American adults, college students, and everyone in between takes part in attending live football games, watching football, or tailgaiting. Watching football or any sport with friends and family is entertaining and a fun way to spend time together.
Overall, there is plenty of fun to be had. However, many of these parties center around heavy drinking or binge drinking. Tailgate parties have an endless supply of every alcoholic drink imaginable. Every stadium is plastered in alcohol branding and sponsored by an alcoholic beverage company.
Every which way you turn, people are drinking alcohol, which makes being sober at these events challenging but not impossible. Whether someone is in recovery or choosing to remain sober, there are practical ways to avoid the damaging effects of alcohol.
Challenges of Staying Sober at Sporting Events
Anyone in recovery or who wants to remain sober at a sporting event may face some of the following challenges:
- Repeatedly being offered drinks by the host and other guests.
- Everyone around you, such as friends and acquaintances, drinking socially.
- Most pregame parties, such as tailgate parties, involve drinking alcohol.
- Constant advertising about alcohol and drink specials.
- Constantly being asked why you are not drinking.
- Many people tell you just to have one drink.
The best way to overcome these challenges is to have a plan, be confident in your ability to say no, and focus on having fun and enjoying the game.
Practical Ways to Stay Sober at Sporting Events
Remind Yourself Why You Stopped Using
Before you head to a tailgate party, write down all the reasons why you became sober and why you want to remain sober. It is similar to keeping a gratitude journal. Positive reinforcement could be carried with you and looked back on when you need a reminder.
Go With Support
If you are in early recovery or simply do not want to partake in drinking or using drugs, having support helps. Like-minded individuals can support each other to remain drug and alcohol-free when the environment is full of people doing the opposite. Find a friend or sponsor who is willing to be by your side; it can make all the difference.
Tell People You Are Sober
Do not be afraid to tell the people around you that you are sober. If this is done early on, it can be easier to avoid awkward conversations. The other option is to rehearse an answer to give people as to why you are not drinking.
Enjoy the Food and Games
Tailgate parties are about more than just alcohol. There can be excellent food, and the game could be amazing. There are many things at tailgate parties that could distract a person from wanting to consume alcohol.