Don’t Gamble with Your Sobriety on Super Bowl Sunday

photo of dice superimposed over a football to symbolize gambling

Don’t Gamble with Your Sobriety on Super Bowl Sunday

Super Bowl Sunday brings the opportunity to combine two favorite pastimes: football and excessive drinking.The big game is rapidly approaching and plans are being made for which drinking game will be used. Will this be the year of, “Every time Peyton Manning says Omaha, take a shot?” Or, will it be “Take a swig every time Cam Newton poses for the camera?” No matter whether the Denver Broncos or the Carolina Panthers are running a play, many Super Bowl parties will feature substantial amounts of drinking.

Every year, Super Bowl Sunday brings together millions of Americans with the opportunity to combine two favorite pastimes: football and excessive drinking. No one thinks about ensuing impairment possibilities or the thousands of calories being consumed.  Getting together with friends, watching funny and innovative television commercials, having quite a few drinks and hopefully seeing a decent football game are the defining moments of the Super Bowl. How will you prepare for this year’s event and still be at work bright and early on Monday morning?

A short game: a long drinking window

Alcohol on Super Bowl SundayIn America, Super Bowl Sunday is second only to New Year’s Eve in alcohol consumption. According to a recent article, approximately 50 million cases of beer are consumed on this day.

While the game only last for four quarters, bad drinking decisions can last a lifetime.

On February 7th by the time that Super Bowl 50 starts in Levi’s Stadium in Santa Clara, California, people will have been bombarded with endless hours of pre-game festivities and stories. In between sport casters’ analyses, the day is often filled with heart-warming comeback stories. During childhood anecdotes from running backs and cornerbacks, a drink or two makes the time pass.

According to Bloomberg, the average length of a Super Bowl broadcast over the past two decades is only three hours and 35 minutes.  However, with the additional events included, over six hours are easily spent watching the game, chatting with friends and drinking an exorbitant amount of alcoholic beverages.

Safe habits for the big day

Driving when even only slightly impaired can result in serious injury or loss of life.Too many drivers out there believe that having just a few drinks and getting behind the wheel of a vehicle is harmless. But statistics don’t lie.  Driving when even only slightly impaired can result in serious injury or loss of life.  These not only affect the lives of the impaired driver but can affect other families as well.

According to data from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), on Super Bowl Sunday 2012 alone, 38 percent of fatalities from motor vehicle crashes have been connected to drunk driving, compared to 30 percent on the average weekend.  Their yearly campaign of “Fans don’t let fans drive drunk” is in full swing.

Host with the Most

handing over your keys on Super Bowl SundayAs a Super Bowl Party host, you can be held accountable and prosecuted if someone you served is liable for a drunk-driving crash. So, the suggested tips for hosting a responsible event include:

  • Ensuring that all of your guests have sober, designated drivers in advance or be prepared to arrange alternate transportation
  • Serving plenty of food and including an assortment of  non-alcoholic/alcohol-free beverages
  • End alcohol serving at the end of the third quarter of the game and begin serving coffee and dessert
  • Taking away the keys from anyone who appears to have had too much to drink

Life of the Party

Take the necessary steps to ensure that this year’s game is not your last one. Whether going to a friend’s house or watching at a bar, you should take the necessary steps to ensure that this year’s game is not your last one.  According to an article, excessive drinking for men would be five or more drinks within a short time period (i.e. two hours) and four or more drinks for women during this same period.  Some of the precautions that you can take to avoid excessive drinking include:

  • Designating your sober driver, or planning another way to get home safely before the drinking starts
  • Avoiding binge drinking, drinks with unknown alcohol content or mixing alcohol with energy drinks
  • Eating food while drinking and alternating alcohol drinks with water
  • Asking a sober friend for a ride home, calling a cab, friend or family member to come and get you or just staying in for the night
  • Utilizing your community’s sober ride/designated driver program

Whether hosting or attending, taking the necessary steps can help your Sunday Bowl experience be a fun and safe one.

When Temptation Calls

For recent recovering alcoholics, the lure of watching the game with a few friends may seem like a harmless endeavor. However, placing yourself in an environment where alcohol is flowing freely might not be the best way to spend your day.

 

reaching for beerAccording to a publication from the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA), approximately 90 percent of alcoholics are likely to experience one relapse over the four-year period following addiction treatment.  Super Bowl Day is associated with many of the triggers for either a slip or a relapse including exposure to large amounts of alcohol and environmental stressors. Alcohol addiction is a disease and your addictive brain is telling you that it’s okay to drink because it’s a special day. You can probably justify drinking because everyone around you is consuming.

Relapse prevention is easy to put in words, but often difficult to obtain. The simple steps include:

  • Challenge your thinking – Will I really be able to stop drinking tomorrow?
  • Reason through your relapse – What will make this time different from before?
  • Distract yourself – Maybe, I should have some more of those delicious Buffalo wings instead of a beer?

These strategies can help you resist the strong pull to drink on Super Bowl Sunday. If you are in the early stage of recovery, the easiest and most straightforward method would be to just say “no” to watching the big game in an alcohol-filled environment.

Don’t let the BIG GAME become your BIG EXCUSE!

Going to a Super Bowl party with friends or family is always enjoyable. But if alcohol consumption proves to be too much of a challenge for you then you might want to consider other options. Behavioral Health of the Palm Beaches is always here and ready to help you or your loved one maintain your sober recovery. We can tackle relapses before they can gain any ground. We will help you score those winning points toward your recovery goals. When you need that extra help crossing the goal line, call us at (888) 432-2467.

 

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