October 31, 2021
The long-awaited football season has arrived, and though it’s an exciting time for football fans across the country, if you’re in recovery, you may be tackling some mixed feelings about the season. The thought of not drinking on game day is sure to spark some feelings of worry and anxiety no matter how much time you have.
For years sporting events have been largely associated with the consumption of alcohol and football is no exception. From tailgates, to stadiums, to bars, and even your own home, the pressure to drink while cheering on your favorite team is prevalent. And although there is pressure, drinking is not a requirement to have a good time this football season. In recovery, you may hear your sober support network talk about ‘finding a new way of life,’ but that doesn’t mean you have to give up your love of sports to maintain your sobriety – it just means planning ahead to avoid triggers for relapse.
Fear not, fans – read on to learn Recovery Centers of America’s strategy for implementing a game plan to tackle this football season sober.
Football fans know in the game, there are two sides – offensive and defense. To play on the defense means to be reactionary, on the other hand, to play on the offense means to be proactive and come up with a strategy.
In the rooms of 12-Step fellowships, you often hear members talk about being vigilant of ‘people, places, and things’ that might trigger temptation to use. When it comes to planning your game day activities this year, instead of playing defense and quickly reacting in the moment to triggers that may come up, be on the offense. Take some time to think about the people, places, and things that were present during your active addiction and come up with a new way to watch the game that doesn’t include these triggers.
Game day can also be safely spent with friends or family outside of your
sober community, but be a little choosy. You’ll want to be sure you
surround yourself with those you can be honest about your recovery with and trust that they will
hold you accountable.
In early recovery, it’s a good idea to steer clear of the stadium for a while. While there isn’t anything that quite compares to watching the big game in an arena filled with fans, it can also be difficult to navigate in sobriety because of the emphasis on drinking. You may also want to avoid bars and public spaces that only serve alcohol as the environment can create some high-risk situations for relapse. Remember, while you may feel strong in your recovery walking into these spaces, at any given moment, anything can change.
Watching the game from home, a restaurant, or a friend’s house may be a
safer, more enjoyable option for you. Before making plans, open a dialogue
and create some boundaries with your friends and loved ones about your
recovery and how they can best support you on game day. What that means for
you is entirely up to you. You might not feel comfortable with having
alcohol nearby or watching your loved one’s drink in front of you. Maybe
simply asking your host to provide non-alcoholic drink options would make
the environment feel safer for your recovery. Most importantly, be sure to
ask your friends and loved ones not to offer you anything that may put your recovery in jeopardy.
When all else fails, stay home. Sometimes a situation is easier controlled when it’s on your home turf. So, if you’re feeling uneasy about the idea of going out for the big game, remember that there is nothing wrong in staying home to lessen the temptation to drink.
No matter what your game plan looks like for this football season, you
don’t have to allow the temptation to drink to place you at risk for how
far you have come in your recovery journey. Just like in football, every
yard counts. By taking the steps and being proactive to plan ahead come
game day, the odds will be in your favor to cross that goal line.
If you or someone you know is struggling with substance use disorder, don’t wait. Call 1-800-RECOVERY today. Recovery Centers of America’s Mission Center team is awaiting your call 24/7.