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Creating a Game Plan for a Safe and Sober Super Bowl Experience

The Super Bowl is finally here! Football fans in Philadelphia, New England, across the country, and even around the world have been looking forward to this day since the season began in August. As the Eagles take on the Patriots in what is sure to be a thriller, those struggling with recovery or looking to minimize substance use will work to navigate the potential pitfalls game day brings. Many will celebrate with wings and burgers, but excessive alcohol use is all too common at parties.

It’s natural for everyone to want to enjoy the celebration with close friends and family, but it’s important to have your wits about you, and that starts with planning your party strategy in advance. We also encourage those in recovery from opioids to be mindful—they may be triggered by alcohol even if it’s not their primary substance of choice. Here are five tips on how to safely enjoy the Super Bowl:

Bring your own (non-alcoholic) beverage: There’s no shame in showing up with sparkling water, soda, or juice as a gift for the host. Pick a non-alcoholic drink you enjoy and stick with that the entire time. If you eliminate other drinking options you are less likely to choose alcohol.

Enlist a buddy: The buddy system isn't just for elementary school field trips! If you're steering clear of alcohol, identify a friend who's supportive and invite them to join you. Have someone with you who understands and encourages you and will also not drink alcohol.

Safety first: Have an exit strategy prepared so you can excuse yourself before things get too rambunctious. Make sure you have a plan to get home safely. You may even want to have a 12-step meeting lined up so if you’re feeling triggered, you have immediate help.

Don't feel obligated to attend: It’s okay to say no if you’re not sure how you’re going to feel when around alcohol. Your self-care is most important and a good friend or family member should understand. However, if watching football is a trigger regardless of where you are, we encourage you not to isolate and find a safe space and a group of friends in recovery to watch with.

Seek support: Whether you’re two weeks sober or five years – there’s no shame in reaching out to a trusted professional if you are concerned about your behavior and learning more about the options available to you.