Tips to Enjoy Halloween During Recovery

Cooler weather is here and Halloween is around the corner. Though this year may be very different from Halloween’s past, it can still be a tough one to get through for those who struggle with drug and/or alcohol addiction or those in recovery, it can be a difficult time. Temptations can be overwhelming, especially if they attend a gathering where drugs or alcohol are present. There can also be situations that can trigger the need to use. It’s important to have a safety plan in place. 

Possible Holiday Triggers

The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) suggests there are several triggers associated with trauma, such as certain songs, scents and rituals.. Holidays, in general, can be stressful with an increased pressure of family obligations or the opposite and a person doesn’t have family and/or friends to spend time with during this time of year. There are triggers everywhere, big and small, and avoiding them can be difficult. Take time to reflect and figure out what your triggers may be. Knowing what they are is a big step to staying sober on Halloween. 

Tips and Tricks to Staying Sober During Halloween

According to the National Alliance on Mental Health (NAMI), creating a plan can help keep you and/or your loved one safe, maintain sobriety, and still have some Halloween fun.

  1. Be Accountable

Attend a local drug and/or alcohol support group. These groups are likely to have an increase in meetings during the holiday season. Attending regular meetings, in-person or virtually, is important for you or your loved one’s recovery and can be especially helpful before and after attending a party. 

Be accountable to yourself as well. Schedule or make plans for the day after a Halloween get-together. It can act as a reminder that you have something to do the next day and avoid staying out all night. It is also a way out if anyone asks you to go to another party or stay out later than you planned.  

  1. Avoid Past “Haunts”

You might feel the pressure to visit old friends. These friends may still be deep into their addictions. Steer clear. You should avoid family members who may have parties full of alcohol and places that can induce stress or make you feel more comfortable to join in. Try something new and fun rather than revisiting your past. 

  1. Take a Friend and/or a Family Member

Know you are headed to a party or that you may end up at a party? Take a close friend and/or family member, someone who knows the struggle of your sobriety. If you don’t have anyone, invite your sponsor or someone from your group. Find someone there to support you and celebrate your recovery.

  1. Plan an Escape

No matter how good your plan is, things can always go wrong. Have an escape plan in place, should things get out of line. Take your own car. Be mindful of how you are feeling. Are you finding yourself wanting to give in to the temptation? If you are feeling unable to fight the need to use or feel yourself heading out of control, leave immediately.

  1. Supply Your Own Drink

Providing your own drink at get-togethers can help you avoid unwanted temptation. Keep it in your hand as much as you can. It can deter someone else from offering you a drink. This also prevents something unwanted ending up in your drink.

  1. Practice Your Refusal

How are you going to say no when someone offers you a drink? Have a game plan. You could write out a script and tell it to yourself in the mirror. Practice with a friend and most importantly, know your lines. 

  1. Take Care of Others

Maybe this year, you could try something different. Instead of hitting that party, you could dress up and leave wrapped candy in front of neighbors’ doors—a reverse trick-or-treat. Think of something that would make you feel good about yourself and do it. 

Halloween is a special time of the year but more often than not, alcohol or other substances tend to show up at certain functions. Being able to navigate those situations is important to staying substance-free. However, if you or a loved one is struggling during this time of year or you have had a relapse, New Hope Ranch is here to help. Contact us today at (737) 600-8565. You don’t have to face this time of year alone.  

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