Rainbows and Batman Take Halloween By Storm


Day 274: 9 MONTHS TODAY!

To lessen the pain of my first sober Halloween in over a decade, I impressed myself by coordinating and purchasing tickets for an event called “The Blaze.”

I proposed the idea to fellow sober-rovers, and some asked if it was a weed convention; why else would “blaze,” in the title? I told them no, it was a pumpkin extravaganza, with over 5,000 hand-carved jack-o-lanterns.  Despite not knowing any details about the thing, several of us RSVP’d and began planning our Halloween costumes.

My getup consisted of rainbow suspenders, combat boots, a white tutu, and an electric blue wig over two and a half feet long.  In case there was any confusion about what I was supposed to be (a rainbow) I bought 3 boxes of Skittles and shook them vigorously.

Batman aka my partner in crime arrived at my house in a Patagonia jacket and jeans; not exactly the Batman costume I was hoping for.  He said his Bat-suit had turned into more of a sweat suit, but assured me he would change at the event. I would’ve protested longer but there were 150 pieces of candy in the Bat mobile.

Thirty chocolate bars and 45 minutes later we arrived, parked, and within seconds realized we were the only adults dressed up—actually I was the only adult dressed up, because my friend Batman was still a version of “Bruce Wayne” from the suburbs.  He opened the trunk and looked at his bat-armor reluctantly.

“You have to wear it,” I said, as a family not sporting any Halloween-wear walked by.

We struck a deal that made me feel better.  He wore just the Batman head and black rubber gloves with his regular attire, and held a light-sabor that made noise like a broken barcode scanner.  While walking with the rest of the foot traffic, laughing at the sheer ridiculousness, I had a perplexing moment of clarity; I didn’t care what anyone else was thinking…which was good, because of what happened next.

Half-assed Batman and I got in line behind an array of teenagers waiting to enter The Blaze. As the laws of waiting in lines go, we idly moved forward even though no one had advanced.  Our friends hadn’t showed up, but we were anxious to get going since it had started raining. People in line kept glancing at us, probably because we looked like challenged adult-children, who got lost trick-or-treating. Also I figured my wig was probably pretty straggly at that point.

Finally folks started moving, but not forward…everyone was dispersing; suddenly Batman and I were standing on a cleared patch of grass, facing a plastic orange fence between the event and the woods.

We hadn’t been waiting in a line at all, just standing awkwardly close to a group of strangers who were all friends.  No wonder they were looking at us! I bet they went through a round of, “Do you know that guy with the batman head and toy light-sabor? No? Why is that girl shaking a box of Skittles?”

Once the situation dawned on us, we doubled over in laughter. Batboy had to rip off his mask and I just about passed out from laughing so hard; I’m almost certain that any and all bystanders perceived us as wasted or on drugs.

The rest of the night was equally as comical and disastrous.  By the time we met up with our friend (dressed as an astronaut), found the real line, and entered the much anticipated Blaze, half the jack-o-lanterns had been snuffed from the rainstorm and the path was jam packed to a standstill with normal folks who had enough foresight to bring umbrellas.

After a unanimous “let’s come back next year” we retreated in high spirits.

The best part about last night was that our plans totally failed, but Halloween was still a complete success.  Blow and whiskey were my short cuts to feel self-assured, and converse “normally” without my thoughts interjecting doubts every two seconds; last night I stuck out like a sore thumb with complete confidence, and had a blast.

For the first time since God knows when, my mind wasn’t littered with unfounded suspicions about what “everyone” was thinking. I don’t have to point figures in unnecessary self defense.  Who knew wearing a tutu could be so freeing.

This morning I woke up with a raging hangover. Sugar hangover that is.  I’m going to revisit step one and add candy to my list of powerlessness…and The Blaze will go on my list for next year.

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8 thoughts on “Rainbows and Batman Take Halloween By Storm

  1. Richard says:

    I live just a few miles north of where they hold the Blaze and have been a couple of times. It’s fun, but I don’t recall ever seeing anyone in costume there. Good for you for making the effort.

