09 Oct How To Prepare for a Fun and Sober Halloween?
Halloween is coming up at the end of the month. It is a fun time to start preparing for a spooky, sober, exciting celebration now. Unfortunately, many Halloween events involve alcohol. Unwanted exposure or pressure to drink alcohol can be triggering for those in treatment or recovery. Planning a fun and sober Halloween is crucial to maintaining long-term sobriety during this celebratory time.
Exploring fun and sober ideas can help an individual still have fun during Halloween. Before attending a Halloween event, it can also be helpful for an individual to develop a game plan to appropriately respond to unwanted triggers during the holiday. Sobriety is more important than one night of celebration. Taking the time to remember each milestone through the stages that led an individual to recovery can help one stay strong when faced with intense peer pressure.
Fun Activities to Enjoy a Sober Halloween
It can be a trend for most young adults to head to midnight house parties and late-night bonfires with spiked cider on Halloween. T-ping houses and ding-dong ditch with the wrong crowd can lead one in the wrong direction. Staying home and passing out candy may not be the most exciting thing to do. Therefore, boredom can send someone down the wrong toxic path. Exploring sober activities can bring fun opportunities to an individual seeking long-term sobriety. There are many fun activities that one can enjoy alone or in groups with sober friends. Fall sober activities may consist of:
- Carving big pumpkins
- Attending a Halloween parade
- Host a Halloween movie night
- Visit a pumpkin patch
- Join a fall picnic
- Make Halloween crafts
- Host a Halloween game night
- Search for a fall festival
- Bake spooky snacks
- Join a costume contest
- Participate in a Halloween 5k run
- Attend a thrilling haunted house
Exploring Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy
When an individual is in treatment, early, or late recovery, triggers will commonly occur. As one meets their milestones, the intensity of cravings due to triggers may lessen over time. Depending on the severity of one’s condition, it can sometimes be difficult to respond to them. This can often lead to an unwanted relapse. Learning effective ways to respond to triggers can prevent an unwanted relapse or sudden overdose. According to the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA), friends and family may support one’s decision to discontinue drinking, but some peers may not. Social pressure can be challenging to manage.
Participating in therapy or counseling can help individuals adjust their thinking patterns or behavior to appropriately respond to unwanted triggers. Cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) can be an effective therapy approach for those needing healthy direction. A trained therapist can help an individual develop an escape plan. CBT can inform individuals of the two different types of pressure as well. Therefore, once recognized, they can properly respond. Different types of pressure include:
- Indirect social pressure: An individual offers an alcoholic beverage
- Direct social pressure: Temptation to drink due to unwanted exposure to alcohol
Effective Ways to Respond to Triggers
As stated by the aforementioned NIAAA study, at the start, an individual may avoid events completely. Once they display confidence in their ability to resist tempting situations, they may be ready to attend events again. Suggesting alternative sober activities can be an effective path forward. Even if an individual builds strength to successfully get through an event, helpful strategies can make it easier to respond to triggers if they choose to attend the event. A few tips may prevent social pressure. An individual may:
- Directly say “NO thanks”
- Make direct eye contact
- Hold their non-alcoholic drink
- Ask for support from others
If all else fails, simply walk away. It is important for the individual to stand their ground. No one deserves to hear why they choose to stay sober unless they feel comfortable enough to open up. It can also be helpful to bring a sober friend for added support when met with temptation.
Throw a Sober Halloween Party With Peers From Recovery
Conforming to the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (USDHS), choosing to abstain from alcohol during the holidays can be difficult but wise. Halloween is a common holiday where many individuals drink beyond their limit. Remembering that sobriety is more important than celebrating one night with alcohol can help one maintain abstinence.
Although baking Halloween goodies and watching scary movies sound like a good time, some individuals may still miss the party life. Choosing to throw a sober Halloween party with fellow alumni can be an enjoyable alternative. Spending time with like-minded peers can provide the right support during change. Eating plenty of food with sweet beverages can be quite appealing. Play some music and some fun yard games with peers. Choosing to do so may even start a fun annual tradition to help everyone maintain sobriety.
The Importance of Keeping a Good Support System for a Sober Halloween
Regardless of what an individual chooses to do when it comes to celebrating Halloween, keeping a good support circle is imperative to maintain long-term sobriety. It may be helpful for an individual to address their fears, concerns, or symptoms to their mental health care specialists. They may be able to develop or adjust their treatment plan to help them manage their mental health during the holidays. Connecting with family and communicating personal wishes during the holidays can prevent any unwanted triggers. Reaching out for alumni support can sprout new opportunities and recap sober living skills for a better outcome altogether.