What is Halloween about? Green-faced witches, zonked out zombies, and howling hairy werewolves are the characters depicted by children trolling in their costumes as they go house after house and yearn for the next piece of luscious candy to possess so they can devour it soon thereafter. Perhaps that is what Halloween is like for the young Trick-Or-Treaters, but what is Halloween about after a loved one gets sober and enters a world in recovery?
What Is Halloween About for Your Loved One?
Holidays can be particularly stressful for an individual who is recovering from a drug and/or alcohol addiction. Halloween is a specific time that is commonly associated with heavy drinking and/or drug use because of the mischief that is known for occurring throughout the night as the public walks around dressed up going to sometimes complete strangers’ homes. It can be especially challenging for a young individual who is recovering from addiction because some of their friends may not be addicts and/or alcoholics. This can be confusing for the person in recovery because they may question whether it is safe to be around them or not. Typically, the best environment for someone in recovery is a place where other sober individuals are because of the less triggering atmosphere it presents as opposed to the sensation that may be created when other drinkers or drug users are around. When people who are living by the same principles as the recovering individual are around them, a much healthier, positive influence is reinforced with less risk of acting out on peer pressures that display unhealthy, irrational behavior.
To The Parents
You may be reminiscing about the days that your child was innocent and knocking on your neighbors’ doors pleading for Halloween candy while dressed up in honor of the holiday, but you know more truthfully that times have changed quite a bit since then. After your child has begun the process of recovering from drugs and alcohol, you may be left wondering what is Halloween about to them now? The holiday might give you anxiety because you feel uneasy about not knowing how to react around them on the day. The truth is that they may be a little uncomfortable because it is a holiday, which is particularly hard because it is a day known for being publicly celebrated with alcohol and even drugs. Prepare yourself for them to potentially be a little uncomfortable and even irritable. Try to be as sensitive to their own unease and focus on activities that you can do as a family. You can support your child by being present and enjoying the time that you get to spend together.
To The Significant Other
It may be frustrating to see your loved one struggle with the disease of addiction and/or alcoholism, especially if you can’t relate to it yourself. It doesn’t mean that you have to separate for Halloween, though. You can still partake in activities for the holiday together. Try getting involved in some fall activities together as a couple. Go see a scary movie in theaters together, visit a haunted house, carve a pumpkin, or go on a hay ride. If your significant other seems frustrated and upset, try not to get too overwhelmed and instead just comfort them in support. Even if you end up staying in and baking pumpkin-shaped sugar cookies for the first Halloween, it doesn’t mean that every holiday has to be that way. Recovery is a process, not an event, and for the beginner, the start can be very uncomfortable. Try to be as understanding and empathetic toward your loved one as possible.
To The Children
No matter how old you are, it can be confusing to see your mother or father struggling with the grip that a substance has held over them for so long. Try to keep in mind that Halloween is a holiday that focuses more about spending time with the people around you than on the candy, costumes, decorations, or anything else for that matter. The best way to support your parent is simply by being by their side. Plan an entertaining night of activities that pay a tribute to Halloween and will keep your parent’s mind off any substance they are falsely led to believing they are missing out on.
So, what is Halloween about after your loved one gets sober? It’s about being there for one another and supporting them! Be sure to treasure this Halloween because your loved one is safe and in recovery after all.
Looking for ways to celebrate with someone in recovery? Click the links below for ideas.