Halloween was always a dark night...
Updated: Nov 27, 2021
Halloween is another holiday that usually gave me license to drink without restraint. This was often a night where everyone around me was walking around out in the open drinking too, so I didn't feel out of place. It was encouraged to get drunk, or so I thought. Everywhere I looked, my friends were drinking. Pictures on instagram promoted it, it seemed. Jello-shots for the parents, candy for the kids.
In our old neighborhood, everyone had Yetis filled with drinks. Last year, I remember pouring a massive vodka soda and filling mine to the top before setting out with the kids. We walked around from street to street for a couple hours, crossing busy roads, but I don't remember the end of our trick of treating, because I was so wasted. I got black out drunk, walking around the dark streets at night with my three little kids. It's awful to think about how dangerous, negligent and overall selfish that was of me. When my kids were telling stories the next day about the scary house a few streets over, I genuinely had no idea what they were talking about. I couldn't remember. I felt awful and hated myself for that.
But I am not doing that this year. I am sober. I know it will be the same party vibe in our new neighborhood, as there are even more young kids around here with families that are gathering for pizza and cocktails before and after trick of treating. I am at ease though knowing how my night will go. I will be able to enjoy this evening without focusing on where we will pregame and how I will refill my coffee mug with wine. Instead, I will focus on the safety of my kids and the joy they experience. After all, it is all about them. This isn't for me.
I don't feel anxious, sad or left out. Two years ago, I remember I was trying to moderate my drinking. I had gotten really drunk the weekend before Halloween, so I had promised Evan I would be restrained that night. We were in one of those cycles. I was resentful of Evan for making me go easy that night. I was mad that I couldn't let loose with my friends. I obsessed over how many drinks I could have, and I was annoyed at myself. I felt like a caged animal. I wanted to kick and scream, throw a tantrum like a child. Once Evan and the kids started to walk down the street, I remember sneaking back inside the house, to have a quick glass of wine, just to get a little buzz on. I had to sneak one drink from my husband. No one would know, I thought. But I knew.
If you had told me back then that I would be doing Halloween sober today, I would have kicked and screamed some more. I would have been so angry and run for the hills, knowing what my future held for me. It is the opposite though. I am no longer drowning, desperate for air.
This year, I don't miss it. I don't long for it. I only remember the awful feelings alcohol brought me. The sadness. The feeling of defeat. As soon as the night began, that buzz I always searched for was gone within a minute or two, and I couldn't ever reclaim it for the rest of the evening. Now, I can experience real joy and peace, without desperately searching for it at the bottom of a bottle. Simply walking behind my children tonight and seeing how excited they will be is something to look forward to for me. I am not sure I have ever been sober or present enough to appreciate that on this night, always having been too distracted by alcohol.