Having a Happy Halloween in Recovery
October is a season of crisp air, falling leaves, and Halloween festivities. However, for those in recovery, this holiday can pose unique challenges. To explore how one can fully participate in Halloween while maintaining their recovery, we spoke to Amy Rogers, Learning and Development Program Manager at Landmark Recovery. Amy, with six years in recovery from alcohol addiction, sheds light on how to navigate the social and psychological landscape of this spook-tacular holiday.
Note: This interview has been edited for clarity.
Q: Amy, can you discuss how you initially approached Halloween in the early stages of your recovery journey?
I remember my first Halloween in recovery very well, as I was still in rehab at the time. It was one of the first Halloweens I genuinely enjoyed. I was surrounded by other individuals on the same path of recovery, and we got to celebrate the holiday in a different but very fulfilling way. We even had an in-house [Alcoholics Anonymous] meeting that night. The experience allowed me to grieve the loss of the way I used to celebrate, but in a safe space with people who understood what I was going through.
Q: Being in recovery can mean making difficult choices. Were there specific Halloween events or traditions you had to skip to prioritize your recovery?
Certainly, there were changes I had to make. Halloween was an occasion I would usually spend bar-hopping. So, to protect my recovery, I had to avoid those environments and situations altogether. The phrase “you need to have an out” is a crucial piece of advice in recovery. For me, that “out” was avoiding situations where I might be tempted. Plus, I didn’t miss the crowds or spending a couple of hundred dollars on costumes and drinks.
Q: How did you create a plan to stay committed to your recovery during Halloween festivities that often involve alcohol?
Planning is essential. I would inform my sponsor about my plans for the day, especially if it involved a situation where there might be temptations or triggers. Mostly, I would surround myself with people aware of my recovery status. For instance, I have a twin sister who doesn’t drink, and knowing that she would also be abstaining helped keep me on track.
Q: Any tips for navigating the social pressures that can be especially high during holidays like Halloween?
If you’re uncertain about attending an event, it might be best to skip it–the stress isn’t worth it. Have a plan for any situation, know who to call and where to go if you feel your recovery is being jeopardized. Surround yourself with people who understand your boundaries. Allow yourself to have fun and celebrate your progress, but always have a strategy so you’re not caught in a situation for which you’re unprepared.
Get the Support You Need Today
Amy’s insights remind us that, while holidays like Halloween can be filled with pitfalls for those in recovery, a thoughtful approach and proper planning can allow anyone to participate fully and joyfully in the season’s activities.
If you or a loved one are seeking support for recovery, Landmark Recovery can help. With individualized treatment plans and a supportive community, we can aid you in maintaining your path to recovery. To learn more, call us today at 888-448-0302.
About the Author
A graduate of Middle Tennessee State University, Long has been a writer for Landmark Recovery since 2021. He specializes in research and writing about substance abuse from a scientific and social perspective. Unearthing information from underexplored, far-flung corners of the Internet, Long’s passion is finding emerging trends in substance use and treatment that the public should know about.