend doesn’t have to be in recovery as well, it can be a friend who drinks but decides to take the night off. But having another sober person at a Halloween party can really make you feel more comfortable. If you can’t find a friend to physically go with you, TheRecoveryBook.com suggests scheduling video chat or FaceTime with a sober buddy throughout the evening and of course, always have your sponsor on speed dial.
Avoid the party altogether
For many in recovery, the best way to stay sober is to avoid situations where alcohol is present altogether. You don’t have to go to the wild Halloween party to have fun. You can host a sober party at your own home, or simply invite a few close friends and family over for a themed dinner. Dressing up in costume and handing out candy to trick-or-treaters is also a good way to enjoy the Halloween evening. If you really want to try something new, try heading out of town for a quick vacation during Halloween.
A major part of your recovery path is being able to deal with holidays and events that are culturally-focused on intoxicating substances. Another major part is learning how to have fun without substances. Halloween presents a good opportunity for you to learn how to prepare and execute a sobriety plan. Go into it with a plan, take a friend, deflect peer pressure, and try to put yourself in situations where you can be successful.
Photo Credit: Pixabay.com