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Superbowl Sunday 2012: How to Not Drink Part II

In Superbowl Sunday 2012: How to Not Drink Part I two ways to have fun on Superbowl Sunday without drinking were discussed, including only hanging out with people who respect your recovery, and taking part in specific clean and sober gatherings which are often held around the country. In this part of the installment we’ll detail 4 more things that you can do to go out or stay in on Superbowl Sunday 2012 and have a great time – without alcohol. This includes having an escape plan, supplying a distraction, using the buddy system and being assertive.

3.) Have an Escape Plan

Sometimes, it’s best to have an escape plan, and many recovering addicts and alcoholics get quite creative with this. In fact, many people – even non-addicts – use an escape plan to easily extricate themselves from uncomfortable situations. An escape can be as simple as an excuse to leave the situation, such as a minor illness or headache, or it can be as elaborate as a planned telephone call purportedly requiring the alcoholic’s presence somewhere else. But for many people this Superbowl Sunday 2012, if a party or gathering gets uncomfortable they can simply say:

“I’m okay but I’m not feeling that well. I’m going to go home but thank you for the invitation/hosting/etc.”

4.) Bring Some Gum

For many recovering alcoholics, social situations can be especially stressful because addiction is in many ways a preoccupation. Consequently, it can help to replace the “drinking” social preoccupation with something more acceptable. This can include chewing gum or candy, bringing a specialty drink like coffees of teas, or by enjoying good food and the game while others drink.

However, when it comes to creating distractions or preoccupations in social situations like these, it’s important to note that relying on a smart phone or other electronic device can be awkward and can cause the situation to be even more uncomfortable, as many people see this as a sign of anti-social behavior. Ultimately, if you’re not ready to socialize in a group environment yet – especially one where alcohol is served – then it’s best to stay home or with a close group of sober friends.

5.) Use the Buddy System

The buddy system is one of the most effective ways of enjoying this Superbowl Sunday 2012 without drinking. By bringing a fellow recovering alcoholic along it is easier to provide support to each other and recognize when the level of discomfort in the situation warrants some kind of action. It is never advised for a recovering alcoholic to place themselves in a situation where people will be drinking without having support nearby.

6.) Be Assertive

Above all else, being assertive is the best policy. It’s acceptable to decline a drink without providing a rationale, but if you need to do so that is acceptable to. Just be frank and honest and don’t give excuses that people will attempt to overcome like “I don’t feel like it” or “I don’t like that” or anything else. Instead, simply state that you are in recovery and can’t drink. However, there are procedures that you can use if someone persists. According to the University of Texas, escalating assertiveness may be required:

“. . . when the other person fails to respond to your basic assertion and continues to violate your rights. You gradually escalate the assertion and become increasingly firm. It may even include the mention of some type of resulting action on your part, made only after several basic assertive statements.” (1)

In this case the clear resulting action will be to remove yourself from the situation, or if you control the situation, to remove the offending party.

Every year thousands of recovering alcoholics face these issues when they attend gatherings, holidays, take vacations or even just eat out at a restaurant in the presence of other people who are drinking. Alcohol is a part of our society and often exposure to it is unavoidable. Knowing how to prepare for and cope with these situations is a critical part of a successful recovery plan. If you or someone you love has recently relapsed or simply needs more treatment, please urge them to skip Superbowl Sunday 2012 and call us right now.

(1) Counseling and Mental Health Center Learning to be Assertive University of Texas
http://cmhc.utexas.edu/booklets/assert/assertive.html
Accessed 01/04/2012

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