Football fans across the country are getting ready for the biggest game of the year. Whether that involves major Super Bowl festivities, a small gathering, or even a Zoom watch party, alcohol is a common factor in most Super Bowl celebrations. This can pose a challenge if you’re a football fan in recovery.
If you’ve quit or cut back on alcohol, try the following tips to help you manage triggers and control your drinking this Super Bowl Sunday:
1. Know Your Triggers
One of the most important parts of maintaining recovery is knowing your triggers. What feelings, people, places, or sensations trigger your urge to drink? Which triggers are manageable, and which do you need to avoid altogether—at least for the moment?
If you go to an event, have a plan for managing cravings when they come up. Practicing mindfulness, having a friend to call, or simply taking a walk if things get intense are all useful strategies. But if watching the game with old beer buddies is going to pose too big a risk, there’s also no shame in skipping the party this year.
Be honest and kind with yourself, and be willing to prioritize your recovery.
2. Eat + Hydrate
If you do attend a party, and plan to drink in moderation, be sure to eat and hydrate before and throughout the evening. Food absorbs alcohol and reduces its effects, while having a glass of water between each drink can help you pace yourself. This makes it easier to stick to your limits, make healthy choices, and enjoy the Super Bowl safely.
3. Bring a Sober Buddy
Bring a sober friend or accountability buddy with you. This can make you feel less alone in avoiding alcohol, and give you someone to talk to if things get difficult. And while it’s not your friend’s job to monitor you all night, it’s helpful to have someone asking you, “Hey, didn’t you just want to drink two?” instead of passing you shots while you watch the big game.
4. Set a Limit
Once you’re caught up in a party atmosphere, it can be hard to set limits. Before the night even begins, choose a maximum number of drinks. Tell people your plan, and also create your own accountability system.
The coin trick can be helpful: Place some coins in your back pocket for each drink you are allowed. Then move them to the front as you finish each drink. When your back pocket is empty, you know it’s time to stop!
5. Hold a Non-Alcoholic Drink
One way to avoid peer pressure or drink offers is to simply keep a drink in your hand. Choose a non-alcoholic beverage you like, and sip it all evening. In all likelihood, people will be too absorbed with the game to notice what’s in your glass. This will help you avoid well-meaning offers for “another beer,” and make it easier to have a sober Super Bowl.
Read More: Keeping Party Drinking Under Control
6. Have an Exit Plan
Along with setting drink limits, you should also create a plan in case you feel too tempted, and need to leave. Prepare a good excuse in advance. Decide on a comfortable, non-triggering place to go afterwards.
Also consider asking a friend if you can call them, or see if there’s someone at the Super Bowl party willing to leave with you if things get intense. This makes it easier to get out of there quickly if you find yourself too triggered.
7. Host a Sober Super Bowl Party
If the risk of being around alcohol at someone else’s party is too much for you, why not host a sober party of your own? Prepare alternate refreshments, additional sober activities, and make it clear the party is alcohol-free. Who knows: You may have other friends who are grateful you’ve provided a more sober environment. If you’re a social person, and don’t want to drink, this can be a win-win.
Another option is to organize a virtual watch party with friends and family. Wear your jerseys and come prepared with your own snacks and sodas. This way it’s easier to control what’s in your immediate environment, and everyone can have a good time!
Help for Controlling Your Drinking
Whether it’s Super Bowl Sunday, holiday gatherings, or any other time of year, many people find it hard to control their drinking in social situations.
If you’re struggling to limit your consumption or stay sober, there are new, online options for quitting or cutting back. Get coaching support, digital tools, and even anti-craving medication—all from an app on your smartphone. You don’t even need to identify as an alcoholic to join!