Aside from New Year’s Eve, there may be no single-day event in the U.S. where alcohol plays as big of a role as it does on that Big Game day in February. Even if you avoid the temptations in your home, there are triggers at parties, events, and even in the commercials on TV. So rather than avoiding the Big Game altogether, we’ve pulled together some ideas to help you enjoy this great American pastime while maintaining your hard-earned sobriety.
Here are a few ideas – please add your own tips in the comments below:
Declare yourself the Designated Driver.
In recent years, this title has gained support from friends and family members concerned with their own safety. It is rare for people to question your reason for nominating yourself for this task, and it alleviates you from feeling the need to explain to people why you’re not drinking. Be aware, though: by declaring yourself the designated driver, you’ve given up your option to leave early if you’re feeling uncomfortable, since you now will be driving others home.
Start with a Plan, and a Non-Alcoholic Drink Choice.
Being prepared is the best way to protect yourself against potential setbacks. If you know you are going to be faced with friends offering you drinks, or asking why you don’t have one, have a response in mind. Bring your own non-alcoholic beverage choice with you, so that you’re not left with few options; and keep one in hand at all times. That way, you’re never feeling like the odd one out.
Bring a Friend.
Invite a supportive (or better yet, sober) friend to keep you company. Their presence alone will boost your confidence in yourself, and you’ll know that at least one person in the room knows what you’re facing, and is looking out for your best interests.
Offer a Distraction.
This is a great time to challenge your friends to a team competition, and it offers the perfect distraction to keep everyone busy and focused on more than their beverages. If you’re hosting or attending a party, suggest one of these fun games, and split up into two teams based on those in the game.
Stick to the Food.
The Big Game is a great time to introduce your friends to your award-winning seven-layer-dip, nachos grande, or whatever other concoction you’ve been working on. And playing host with the food will keep your hands, and your mind, busy with helpful activities.
Think of a great (sober) reward you can give yourself for achieving your goals, and keep it in mind throughout the night. Extra helpings of dessert at the party? Go for it! That little gift you’ve been thinking of for yourself? Buy it the following weekend! Positive rewards keep us focused on achieving our goals, so if you need to treat yourself to a little something extra to keep you focused on the positive, then just do it. After all, you’re saving a lot of calories, and plenty of money, by not indulging in those other bad habits.
If Necessary, Throw in the Towel.
Maybe this year is too early to confront a room full of your old friends and a TV blaring beer commercials. Don’t beat yourself up over it. The great thing about the Big Game is that it happens year after year after year. You’re not missing anything by throwing in the towel for this one. And you’ll feel much better when you wake up the next day knowing that you stayed on the right path.
We’d love to hear your thoughts on these ideas, or other tips you could share with those managing their recovery in the comments below. And if you’d like to receive articles like this one regularly, register for our monthly email newsletter here.
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