I am excited for my first sober Halloween! I made up a batch of my ginger juice brew today so I am all ready to enjoy the night with a clear head. 🎃 After a slip and a bit of a slide I am starting to get a nice streak of sober days going. My brain is starting to feel clear again and my connection to my authentic self is deepening once more. I looked in the mirror this morning and noticed how clear my eyes looked. I smiled and could have sworn I saw my old mischievous sparkle twinkling in them today.
Watch out world, she’s back!
I am feeling very aware of the upcoming holiday season starting with Halloween this weekend. I can’t remember the last time I was sober for Halloween. Our neighbors pour wine for any adult that is walking with a trick or treater and then after all the trick or treaters go home, we head over to swap funny stories and finish the wine with them. Afterward, we come home and the two of us continue onto tequila until we are good and toasted.
Sound like fun? Getting toasted on tequila has become a deadly drinking game for me. Definitely not the fun it used to be.
This past year of struggling to stay sober, and sometimes not holding on, has reminded me a lot of the Chutes and Ladders game I played as a kid. I found this game board picture in the vintage games, making me feel a tad vintage myself, but I recognized it immediately as the board game I used to play.
To play was simple, using either a dice or a spin you took turns moving 1-6 spaces with the goal of being the first to reach 100. Along the way, if you landed on a ladder space you got to climb ahead and if you landed on a chute space down you went. If you zoom in on the board you can see that it reinforced actions and consequences in the pictures. Ladders we’re things like you plant a garden and get flowers, bake and get a cake to eat. Good choices were ladders to good outcomes. The same idea with the chutes, poor choices let to unpleasant outcomes. If you draw on the wall you will have to scrub it off, and if you eat too much chocolate your tummy will hurt.
I sit here today in my 42-year-old ‘vintage’ body and can’t help but think that my sobriety is a lot like this game. My life is one big gameboard that I hop day to day on. Each day is filled with choices and each decision will lead me to the natural outcome, good or bad.
I was thinking about some of my ladders. The things that helped me stay sober.
Making sure I always have my favorite alternative drink in the fridge.
Going to bed early.
Listening to music to sooth feelings.
Sitting with my feelings.
Not having any alcohol in the house.
Saying no to invites I can’t handle.
Exercising so I’m tired at night.
Fresh air and nature walks.
Making healthy meals.
Writing sober check-ins
Reading sober posts and articles.
Connecting with sober friends.
Planning each day for how to succeed.
I was also thinking about some of my slides. The things that lead to me slipping.
Telling myself it will just be one night.
Going to a drinking event without an alternative drink prepped.
Hanging out with drinking friends in drinking environments.
Taking a sip of someone else’s drink just to try it.
Allowing any alcohol past my doorstep.
Thinking I can’t have fun without drinking.
Staying up too late.
Drinking tonight because I drank last night.
It’s 5:00 and I need to unwind.
Wanting to fit in and feel included.
I had a pretty good stretch of sobriety going earlier this year and I remember well the luscious, vibrant, creative person I was discovering. When I slip and slide and get stuck in a drinking cycle I feel covered up under layers of exhaustion, brain fog, and dullness.
I’m going to stick to the ladders the rest of this year and stay away from the slides!
My first sober Halloween? Knowing this day is coming has filled me with some apprehension and a need to make a plan! I will have a couple of my favorite alternative drinks on hand and a hike planned on Nov 1st so that I will have to get to bed early that night. I am excited to continue to get healthier and grow my spark as I start off the holiday season.
Come join us for support to enjoy your holiday season alcohol-free!
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