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Adolescence Holidays Prevention Recovery Safety

How To Have a Safe, Sober and Fun Halloween

Happy Halloween
Happy Halloween (Photo credit: Professor Bop)

Did you know that more people drink and drive on Halloween than many other holidays?
“Data from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration indicates that Halloween is among one of the most deadly holidays for drunk driving. For the holiday period — from October 30 through 5:59 a.m. on November 1, 2011 — 74 people died nationwide in a crash involving a drunk driver, a 21 percent increase over the average number of drunk driving deaths per day.” via MADD

We understand that Halloween can be a trigger for some people, particularly those who are newly in recovery, so it’s important to create some guidelines and parameters with which to navigate the holiday. If you were once an enthusiastic celebrant of Halloween, doing it sober may cause you panic and despair. Don’t worry, below are some safe, and fun suggestions. Remember, if this holiday is too triggering for you, you can make it a non-event: go to a meeting, hang out with friends, and keep it simple. If it creates stress, it’s not worth it.

  • Plan something with people who are committed to being sober
  • Surround yourself with people who can hold you accountable.
  • Be honest with yourself and with those around you: talk about your triggers if you have them!
  • Don’t go to a party where you know there will be drugs and/or alcohol.
  • Create a relapse prevention plan using tools you’ve learned at Visions to create a good exit strategy if you should need one.

There are an abundance of sober activities you can do on Halloween, especially as part of the young people’s fellowship. You can:

  • Be of service to your family: take your little brother or sister out to trick or treat.
  • Have a scary movie night
  • Have a monster themed dance party
  • You can go on the Haunted Hay Ride with sober friends
  • Some fellowships may have a Halloween themed dance or event.
  • Host a sober Halloween party with spooky treats and an eerie Halloween music mix
  • Make a creepy, crawly scavenger hunt

This list can go on. I trust that you can come up with a fun sober activity! The most important thing is that you enjoy yourself, stay accountable in your recovery, and endlessly tickle that funny bone.    Embrace this new side of yourself. Being present and aware is a wonderful thing to behold!

Categories
Recovery

Boo! It’s Hallow’s Eve!

Ah, Hallow’s Eve, the one day during the year where one can don masks, dress like anyone

Image via Wikipedia

or anything they want, and of course, eat lots and lots of candy. To celebrate this phenomena, there are parties galore, some of which happened this past weekend, and some that will occur this evening. Here are some reminders for party savoir faire:

  • Bring your own drinks if you’re concerned that there won’t be any non-alcoholic treats for you.
  • Make sure you have sober friends with you or are surrounded by people who respect your sobriety.
  • Let your sober network know where you’ll be.
  • Does your destination have a high-relapse factor? Rethink your plans. Maybe there’s something else you can do instead.
  • Have fun. Sobriety doesn’t mean you get to lose your sense of humor. Trust me on this. I act silly all the time, and I’m in my sober teens!
  • Have a plan. Parties and social events aren’t the time to try flying by the seat of your pants. When confronted with temptation, we’re not always skilled at making the best choices.

Most important thing of all? Have a good time. Sure, the times of trick-or-treating may be in our recent past, but dressing up and laughing until your belly hurts is never out of style.

Categories
Adolescence Feelings Recovery

Fear and Loathing in Sobriety

It’s not every day that we voluntarily pay money to walk in to a place of horror and experientially tread through our fears. However, this past Saturday, we hosted our annual Knott’s Scary Farm event, wherein we did just that. Truth be told, it’s a popular event! I’m not sure if it’s a teen thing or a personality thing, but some folks just love to be scared! The thing is, we’re all scared of something, right? For this event, it might simply be things jumping out at you, for others it could be coulrophobia, the fear of clowns, and for some, it’s monsters in general. The tagline at Knott’s Scary Farm is “All You Fear is Here,” and boy, do they keep their promise. They have a foggy Ghost Town, where you can barely see your hand in front of your face, and is home to growling monsters, including the notorious Sliders (monsters and clowns that literally slide on their knees and hands out of nowhere to scare you!); they have CarnEVIL, where clowns and vaudevillians haunt your walk; and then there’s Necropolis, the city of the undead, filled with vamps galore. There’s sure to be at least one thing at this metropolis of fear that will make your blood run cold.

So, how do you deal with your fears when you’re there? If running and screaming makes the monsters chase you, then what would happen if you turn and face them? Our minds feed into our fears, making them appear to be intangible and often times providing us with a sense of unmanageability. In sobriety, addressing our fears can be a challenge and one we invariably shut the door on–fear of the fear, if you will. We drank, used, starved, stuffed, cut, punched, et cetera, as a means of chasing our fears away, but the truth is, they never really went anywhere.  So, when these clowns (yes, I have an epic clown fear) came bursting into our personal space, I decided not to run, or scream, but to turn and face them. Some of the kids even began mimicking their movements and growls, and each time, the clowns or monsters inevitably took their “scare” elsewhere. In fact, some even had conversations with us. Granted, they were still frightening to look at, and having them come sliding out of nowhere was still an effective fright tool, but disempowering their ferocity made them significantly less scary and made the fear manageable. Yes, that’s right, manageable!

This type of situation presents us with a wonderful metaphor for confronting our fears, though. One of the greatest lessons I’ve learned during my sobriety is that if I shine light into the dark corners and look at the very thing that is frightening, I discover the shadows are just that: shadows. No, it doesn’t invalidate the genuine fears that exist, but it certainly shrinks their size and makes them a little easier to manage. In the case of Knott’s Scary Farm, fortunately, we don’t have to face bloody clowns and monsters on a daily basis, but if or when we do, being mindful of how we respond and monitoring our reactions will hopefully make us less of a target. It can also make for some interesting albeit peculiar conversations with the creatures of the night!