The Super Bowl and partying go hand in hand. From the endless commercials for different, watered-down beers to the champagne bottles popped and sprayed during the locker room celebration, the relationship between substances and celebrations is made clear.
As addicts in recovery, those advertisements and party invitations may be tempting and even allow us to create justifications for using. We may minimize a potential relapse in our heads by saying things like, “but it’s just a one beer,” “everyone else is smoking weed here, I deserve it too,” or, “my drug of choice is heroin, so I can drink.” A relapse is a relapse, regardless of the substance, and we will face grave consequences if we choose to use.
We need to ask ourselves: Is our recovery worth one football game? Staying clean and sober during a holiday that is centered around using and drinking can be tricky, but it’s possible. Utilizing our tools of recovery will help us get through this year’s Super Bowl without a relapse. Here are some helpful hints:
Celebrate with Other People in Recovery – Involving ourselves in recovery and building support groups will grant us opportunities for good, clean and sober fun! Local 12-step groups usually host events to celebrate holidays. Our friends in recovery may be throwing a party. Or maybe we can put on a party of our own! Finding sober people to watch the game with can make using seem a lot less tempting.
Avoid Bars and Parties Where Substances will be Used – For some of us, bars and house parties can be major relapse triggers. If we used to spend every Super Bowl out bar-hopping or getting wasted at our friends’ houses, it might be extremely difficult to stay clean in those environments. Sometimes, it’s just best to avoid a potentially dangerous situation in the first place.
Go to A Meeting – If we attend any mutual support organizations like NA, AA, or SMART Recovery, we could plan on going to a meeting. Hitting a meeting before the game could give us the hope and confidence we need to stay clean throughout the festivities. For some of us, after could be better, assuring us that not using was the right choice. If the game is becoming too much for us or we don’t think it would be a good idea to participate in the celebrations at all, we could spend our time at a meeting, in a safe, substance-free environment.
Communicate Your Needs – If we happen to find ourselves at a Super Bowl party where drugs and alcohol are present, we can let some people we trust know that we do not want to partake. Those people can keep us accountable and help us say no when offered a drink or drug. If we express what we need to not relapse, those around us will be better able to provide support.
Stay in Contact with Your Support Network – Although celebrating with friends and family outside of recovery may feel safe, many of them are probably not addicts and are able to safely use substances, which places us in a situation that could enhance our risk of relapse. We need other recovering addicts who understand what we’re feeling to help us stay clean during the Super Bowl. We could bring along a friend in recovery or stay connected with people in our support network via text or phone calls.
Relapse during the Super Bowl is absolutely avoidable. We can watch the game, enjoy ourselves, and stay sober, so long as we put in the effort. We didn’t get clean to be miserable – we can live life, have genuine fun, and actually remember what happened during the game the next day!