The leaves are falling and the humid air is suddenly turning cold and crisp. Sweater weather is here, which means Halloween is right around the corner. Although this can be an exciting time for most individuals, the season change can bring great anxiety for those who are facing challenges with addiction and co-occurring mental health conditions. For an adult, Halloween in today’s society involves a lot more than just trick-or-treating. Pressure from peers to join spooky parties typically includes drinking and using drugs with the wrong crowd. Oftentimes, many individuals face humiliation when simply saying “no” or “I have sober Halloween plans.”
Participating in therapy with Restoration Recovery can teach individuals the coping mechanisms needed to effectively respond to unwanted triggers. Everyone deserves acceptance and to feel free to make their own choices without pain. Partaking in sober activities with like-minded individuals can help one feel welcome by others without being met with negative judgment.
Society’s Holiday Expectations
In today’s world, it can be very challenging for some individuals to navigate a steady social life with unwanted triggers and persistent pressure to fit in. Many individuals are faced with questions and statements that can increase one’s anxiety symptoms and worsen their depression. It can be difficult for some individuals to respond to certain situations due to a lack of knowledge in doing so. Unwanted triggers and judgmental statements that can significantly interfere with one’s progress in maintaining abstinence may include:
- Do you have a plus-one for the haunted mansion cocktail hour?
- Any costume ideas for the club?
- Do you want to go to my friend’s Halloween house party?
- Maybe bring a group of friends to the Halloween event tomorrow?
- Do you want to meet at the bar downtown to celebrate?
- Why didn’t you party?
- What, you don’t drink?
- Why don’t you do drugs?
- That sounds lame…
Preparing Coping Methods to Manage Social Pressure
It can be tough to enjoy the holiday season with constant pressure from others. Not to mention the dreary weather that comes with the season change on top of managing co-occurring mental health conditions. Although this may be true, using different coping mechanisms when being faced with unwanted triggers and social pressure can remarkably help one stay on track to long-term abstinence from drugs and alcohol.
According to the Boston Center for Treatment Development and Training module, several studies have reported that individuals have used drugs and alcohol in response to social pressure. A variety of skills have been proven to effectively help one manage the effects of social pressure to remain sober. First, it may be helpful for individuals to understand the difference between direct and indirect social pressure:
- Indirect social pressure: the individual has exposure to drugs and alcohol
- Direct social pressure: the individual has been offered to drink or use harmful substances
As stated in the aforementioned training module, if an individual does feel strong enough to consider attending an event with several unwanted triggers, developing a plan to appropriately respond may be beneficial in return. Exiting strategies may help if the individual chooses to:
- Bring their own alcohol-free drink
- Make reservations sitting away from the bar
- Only partake in sober activities
- Take a break from the situation
- Seek support when feeling overwhelmed
- Call a close friend
Fun Activities for a Sober Halloween
Although a majority of mainstream society has a poor perspective on living a sober lifestyle, this does not mean one cannot enjoy a sober Halloween. There are many individuals within the sober community who live a similar way of life. Based on a recent National Library of Medicine: National Center for Biotechnology Information (NIH) study, many individuals are at an increased risk of relapse within the first year after completing treatment.
Social support is crucial for navigating through the stages of addiction and recovery. Building a strong social network can significantly help one stay on track to long-term sobriety. Participating in sober activities can be a great way to ward off distractions and eliminate unwanted drug and alcohol triggers. Remember, despite what others say, it is perfectly okay to choose to stay in and not celebrate. If one does choose to celebrate, sober Halloween activities may include:
- Drinking cider and hosting a pumpkin-carving contest
- Exploring a new apple orchard and eating donuts
- Hosting a horror movie marathon
- Baking spooky goodies
- Planning a candy game night
- Hosting a sober Halloween party
- Planning a Halloween scavenger hunt
Moving Forward With Restoration Recovery for a Sober Halloween
Choosing to move forward with Restoration Recovery can greatly improve one’s quality of life. Attending therapy in combination with using self-help strategies can help one maintain a sober lifestyle. In regards to initial treatment, considering a medication-assisted treatment plan (MAT) can help one manage withdrawal symptoms and appropriately address early signs of triggers. Entertaining a PHP or IOP can also help one learn effective ways to maintain long-term sobriety.
Restoration Recovery also offers aftercare services to help one maintain abstinence. Staying consistent with follow-up care and continuing to build on tools learned in treatment can be a fantastic way to readily address unwanted triggers and enjoy a sober Halloween.
At our California recovery center, our serene setting helps clients achieve not just wellness, but wholeness. Established in 2017 in Auburn, California, Restoration Recovery Center is a product of the desire of a group of experienced therapists who wish to help in the recovery of persons struggling with addiction, also known as substance use disorder (SUD). Our team understands that drug and alcohol addiction is a chronic brain disease. Although drug and alcohol addiction may seem at times like a beast that can’t be defeated, it is, in fact, a treatable disease. If you are ready to begin healing, call Restoration Recovery at (888) 290-0925 to learn about how we can help you today.