College football season is notorious for tailgating parties and beer but it’s still a favorite pastime for many individuals in recovery. Staying sober during college football season may be an additional challenge, especially in early recovery, but it’s definitely not impossible. The most important thing you can do during this time of year is to surround yourself with sober friends who support your recovery goals—even in the midst of all the college football excitement.
The good news is you don’t have to miss any of the excitement and you can still have fun watching games and spending time with friends. Here are seven tips to help you stay sober this college football season.
1. Ask yourself if you are ready to do this.
College football games will be full of sights, smells, and sounds that may be triggers for you. As a result, it’s extremely important that you do some reflecting and really ask yourself if you are mature enough in your sobriety to do this. If you don’t think you’re ready, don’t sweat it! There’s always next year, but for now, your recovery must come first.
2. Consider staying home to watch the game.
If you feel at all unsure about your ability to go to a game without drinking or using drugs, then it might be best to watch the game at home. Some of the other residents in your sober living home might be feeling the same way, so you could always get together to plan your own game day at home with snacks, non-alcoholic beverages, and fun activities.
3. Make a plan for game day.
In potentially difficult situations like this, you should always have a plan. Know how you will respond when someone asks you if you’d like a drink or why you’re not drinking. Figure out how you’ll keep yourself preoccupied to avoid alcohol at the tailgating party. Choose your own non-alcoholic drink of choice for the game and bring it with you. Planning your responses to any possible scenario is a great way to prepare yourself for attending a college football game sober.
4. Go to the game with people you trust.
It goes without saying that it’s much easier to avoid drugs and alcohol when you’re surrounded by friends who are also sober or who support your recovery goals. More than likely, someone else in your transitional housing program will want to go to the game with you, so it might be easier than you think to get some sober friends involved in the plans.
5. Coordinate with your sober coach or sponsor.
Eudaimonia transitional living homes all provide recovery support programs that help you establish a recovery support circle, which includes your sober coach and a sponsor. Before heading to any college football game, let your sober coach or sponsor know where you’re going and that you’ll need them to be available in case of an emergency. If you feel overwhelmed or like you’re going to give into your cravings at any point during the game, you should call your sober coach or sponsor immediately. It’s extremely helpful to know that you have someone in your corner to help you if you get stuck in a hard place.
6. Tailgate with the Recovery First Tailgaters.
The Recovery First Tailgaters are a group of sober tailgaters that first started at Louisiana State University. They don’t care what team you root for as long as you respect their recovery goals and agree to not use any mind-altering substances while tailgating with them. They have been to the University of Texas in the past and may be at a game near your sober living home in the future.
7. Enjoy the food instead.
Instead of focusing on the alcohol and/or drugs you’re missing out on, simply enjoy the food. At a football game, you have the chance to indulge in a juicy hamburger or hot dog, snack on chips all day long, and let loose a little bit. So why not enjoy it.
If you’re still not sure how to approach college football season, talk to your sober coach or your sober peers. Their support is key to surviving college football season sober and it is a major factor in the ongoing sobriety of individuals in sober living homes. In fact, one study found that residents cited peer support as one of the top motivators for maintaining their sobriety, which should be no surprise.1 The comradery that is experienced in this type of group home environment provides an opportunity to engage with one another in a way that promotes ongoing sobriety, even in the face of challenging situations like college football games, and the benefits are endless. As a sober living resident at Eudaimonia, you will benefit from:
- Shared goals
- Honest feedback on personal issues
- Family dynamic within the sober living home
- Accountability (to your own behavior and to contributing to a healthy sober living environment)
- Ongoing recovery support programs
Being sober at a college football game doesn’t have to be a miserable experience, and it definitely shouldn’t be something you dread. There are plenty of ways you can have a great time without risking your recovery. Put these tips into action and enjoy the current college football season with your sober peers.