The celebration of Halloween has a particular evolution as we grow. It begins with trick-or-treating candy and cute costumes. Next, a rebellious stage often leans closer to the “trick” side of things. This is often the standard bearer of egg throwing, pumpkin smashing, and toilet paper throwing. While it can be annoying to find an egg on our door, it is ultimately pretty harmless. Yet, when we become young adults, the Halloween landscape tends to shift to one big night of partying and all the toxic behaviors that come with it. This can make some people worry if they can still have a fun Halloween in recovery.
In Recovery: What’s Next?
Many of us struggle with recovery out of fear of the unknown. The iconic 20th-century Buddhist monk, Thich Nhat Hanh, once said, “People have a hard time letting go of their suffering. Out of a fear of the unknown, they prefer suffering that is familiar.”
The fear of the unknown in recovery often resides in the realm of whether or not there is going to be any joy left in life without alcohol or other substances. Questions arise, such as “Will I be able to enjoy myself in recovery?” “But, will people still like to hang out with me in recovery?” “Can I have any fun in recovery, or am I relegated to a rigid life of conforming to a program?”
These questions are certainly understandable. After all, recovery can be one of the biggest events a person may ever experience. However, these fears are unfounded. Yes, we will be different after entering recovery, but with the right program, the differences will be wholly positive. The key is to embrace recovery and remember what it was like before entering treatment. Was that any way to live? Now, was it any fun at the end? Most likely not, otherwise why would we be looking to change?
How to Play the Tape, While Also Avoiding “Future Tripping”
There is a phrase often used in 12-Step recovery that goes, “Remember to play the tape forward.” What this means is that if any thoughts of taking a drink or a drug arise, go through the scenarios that may happen if we choose to do so. We play the tape. This inevitably reminds us that a drink or a drug is no longer fun or a solution to any of our problems.
Another way of thinking about worrying about what life may be like in recovery is to think about the negative effects of “future tripping.” Future tripping means playing out negative scenarios in our head about what the future may hold. For example, worries arise, such as, “What if I don’t get that job?” “But, what if I fail that class?” “Will I have fun at that Halloween party?”
The idea behind avoiding future tripping is to remember that we are not fortune tellers. We cannot see the future, no matter how hard we try. So, thinking about a negative future not only won’t change the outcome of events, but it also causes us undue emotional pain.
Can I Still Have a Fun Halloween in Recovery?
Now when it comes to having a fun Halloween in recovery, it is important to remember the concepts we just discussed. For many, Halloween is merely one night of slightly harder “partying” than “normal,” but for those of us who struggle with addiction, this partying behavior can be extremely detrimental, dangerous, and even deadly. The good news is that there are plenty of ways to still have a fun Halloween in recovery, as long as we avoid future tripping, and play the tape forward if any triggers arise.
When we use these tools, it gives us a chance to get out of our heads, so we can enjoy living in the moment. Also, these tools allow us the opportunity to pause and take the next right step if anything comes up that makes us feel uncomfortable. These next right steps include calling someone who is also in recovery and telling them how we feel, stepping away to “play the tape,” or even leaving altogether. After all, no party is worth a relapse.
It is also important to remember that many people in recovery are also looking to have a fun Halloween in recovery. As they say in 12-Step recovery, “We are not a glum lot.” So, getting together with other recovery peers to celebrate holidays like Halloween is a great way to have safe, sober, and, most importantly, fun experiences.
No Tricks, All Treats: Recovery at Lantana Recovery
Here at Lantana Recovery, we understand that the fear of the unknown in recovery can be powerful. Many of us on staff have been there ourselves.
However, we also know that life in recovery correlates to a life lived with love and laughter. Recovery offers us a life beyond our wildest dreams. Of course, it also offers the chance to have some of the best Halloweens ever (but leave the eggs at home).
With Halloween coming at the end of the month, individuals who are new in their recovery may be wondering if their holiday can be fun while still sober. The good news is that this is not only possible, but holidays in recovery have the potential to be way more fun than holidays when we were actively engaged in our addiction. However, it will take planning ahead of time to ensure any plans are conducive to recovery. Recovery can open up our lives to a whole new world of experiences, the key is to embrace them rather than shrink away. For more information on how to have a fun, safe, and spooky Halloween in recovery, call Lantana Recovery at (866) 997-2870.