How to Avoid Fumbling Your Recovery During the Super Bowl

Super Bowl Sunday is one of the most-watched sporting events of the year, a day when millions of Americans get comfy on the couch, break out the nachos and spend the day cheering (or jeering) the action on the screen.

The big game also means Super Bowl parties. Whether the gathering is in someone’s home or in a bar, there’s a good chance there will be a lot of beer and liquor flowing – potentially triggering for those in recovery from alcohol and drug addiction.

Here’s how to avoid fumbling your recovery on Super Bowl Sunday.

Prepare for all of your addiction triggers. Being around people consuming alcohol and drugs is an obvious trigger for many people. But Super Bowl Sunday can be triggering in other ways too.

For some, eating junk food or foods high in fat or salt may be associated with past drug or alcohol use. To combat the urge to indulge in triggering foods, bring healthy snacks to the party, such as vegetables and dip, turkey chili, or a hearty green salad. With so many people on diets this time of year, you won’t be the only person in the room happy to have something to munch on other than potato chips and chicken wings.

Consider tuning out the commercials. The Super Bowl is known for its commercials – a 2013 survey by Lab42 market research firm actually found more people say their favorite thing about the Super Bowl is the ads than the game itself. The problem is that many of those commercials feature people partying and drinking alcohol. An analysis of 103 commercials that aired during Super Bowl 2017 found that nearly 13% included references to enjoying alcohol, and that partying, tradition and relaxation were common themes of those ads. You may want to think about whether hearing “Dilly Dilly” one more time is worth jeopardizing sobriety for.

Host a sober get together. If you want to enjoy the spectacle but want to avoid an environment where alcohol and other substances are present, consider hosting an alcohol free party. Serve lots of non-alcoholic drinks. If you want to get creative, offer teas from around the world to sample, or set up an Italian soda bar – all you need is a bucket of ice, some festive cups and straws, sparkling water or club soda, and a selection of flavored syrups (such as Torani).

You can also put the focus on food by asking everyone to bring their favorite dish to share.

Stick to your sober routine. If your sober routine includes exercise in the morning, meditation, calling your sponsor and a meeting in the afternoon, stick with it. If you need to miss part of the game, so be it. Catch the second half or record the game and watch the end when you get home.

Punt if you need to. If you’re worried that participating in Super Bowl parties will be too triggering, go ahead and punt. Statistics show about 48% of Americans watch the Super Bowl – which means that as big as this pseudo-holiday can seem, more than half don’t bother to tune in.

Game time is a great day to catch a movie, go out to dinner, visit a spa, tuck into a good book, scour the sale racks at the mall, try a new recipe or marathon-watch a TV series you’ve been meaning to catch up on.