For a sports fan in recovery, football season can be full of relapse triggers. So often, sporting events are associated with tailgating, bars, alcohol and partying. But there are ways to enjoy all the fun that football brings while staying sober and healthy.
Here are 4 tips that can help you do just that:
- Avoid trigger situations
For those early in their recovery, it may be important to avoid social settings where alcohol is featured. Instead of going out to a bar or the stadium to watch the game, someone in recovery could host their own viewing or plan to watch with other sober friends in an alcohol-free environment. Put the focus on the game or the food instead of drinking.
- Make it a family-friendly event
Many people make football a family affair. Join up with friends with children, and enjoy a family-friendly game of football in the yard. Cardiovascular activity is good for your heart and circulation and can boost dopamine levels in the brain. Again, keep the focus on the game and the fun it brings.
- Keep the focus on football
That doesn’t mean you need to stay away from the field forever. Maybe you just skip the pre-game tailgate or plan an alcohol-free tailgate. If you’re attending college football, alcohol won’t be sold inside the stadium, which will help remove that temptation. You’ll be free to enjoy the game and focus on the fun atmosphere inside the stadium.
- Find a buddy
If someone is at the point in their recovery where they’re comfortable being near others who are drinking, it’s still smart to have supportive friends around. Attending or watching games with even one sober friend who knows about your recovery can help. That buddy can help guide good decisions, avoid temptations and provide support when it’s time to leave a potentially unhealthy or triggering situation. Knowing you’re not the only one staying sober at a game can keep you in the right mindset.
Being in recovery does not mean that all social situations must be avoided, especially if it’s for a loved sport. Planning ahead and being aware of possible triggers is important to maintaining sobriety during football season. So put on that jersey and cheer your team on!