I remember one of my last Super Bowls before I got sober as a really good time but unfortunately, it was the last good time I had during the big game. Shortly after that, my drinking started to spiral out of control. It took a while longer, but I finally decided to go to rehab and got sober. I’ve since learned that loving American football and not drinking don’t have to be mutually exclusive. In fact, just as with every other event in life (weddings, bachelorette parties, New Year’s Eve), it is possible to have an alcohol-free Super Bowl.
For those of us who are sober or are questioning our relationship with alcohol, the idea of attending a Super Bowl party with a bunch of drinkers might not sound like a great time. Then again, that might be exactly how you want to partake in the game. Not to worry. No matter your choice, there are tons of ways to enjoy yourself without alcohol.
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1. Host your own sober party.
If you just aren’t comfortable going to hang out with your pre-sobriety friends for the Super Bowl, don’t feel that you have to. Whatever you used to do before doesn’t have to be the same thing you do now. In fact, one of the joys of sobriety is that you can change the narrative and have your own sober party instead. During times a COVID, why not have a sober Zoom party?
Invite your friends that don’t drink or the friends that respect your choice not to drink, and go all out. Make sure to load up your house with tons of alcohol-free drinks and lots of yummy snacks. Thankfully, the narrative around alcohol is shifting and as a result, a ton of fun, alcohol-free beverage options are now available. If it sounds good and you feel comfortable, you can even create a zero-proof bar at home.
2. Bring your own alcohol free (AF) drinks.
You might want to attend an event where you know other people will partake in drinking, and that’s great too, so long as you feel good about your choice. First, you want to make sure that you only attend this kind of event if you are truly comfortable and secure enough in your sobriety. It’s okay if you’re not. If you’re ready for it though, make sure to bring your favorite AF drinks with you.
Unfortunately, a lot of hosts still don’t remember to provide fun or quality non-alcoholic drinks for their party guests. That can be a bummer but you don’t have to relegate yourself to drinking water all night. Bring your own seltzer or something fancier, like ginger beer, to ensure you have exactly what you like to drink and don’t feel left out. Remember: you’re in control of your sobriety and your drinks.
Better yet, if you’re having a Zoom party this year, drinks aren’t anything to worry about. Just don’t forget to stock your home with your fave alcohol-free options.
3. Do something else instead.
There’s always the option to not celebrate the Super Bowl at all. Maybe it’s because you don’t like football or maybe it’s because you’re triggered by your own football-and-beer days, and an alcohol-free Super Bowl feels impossible. Either way, that’s okay. Plenty of people do nothing for the Super Bowl and it’s not a big deal.
You can definitely do something else instead and celebrate the fact that you don’t have to drink this year and you don’t have to do something you really weren’t looking forward to anyway. Go hiking with your pup, go skiing since it’s the middle of winter, or simply cozy up with loved ones at home. This day doesn’t have to be a big deal if you want it to be.
4. Take the time to run errands.
Last year, 96.4 million people watched the Super Bowl. That’s a lot of people. Since at-home gatherings are particularly popular for the Super Bowl, less people are out and about. So do you have some big thing you need to get done or an errand you need to run? Now might just be the perfect time to do it!
One genius friend I know is a huge fan of going to IKEA during the Super Bowl since basically nobody is there. I mean, that’s great, isn’t it? Another option is to go to the grocery store on that Sunday night since that’s probably the only Sunday night when the grocery store isn’t crawling with people either.
5. Watch it with loved ones.
Even though the Super Bowl is traditionally a time to watch the big game with a bunch of your friends, that doesn’t have to be what you do. If you’re intimidated by a big party and don’t really feel like hosting your own but still want to watch the game, then there is nothing wrong with doing something solo or with someone special.
Make some popcorn, buy your favorite non-alcoholic beer, and settle in for a quiet evening at home. Well, it won’t be all quiet, of course, since you’ll be having fun watching the game with your sweetie or your bestie. Sometimes, the more intimate the setting, the more low-pressure fun you can have.
6. Eat all of the foods.
One of the best parts of the Super Bowl for me has always been the food. I clearly remember making the most delicious guacamole of my entire life just a few years ago, before I got sober, thanks to a secret ingredient (goat cheese!). One way to make sure that you have the time of your life is to make sure that there is good food that night, whether you’re hosting, going to a party, or snuggling up with your special person.
Some suggestions include eating ALL of the Buffalo wings, of course. There are always nachos as well. Personally, I’m a huge fan of making a big plate of sheet pan nachos to bring to the group. These are a big hit and the side options make them fully customizable. And, of course, there are always Super Bowl Sundaes. What, you’ve never made an ice cream bar for the Super Bowl? Trust me, you’re missing out!
If food is your thing, make the Super Bowl all about the creativity in the kitchen rather than about what everyone might be drinking.
7. Make sure you’re emotionally prepared.
This is the biggie: if prior to quitting alcohol, the Super Bowl used to be a heavy drinking day for you, then this day might bring up some difficult feelings and memories. Things might feel tricky. You might want to avoid your old crowd but not have enough of a sober friend group to have a party, and that’s okay. You might find that the whole thing makes you feel uncomfortable, and that thinking about going to or hosting a party is anxiety-provoking. It’s important to acknowledge that and make peace with it. It’s also important to recognize that you may not be ready to do the Super Bowl yet.
There are a few things you can do to prepare for the Super Bowl emotionally. Make sure that you are truly ready for this beer-infested day no matter what you are doing during the actual Super Bowl. Identify a friend that you can call in case you feel that your sobriety is at risk. Make sure that you take care of yourself, at the end of the day, no matter what it takes. Don’t go out if you don’t want to, don’t let yourself be pressured, and definitely don’t put yourself in triggering situations. Remember that your sobriety and well-being come first.
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It’s totally okay if you don’t love the Super Bowl and want to avoid it like the plague. It’s also okay if you miss the old socializing that you used to do during the Super Bowl but are still trying to figure out the best way to rock the event sober. Follow our tips or figure out your own way to make the Super Bowl a fun and exciting sober time. It’s definitely possible to have a good time without beer! As if you didn’t know that already…