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Posted by on in Alcoholism

As a recovering drug addict and alcoholic, Halloween was often like the “Superbowl” for my addiction. What better excuse to dress up like a fool, crash college parties, and slurp down orange jello shots all night? Halloween, on a college campus, is a well-known night for wild partying and is even expected in some places. While for a non-alcoholic, this may be acceptable for a young adult, my love for Halloween went beyond candy, costumes, and alcohol; crossing the line from wild fun into a desperate attempt to escape my own dark reality.

My “First” Halloween Drunk

I had a difficult time, as an introverted only child, making friends and socializing at parties. This became a real issue in middle school, where cliques begin to form and the “pecking order” of popularity emerges. I was unsuccessful in any social endeavors, until of course I discovered the wonders of alcohol. My first “real drunk” came on my first big invitation to a party. A party at the house of a Senior, and I was only a sophomore. My newfound friends quickly introduced me to the effectiveness of alcohol in reducing anxiety and as a social lubricant. I immediately felt close to those around me, I started talking to the pretty girls, I won my first game of ‘beer pong’. However that night, like most of my drinking episodes, ended up with me puking on the hood of someones car, passing out in some bushes, and waking up with ant bites covering my body and a throbbing headache. The insanity started immediately in my head, “Man what a blast! When is the next party? Alcohol is the solution to all my problems!”

The Allure of Halloween to the Alcoholic

In the following years of my growing alcoholism I enjoyed any excuse to drink like a madman; St. Paddy’s Day, Independence Day, my Birthday, Labor Day, Thanksgiving, Christmas, New Years Ever, etc. However Halloween remained my favorite, and in college if Halloween fell on a Sunday or Monday the parties and costumes started happening Thursday. So what made this holiday so much more different from all the rest? For me, it was the thrill of escaping my reality, if only, for a weekend. I LOVED wearing mask or heavy makeup and transfiguring myself into an anonymous party goer. I could blackout and punch holes in peoples drywall and get away with it! The next day people would be whispering, “Did you see the guy dressed as Darth Vader walking around knocking over pictures and puking in the punch bowl?”, but I didn’t have to worry about getting found out. Halloween was my excuse to be on my worst behavior, without fear of what others thought of me.

Girls get to dress in their most “revealing” outfits in the name of good Halloween cheer without being called out for promiscuity or bad taste. Skinny guys can dress up as Superman or a Spartan  Warrior and play the masculine hero for a few nights. With the general atmosphere of mischief and mystery embedded in the roots of Halloween, mixed with large amounts of alcohol, it is clear why it was my favorite time of the year to get fall-down-drunk.

original

Escapism and Alcoholism

My experiences may seem unique, but the feelings and emotions described are quite common among alcoholics. Fear, shame, and guilt are some of the biggest challenges alcoholics face when getting sober. They are embarrassed of all the drunken antics they caused, or the reputation they bruised and dented while drinking. Many people describe it as the “Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde” effect; when we are sober are morals are average and self-control normal, but when drinking we become completely different, with our most vitriolic defects often coming out.

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