By Peggy Spear
Original Source: soberinfo.com
Two years ago, I was a Super Bowl question.
You know those silly trivia-type games that you play at Super Bowl Parties, where you pay a buck or ten to pick how long the national anthem will go on, what the first commercial will be after the coin toss, or when Tom Brady will throw an interception?
Well there I was, at my friend’s Super Bowl Party’s guessing game: When will Peggy pass out?
At the time, I laughed. After all, I had been known to “take naps” during parties, even my own, after I drank a little too much chardonnay or Blue Moon. But I didn’t realize others had noticed my excessive drinking.
After all, everyone drinks on Super Bowl Sunday. It’s a National Drinking Holiday. According to some statistics, Americans will consume an amazing 325.5 million gallons of beer on Super Bowl Sunday.
I certainly helped. Which is why the specter of the Super Bowl haunts me. It was not about football for me. It was about partying, apparently until I passed out.
The year I was a Super Bowl party question I showed them. I did NOT pass out during the game. I waited until I got home.
But the next year, just about a year sober, I was terrified of the Super Bowl. It didn’t help that it was being held in my backyard in Santa Clara, and there were alcohol promotions everywhere I looked. I had a real hard time that week, and chewed my AA sponsor’s ear off as I suffered from very real cravings. The Super Bowl, it seems, is a major trigger for me.
Which is why I’ve spent the last few months coming up with ideas on how people in sobriety can stay sober and actually enjoy the game. After all, isn’t that what it’s all about at the end? A mere football game?
Here are my five tips for staying sober and sane on Super Bowl Sunday.
1) Stay Put
Stay home and watch the game, or go to a movie instead. That’s what I did last year, when I knew going to a Super Bowl party would be a very bad idea for me. Luckily, my husband supported my decision, and we watched the game from the comfort of our living room. We made homemade pizza and I napped – a “real” nap – through the second half.
2) Use Your AA Toolbox
If you are in AA, it has some very sensible suggestions for attending uncomfortable parties, such as taking two cars, bringing a sober friend, keeping a non-alcoholic drink in your hand at all times, and leaving when you feel like it. You hear these suggestions all the time, and may even scoff at them, but they’ve been around for a long time because they work.
3) Mock Yourself
Create a signature mocktail just for you or anyone else who wants to try a non-alcoholic drink. Don’t let anyone “booze it up.” This is just for the non-alcoholic crowd. My favorites are a Diet Roy Rogers with a splash of lime juice, sparkling water with various Torani syrups, or a Caribbean-inspired fruit juice. In fact, I carry around a flask – yes, a flask – filled with grenadine when I attend functions.
4) Be of Service
Service doesn’t just mean making coffee at Alcoholic Anonymous meetings. It means escaping from your head and helping others. At a Super Bowl Party, help by preparing and passing food (avoid filling the wine glasses), or helping the host clear plates. Better yet, take over organizing the Super Bowl games (like the infamous trivia game) to give yourself something to concentrate on other than the fact you’re not drinking. Or, if there are kids around, help organize them into putting on their own skit based on Super Bowl commercials or their own Halftime Show. You will be amazed at how much fun helping others can be.
5) Watch the Game
As I mentioned before, all the hoopla of the Super Bowl masks a mere football game. Deep down, you know you are rooting for either the Patriots or the Falcons, so if you are attending the party, find a comfortable seat and enjoy the last football game of the year. Enjoy the camaraderie of other fans, and catch up with old friends and possibly make new ones. Laugh at the commercials. If the drinking overshadows the game and you are feeling uncomfortable – and none of the above suggestions work – then feel free to leave. Your couch at home awaits.
Written by Peggy Spear
Peggy Spear is a San Francisco Bay Area-based newspaper editor and freelance writer, who’s gone nearly two years in sobriety without an interception.