1. Hot drinks are in, cold ones are out.
Most hot drinks are nonalcoholic, while most alcoholic drinks are served cold. There are classic exceptions, like Irish coffee, hot toddies and mulled wine, and of course there’s Octoberfest. But with the advent of brisk breezes, “a cold one” begins to lose a bit of its allure next to a steaming mug of hot cocoa. Even if you’re not a disciple of the Pumpkin Spice Cult, it’s easy to appreciate the variety of fall-flavored beverages that start to pop up in coffee shops. By the time winter rolls around, of course, the novelty of the steamy drink has long worn off and we’re back to dodging spiked eggnog and New Year’s champagne. So in the meantime, toast the early days of cooler weather with as much tea, coffee, cocoa and hot apple cider as you want.
2. Holiday angst hasn’t set in yet.
The so-called Most Wonderful Time Of The Year can actually be a bit of a nightmare for the emotionally sensitive, especially those with some family friction. And while I hate to resort to stereotypes, it’s not exactly rare for people in recovery to fall into one or both of those categories. Depending on your particular cocktail of neuroses and emotional weak spots, the holidays may leave you either severely frazzled or depressed. This time of year, except for Halloween—not known to cause too many headaches—the holidays are still a distant speck on the horizon. And while some people find Thanksgiving decidedly uncomfortable, in most of the country the last week of November barely counts as fall anymore.
3. Speaking of Halloween.
Halloween is a very sobriety-friendly holiday. As a rule, anything that’s awesome for kids is awesome for sober grown-ups. In general, the parties that are fun without alcohol are the ones where there’s something else to do besides watch people get wasted, and costumes and candy are the ultimate distraction. Creative types can get seriously into the one-upsmanship side of the dress-up game. Play it right, and will be so busy checking out your impeccable Star-Lord get-up that they won’t even notice the lack of a drink in your hand. Then there are the endless horror flicks and late-night theme park fright-fests to get the adrenaline pumping. If there’s one thing Halloween isn’t, it’s boring.
4. It’s the best season, period.
Let’s face it, the temptation to drink can arise whether we’re feeling good or terrible. In fact, sometimes contentment breeds the most dangerous thought patternss of all. Hey, I feel great! I feel..recovered. I wonder if maybe, since I feel so good, I could maybe handle a drink. We’re not always drinking to drown feelings of sadness, anger or fear. But for the most part, problematic drinking is self-medication, and the better we feel in sobriety, the better we feel about sobriety. And whether it’s the panoply of delicious seasonal goodies, the end of the stifling heat, the excuse to bust out fashionable boots and sweaters, or the dazzle of the turning leaves, fall brings a lot more comfort and joy than any other season, at least in my book.