Throwing a Viewing Party for the Big Game this Sunday?
Here’s a Useful Tip No One is Talking About!
By Jessica Kantor
The Big Game comes around once a year. With over 111 million viewers, many American households treat it like a modern holiday. Whether you’re really into sports or not, football viewing parties have something for everyone: football, funny commercials, an entertaining halftime show, endless amounts of food and snacks, high energy, and very often: alcohol.
Although alcohol is a big part of many viewing parties, it wouldn’t be accurate to think of the Big Game as a holiday similar to St. Patrick’s Day or Cinco de Mayo, two that the American public have evolved into alcohol-centric times. Football is watched, loved, and celebrated by both drinkers and nondrinkers alike. The party you’re hosting, or attending, will very likely be attending by someone in either active addiction or recovery (since the population sees more than 10% with the disease of addiction).
Nicole Vasquez, Alumni Manager at American Addiction Centers, is one of thousands in recovery who want to increase awareness about the sober lifestyle.
“Those in recovery from any drug often commit to a lifetime of sobriety, including alcohol. It is a new way of living! We do recover and we have fun doing it,” says Vasquez.
This means that those in recovery are still going out and having fun, and many will be watching the Big Game alongside their friends and loved ones who still drink.
“I think creating a welcoming environment for your party is important because you don’t always know if you have a friend or a loved one who is living the sober lifestyle,” adds Vasquez. “Not everyone is necessarily open about it, so creating a safe space and already having the idea going into your party is really going above and beyond and shows that you get it and you accept them.”
What does this mean for the average viewing party? No heavy lifting that you wouldn’t be doing for other guests.
“If you’re a good host or hostess then you’re already thinking about each guest and ways you can make them feel comfortable,” says Missy Pollack, Alumni Coordinator at Recovery First Treatment Center in Florida. “You know whether someone is vegan, or kosher, or allergic to nuts, or allergic to your dogs…You think about these guests and you prep before hand, it is the same for those living sober lifestyles.”
Super Bowl Party Non-Alcoholic Drink Ideas
A tip for hosting a sober-friendly viewing party is to offer more than just alcohol, water, and soda. There are a variety of types of juices, mixes, and carbonated beverages that add a variety to the party, even for those who will be drinking. Another great way to create a welcoming environment that respects the sober lifestyle is by making your party about the company, the football, and the food.
“If you walk in and there’s a giant table of food and snacks, the game is on, people are wearing their jerseys, and the alcohol isn’t front and center as the main eye-grabber, you can tell that party is about the Game,” says Vasquez. “That doesn’t mean that there isn’t alcohol around, it just means that you have more to offer than just drinking.”
An important part of all of this, recommends Pollack, is communication.
“I wish people talked about sobriety more and that it was a more open thing. The last thing that I want is for anyone to feel uncomfortable around me, or for me to feel uncomfortable around them. Speaking openly about the sober lifestyle, recovery, and what that means is key for a better understanding, mutual respect, and a faster route for us all to be able to enjoy each other’s company.”
On the other side of things, it is important for someone in recovery to be able to acknowledge when an event or situation may not be the best for them.
“I think it is so important to note that recovery comes in different stages and everyone’s recovery is different,” says Vasquez. “Personally, I have six years sober, so I’m comfortable being in situations where people will be drinking. However, at six years clean, I would not go into a bar. That’s me, that’s my personal recovery. Depending on where you are in your recovery, it is ultimately up to us as individuals to be responsible for our own recovery. We can’t expect others to cater to us because of our circumstance so if you know that there is going to be alcohol there and you’re in early recovery and you aren’t sure if you can hang, then don’t put yourself in those positions.”
Alternatives to a Super Bowl Party
If you’re looking for something to do this Sunday, but aren’t quite sure you can go to an event that will have alcohol, reach out to your sponsor or friends in recovery. Whether a 12-step based event, or something within the larger recovery community, someone in your area will be doing something that is sober-friendly.
If you or a loved one are not yet in recovery and are currently struggling with substance abuse, American Addiction Centers has a 24-hour helpline for questions, tips, and information on treatment: (888) 453-9655