This year Americans will have spent approximately $8.5 billion on Halloween. Translation: it’s not just a kids’ holiday anymore. While many of us still celebrate the occasion by taking our children or nieces and nephews trick-or-treating, or sitting at home and watching scary movies, Halloween has become an increasingly social (and increasingly adult) affair. As yesterday’s children become today’s adults, many keep the spirit of Halloween alive and well, and take their love of the holiday to new and more mature heights. This past weekend, many of us took part in Halloween celebrations that had little or nothing to do with children. There were parties, club outings and all other manner of grown-up events where the costumes were elaborate…and the alcohol was flowing.
Why do we mention this? Because certain lesser-controlled social situations in which alcohol is present can be problematic for those who are still vulnerable to relapse; and every year, adult Halloween parties fit this description more and more. There are an increasing amount of Halloween-themed cocktails to back up this assertion. We may not think that an occasion as seemingly benign as Halloween can conjure any ghosts beyond the costumed variety; but recovery has taught us that any encounter with alcohol for which we aren’t ready can bring us face to face with the ghosts of our alcoholic pasts, and this can be dangerous no matter what day of the year it is.
Most of us have the strength and durability of our recovery tested every day, and some of us are closer to a setback than others. If at any point this weekend, we felt ourselves to be particularly vulnerable to relapse, we can use this as an opportunity to work the steps of our aftercare plans and get in touch with our therapists and treatment professionals. This rule of thumb applies to every day of the year, including October 31st. In an age where Halloween has come to mean jellybeans and Jell-O shots in equal measure, we can’t be too careful and must always keep our recovery first…even when we think we’ve got it under control. Recovery Unplugged wishes everyone a safe, fun and happy Halloween.