As we approach the end of October, we begin to see plenty of festive decorations highlighting skeletons, jack-o-lanterns, vampires and more. Sure most of it is good fun, but there are other elements of Halloween that could create uneasiness for someone who may be vulnerable to addiction. For our latest blog, we thought we would share a few of the temptations and trigger points that occur around this famous holiday.
As much as we would like to think of Halloween as a children’s holiday, there are plenty of activities that involve adults as well. Costume parties quickly come to mind and with them, glasses full of alcohol and benders that last deep into the night. Drugs have become a common component of the “grown-up Halloween” experience as well; particularly ecstasy, cocaine and other stimulants associated with the clubbing lifestyle. Bars around Los Angeles tend to enable this behavior too, with “Monster Happy Hours” and “zombie cocktails” that encourage patrons to come in and indulge.
And did we mention the drunk driving statistics associated with this holiday? For starters, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration reports a 25 % increase in alcohol violations the weekend before Halloween. There is a sharp spike in auto fatalities too, with 41% attributed to a motorist with a blood alcohol level of 0.08 or higher. Put those figures together and you could easily find yourself either dead behind the wheel or incarcerated for a tragedy you may have caused.
Law enforcement are taking these stats so seriously (as they should), that new media campaigns are launching warning partiers of the dangers of taking their vices too far.
And let’s not forget about the triggers that this famous holiday has been known to cause. The concept of Halloween and its Latin American counterpart, Dia de los Muertos, centers around death and, at its core, loss. For many, thinking about people who have passed brings depression and loneliness. Scenery like graveyards can also bring back difficult memories and with them, the urge to numb pain with drugs or alcohol.
Believe it or not, we have also seen Halloween become a trigger point for people who have experienced Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (or PTSD). Haunted houses and scary movies often display vulgar imagery of blood or decaying bodies. If you happen to be someone who has experienced that firsthand, via tours of duty or violent crime, visions like that can easily make you want to turn to substance abuse (or trigger a relapse).
Now don’t get us wrong. We at Iris Healing Retreat are big fans of celebrations and having a good time. But we are also well aware of the subliminal issues that are associated with this holiday. Our advice is to treat it with caution and avoid situations where you may find yourself in a vulnerable state. Because the last thing we would want to see is a fun evening open the door into a dark addiction.
If you are sensing anxiety or potential trigger points around this holiday, please do not hesitate to reach out. We are always here to help and can give you the tools to have a safe and sober Halloween.