Staying Sober through Halloween Hauntings
If this is your first year sober at Halloween – Congratulations! If this is your 2nd, 3rd or more Halloweens sober – Congratulations! If you aren’t sober yet, but hoping to be really soon – Congratulations! I guess this covers everybody except the non-alcoholics and the alcoholics who still consider their shenanigans fun. There, now everybody is covered.
Some of you may be wondering how to get through this Haunting Holiday without the ‘trick or not-treat’ of picking up a drink or a drug. It can be a daunting haunting! (sorry, that was bad) But seriously what about staying sober through Halloween?
Halloween in the Early Days
Kids learn really early to love this holiday, especially the ‘addicts in waiting’. What could be more fun than dressing up in creepy clothes, or being an angel or princess or hobo or gypsy? Knocking on stranger’s doors, threatening them, and then getting the instantly gratified sweet reward – everyone’s first drug – sugar! Parents are proud and pleased, showing you off. Wow, that is heady stuff.
Solid Sugar Replaced by Liquid Sugar – Alcohol
As tweens or teens, and then on into early 20’s, this last day of October is a great excuse to ‘Party’. By the later teen years, the edible sugar is often replaced with the liquid sugar of alcohol. And what silly fun it all seems. Costumes, masks, strange sights, abandon and mayhem. What is not to love about that if you are an alcoholic/addict/drama-king or queen? Why would anyone want to be sober through Halloween?
Drama Replaced by Sobriety
Anyway, now it is different. In recovery from addictions, we replace the drama with the desire to stay clean and sober, and healthy, one day at a time. Including Halloween Night, and the next day, the Day of the Dead. If you are reading this article, you have had enough Dead Days; you are ready for the pure sober life. So, how do you navigate this sticky sweet holiday filled with pillowcases full of toffee and Mars bars and free-flowing booze? The answer is easy – just like every other day.
The 12 Step literature tells us that there is nowhere on earth that, as sober people, we can’t go – including ‘whoopee parties’, whatever they are. But there are conditions to be met first.
From page 100 – 101 of the Big Book of Alcoholics Anonymous:
So our rule is not to avoid a place where there is drinking, if we have a legitimate reason for being there. That includes bars, nightclubs, dances, receptions, weddings, even plain ordinary whoopee parties. To a person who has had experience with an alcoholic, this may seem like tempting Providence, but it isn’t.
You will note that we made an important qualification. Therefore, ask yourself on each occasion, “Have I any good social, business, or personal reason for going to this place? Or am I expecting to steal a little vicarious pleasure from the atmosphere of such places?” If you answer these questions satisfactorily with rigorous honesty, you need have no apprehension. Go or stay away, whichever seems best. But be sure you are on solid spiritual ground before you start and that your motive in going is thoroughly good. Do not think of what you will get out of the occasion. Think of what you can bring to it. But if you are shaky, you had better work with another alcoholic instead!
Chances are good, if you are new in sobriety, or if your sobriety is shaky, you’d best avoid the parties. Very likely there is a 12 Step Fellowship meeting available. And, call your sponsor or another member you trust. Pray for guidance, and meditate to discern direction. Remember, you are no longer alone. And, Halloween is also just another ‘one day at a time’. Don’t let it precede your own personal Day of the Dead – for real.
A Different Kind of Recovery, in the Mountains of Panama
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