With fall now arriving, football season, and subsequently day drinking season, is in full swing. For those with past or current substance abuse issues, this can be one of the most difficult times of the year to stay sober. Put simply, there’s more temptation present. Don’t lose hope this football season however, as there are many ways in which you can maintain total sobriety. From self-reflection to game day preparation, there’s a plethora of things you can do to both enjoy football and remain sober. Without further ado let’s jump in.
The first and foremost action you should take before considering anything else is an honest self-reflection of your situation. You know better than anyone else what temptations you can and cannot handle. For example, you may be a current or recent substance abuser, so going over to a house party full of alcohol may not be the best idea.
Correspondingly, if you have been sober for months or years and feel confident in your ability to resist, you may be more inclined to attend the same party. It’s essential to be completely honest with yourself here, as removing yourself from a dicey situation may end up being the best course of action in the long run.
Take It Slow By Staying Home
The best thing to do may be nothing at all! As previously stated, you should be extra cautious, at least initially, while trying to gain an understanding of situations that you can and cannot handle. Therefore, it may be in your best interest to simply stay home during football season and enjoy the games on your own terms. As enticing as it is to enjoy fun experiences with friends or family, if you aren’t ready to confront tempting environments you may be putting yourself at extreme risk for relapse. Staying home is a fantastic way to ensure your sobriety and well-being while enjoying football!
Surround Yourself With People You Trust
If you do venture out of your own home, make sure to surround yourself with friends and family that you trust dearly. Similar to staying home on your own, if you can surround yourself with positive influences your experience should be a happy one. As long as everyone understands what you are trying to refrain from while hanging out, there’s no reason why you shouldn’t be able to celebrate football season with those closest to you.
It’s essential to communicate with those around you. If you are uncomfortable in a situation speak up. Don’t wait until a mistake is made or you do something you’ll regret; instead talk to someone about whatever issue you are experiencing and try to find a resolution. I cannot stress the importance of this. I know some of the conflicts you may be dealing with are personal, yet there’s no way for those around you to understand how you are feeling unless you communicate with them. In the end, it’s nice to have peace of mind knowing that everyone is on the same page.
Hyper-focus On Your Recovery
The best way to stay on your recovery path is to make it your number one priority. While football season offers a multitude of distractions, it’s not impossible to keep your focus on the things that matter most. Check your priorities and make sure they are in order before participating in activities associated with football season. Be certain you are ready for difficult situations and assure yourself that the work you have done to sustain sobriety will continue going forward. When in doubt, talk to those who have helped you reach the point in recovery you are currently at.
Ask For an Alcohol Free Seating Section
For those of you that like to attend football games it can be especially difficult to resist alcohol before, during, and after the contest. However, certain stadiums have alcohol-free sections to sit in and enjoy the game. Consult your local football organization and inquire about the availability of these special seats. It’s a marvelous way to enjoy the game with other fans around you who all have similar secondary objectives while attending. This idea ties in well with the notion of surrounding yourself with like-minded people.
Don’t Be Afraid to Speak Up
Perhaps the most important aspect of staying sober during football season is knowing when your limits have been tested. You have to have the mental wherewithal to understand when those surrounding temptations are too much to overcome. There is no shame in telling others how you feel (communication), or even leaving the situation altogether to prevent a relapse. Remember, you are in charge of your own decisions and personal health should trump any feelings of disappointment or sadness due to leaving a party or game.
If you surround yourself with trustworthy people then this should be an easier, more comfortable thing to do. Those around you shouldn’t be upset or disappointed with you for speaking up, in fact they should proud of you for having the confidence to share such important feelings with them. Always remember to vocalize any concerns you might experience while watching football with friends and family; even if uncomfortable, that’s a major reason why your friends and family are there with you.
All in all, football season is a time for enjoyment and fun with those who are closest to you. Don’t let lingering demons take over your social life. Instead, have the confidence to communicate your feelings to those around you and find fulfillment in social settings once again! Remember, planning ahead makes your whole experience more relaxing, and staying home is a perfectly respectable decision to make. In totality, you known your own limitations so determine the best course of action for yourself and enjoy the football season!
At Landmark Recovery, we believe in a holistic approach to recovery that goes beyond what common drug and alcohol recovery centers. We help addicts take the first steps towards achieving and maintaining sobriety and set them up with tools for success that they can utilize for the rest of their lives. Our caring staff is trained in residential treatment, individual and group therapy, as well as intensive outpatient and detox treatment.