    When I was drinking I had those same feelings of self consciousness. I think the root of it was shame about my addiction, my powerlessness over alcohol and the way it ruled my life. I always felt like I had something to hide, something to be embarrassed about. One of the gifts of sobriety is exactly that self assurance you mentioned.

    I’m working through a little trial with my inner addictive beast now. I had two badly infected molars extracted last Thursday. It was bad. Two hours in the chair bad. And now I have a lot of swelling and pain.

    I asked the oral surgeon for Vicodin because I know that for the first few nights I wouldn’t be able to sleep without it, and he gave it to me. My regular dentist knows I’m in recovery but I don’t think this one does. Not that my regular dentist has a problem rx’ing it for me. And I’ve taken Vicodin plenty of other times in sobriety without a problem. I break them in half and take a half with some ibuprofen. A full tablet would really kick my ass.

    But I like it, and I can see how people could easily get dependent on it. That’s a little scary, probably because it reminds me of the bad old days when I really needed my next drink.

    Your first year in sobriety is a great time to establish new traditions. Props for jumping in head first.

  2. Anonymous says:

    Here is what I think. Which is totally irrelevant to how you choose to live your life.

    Yesterday is gone, and tomorrow may never come. So what matters is now. Although what we did in the past matters, good or bad, we can choose to change that. But the important thing is to enjoy the moment. Dwelling on the past does no good, and wondering about what is to come is pure speculation.

    Live the moment as best you can be, be a good person, and appreciate what you have.

    Use today to be a good person, and appreciate what is around you. Like the fall leaves, or a pet. The rest will take care of itself. Don’t count your life away in days or numbers. It’s irrelevant in the big scheme of things. What matters is what we do NOW!!

    So feel good about yourself, and appreciate what you have. Because you have much.

    And that egg is over cooked.


    • Richard says:

      Counting days in recovery is a bit of a special case. It provides a sense of accomplishment and helps the person feel less powerless over their drug of choice.

      There’s also a certain nihilism to the “live in the moment” approach to life when taken to extremes. I admire my cats ability to do this, but it seems to have a negative effect on their ability to work towards goals.

      Faith celebrating 9 months in sobriety is a statement of joy and empowerment, and that’s a very good thing.

  3. Thank you Richard, for the kudos and support…and for applauding my friend and I dressing to the nines for The Blaze. Next year I may even bump it up a notch..

    Vicodin would scare me too. I’m on an antidepressant and I made the doc swear there was no way to abuse it.

    Walt, the egg was covered in sriracha sauce, so really that’s all that matters!! I do completely agree with life being full gratitude, awareness, and betterment..however if I don’t day count I turn into Gollum…See here for more information:


    • Richard says:

      I read your Gollum post. I know him. Okay, maybe I was him.

      Alcoholics are addicts. Chronic drinking changes your brain chemistry. You get cravings when it’s not there to complete the altered chemistry. Withdrawal is painful and medically dangerous. I had to do a seven day inpatient detox lo those many years ago.

      Keep counting days, mindful that every day is both a gift and a reward for the hard work you put into sobriety. I’m really looking forward to celebrating my 20 years next spring. I have so much to be thankful for now, and I know that if I hadn’t gotten the help I did, I’d probably be dead now.

      I haven’t been to a meeting in years. I didn’t make a concious decision to stop going, I just moved and didn’t bother to find a new home group. I also felt like I was in a stable place in my sobriety, had learned what AA had to teach me and had new responsibilites and demands on my time (like kids :). Finding your blog has reminded me how important it is to support people in early sobriety and pay it forward, as so many good people did for me.

      • Paying it forward, yes! I haven’t heard that expression in AA yet..or maybe I heard it but didn’t actually hear it. Either way, it perfectly describes the program. (Ain’t no gram like a program)

  4. Anonymous says:

    I hope this lesson sticks with you. I’m still waiting for the day when we can dress you up as “Elf” and soberly, and definitely stoopidly, prance around NYC. Round and a round in the revolving doors we go.

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