While 48% of fans drink at sporting events and 82% of tailgaters had two or more drinks,1 it doesn’t have to be this way. With alcohol and excitement galore, many people will go a little overboard at football tailgates, but this is not the only way to enjoy the big game. As a recovering alcoholic or addict, it may seem like tailgating has to be a thing of the past in order to stay sober, but our rehab center in Philly knows that this isn’t always the case.
Contrary to popular belief, tailgating isn’t just about the alcohol. Just because you are in recovery, doesn’t mean you can’t have a good time. This is why at Banyan Philadelphia, we have a compiled a list of a few tips on how to have an awesome sober tailgate.
1. Find the Right People. The first step to sober tailgating is to have the right group. If you go with people who you know are going to drink heavily or abuse drugs, you are setting yourself up for a potential relapse. Instead, throw on your Ertz jersey and have a tailgate with other people from recovery, trusted friends, or family.
2. Mentally Prepare Yourself. A tailgate could mean surrounding yourself with some drug triggers. Take some time to remind yourself beforehand about how far you have come since your IOP treatment in Philadelphia and think about your future goals. By taking some time to reflect and prepare, the drug triggers should not affect you as much.
3. Bring Other Activities. While drinking games tend to be a staple of pregaming, this is not the best way to tailgate in recovery. Instead of beer pong, stick to throwing the football, cornhole, Kan Jam, or card games that do not involve alcohol.
Bring Your Own Non-Alcoholic Drinks If you are going to a tailgate with people who will be drinking, try bringing something non-alcoholic for yourself. Chances are the only non-alcoholic drinks available at a tailgate are mixers so your choices could be limited. You can even try bringing yourself something extra special like a slushie or smoothie, so you do not feel like you are missing out.
5. Confide in A Friend. Have a good friend available to talk to if necessary. Whether that means they are there at the tailgate with you or they are “on call” for the afternoon, they can be there for you to confide in as well as keep you honest.
6. Leave if You Need To. If you start to feel overwhelmed in this situation, do not be afraid to leave. Whether this means stepping away for a few minutes to collect your thoughts or leaving completely, you need to do what is best for you.
7. Only Do What You Know You Can Handle. Relapse is a real and serious threat for anyone in recovery. If you have spent some time in the stadium jail because of your drinking and you just got of alcohol treatment in Philadelphia, then maybe skip the tailgate this year. You do not want to put yourself in a bad situation.
A sober tailgate is a great way not to miss out on that nail-biting ending because you had to be taken home or you can’t remember what happened. Make this football season the best yet by staying or getting sober.