There are many risk factors that may put a person in recovery at risk for relapse. Most commonly, these risk factors include stress, negative or positive emotions, and certain people, places, or things.1,2 Although these risk factors will vary based on the individual, all people in recovery should know which triggers affect them the most and have a plan to respond appropriately.
Whether you’ve been sober for a few months or a few years, you may find that Halloween is a tempting time for you. Maybe you used to use this holiday as an excuse to get together with your drug-using friends and get high. Or maybe you just love Halloween and the excitement of the holiday makes you want to use drugs again.
Whatever the reason, holidays such as Halloween may become a stumbling block for individuals in recovery. If this is the case for you, there are several ways you can keep yourself preoccupied and focused on your sobriety this Halloween.
Plan a sober event.
Instead of joining in on the alcohol and drug use that frequently occurs on Halloween, why not plan your own sober event with your sober friends? Try planning a costume party with the other residents at your sober living house and choose a theme such as “Stranger Things” or ‘80s Horror to encourage some really creative costume ideas.
If dressing up in costume isn’t your thing, host a scary movie night with your family or sober friends instead and watch some of the classic horror films like “A Nightmare on Elm Street,” “The Exorcist” and Halloween. You could also include some more recent favorites like “It Follows” or “The Conjuring” to mix things up a bit.
For those who’d rather get out of the house and do something, costumed glow bowling is a great option. Grab some sober friends, get dressed up your costumes, and enjoy a fun night of glow bowling for a unique Halloween experience.
Attend a support group meeting.
If you’re not interested in participating in any of the Halloween festivities but you know they may be a temptation for you to use, plan on attending an AA or NA meeting instead. If you are enrolled in a transitional living program, some of the other men or women in your house may also be interested in joining you. Attending a meeting may be just what you need to refocus on your sobriety in the midst of the temptation.
In some cases, AA or NA groups may also plan special Halloween meetings for those who do want to dress in costume or celebrate the holiday with other sober individuals. Additionally, if you are enrolled in an aftercare program, you may also have the option to attend a scheduled meeting during the week of Halloween. Either way, attending a support group meeting can be very beneficial during times when you feel like your sobriety may be shaken.
Plan a trip out of town.
If you feel like getting out of town and being away from your old Halloween hangout spots will help you avoid the temptation to use again, by all means, plan a trip with a family member or friend. It doesn’t have to be anything extravagant and could be as simple as a family camping trip or an overnight stay at a friend’s house in a different city. Regardless of the details of the travel plans you decide to make, physically distancing yourself from those triggers back home may help you forget about using drugs or alcohol and focus on the great qualities of a life in sobriety.
If you need some help planning your trip, ask a family member or a friend or roommate in your sober living house. Chances are, someone will want to go with you and will be more than happy to help you plan a quick one or two-day trip.
Life in early sobriety comes with its own set of unique challenges and obstacles but with a little bit of planning and assistance from supportive friends and family, you can overcome these challenges. After you’ve successfully managed to celebrate (or not celebrate) this Halloween sober, you’ll feel more confident facing next Halloween and all the other holidays in between.
Learning to live a fulfilling life in recovery is an ongoing process, but transitional housing programs such as Eudaimonia Recovery Homes can help you succeed in your long-term sobriety. If you have recently completed a drug and alcohol rehab program and are searching for a sober living program that will help you maintain your sobriety, look no further than Eudaimonia. Call (512) 363-5914 to speak with an admissions representative today.