After Further Review My 1st Sober NFL Super Season
As the adrenaline-pumping NFL season unfolded, I found myself embarking on a deeply personal journey that transcended the touchdowns and tackles on the gridiron. This past season marked my first sober experience amidst the exhilarating whirlwind of professional football.
From the electrifying opening kickoff to the crowning of the Super Bowl champions, I navigated the highs and lows of the game with a clear mind and a steadfast commitment to sobriety.
In this blog series, I invite you to join me as I reflect on the challenges, triumphs, and invaluable lessons learned during a monumental year in my life. From the locker room camaraderie to the roar of the crowd,
each moment was a testament to the resilience and strength found in embracing sobriety amidst the intense fervor of the NFL. So, buckle up as we delve into the untold story of making it through an entire football season with clarity, determination, and an unwavering spirit.
The Social Acceptability of Drinking
In many societies, drinking alcohol is not just accepted—it’s celebrated. It’s a rite of passage for young adults,
a symbol of sophistication at business dinners, and an integral part of many social gatherings, including sporting events like the NFL games.
The paradox, however, lies in the fact that despite its widespread acceptance,
alcohol is responsible for a significant number of health issues, accidents,
and deaths every year. According to the World Health Organization, alcohol contributes to over 200 diseases and injury-related health conditions, and in 2016, more than three million deaths were attributed to alcohol consumption worldwide.
Yet, we continue to normalize it. Advertisements portray drinking as glamorous and fun.
Alcohol is readily available in grocery stores, restaurants, and sports games.
Binge drinking has even become somewhat of a tradition among college students and young adults.
But why do we accept this? Why do we overlook the potential harm of embracing the temporary euphoria?
Part of the reason is cultural conditioning. We’ve been led to believe that alcohol is a necessary component of social interactions, celebration, and relaxation.
Even in the face of addiction and alcoholism, society often turns a blind eye.
Instead of addressing the issue, we make jokes about heavy drinking and hangovers.
We applaud those who can “hold their liquor” and shame those who cannot.
This social acceptance makes it challenging for individuals trying to abstain or drink responsibly.
It’s like trying to swim against the current. But understanding this paradox is the first step to change.
It’s time to challenge these norms and question why we continue to accept the potential devastation that comes with alcohol consumption.
Tackling Triggers and Temptations
Anyone who has battled addiction knows that triggers are a formidable foe.
They’re stealthy, often appearing when we least expect them, and they’re persistent, tugging at us with a force that can feel impossible to resist.
For many of us on the road to recovery,
NFL Sundays have become one such trigger.
The association of football with drinking is so deeply ingrained in our minds that the mere sound of a whistle or the sight of a touchdown can stir up powerful cravings.
Understanding these triggers is the first step toward tackling them. They’re typically rooted in our memories and experiences,
serving as subconscious reminders of our past drinking habits. These triggers can be anything – an event like a football game, a place, a person, or even a particular time of year.
For me, the trigger was the entire NFL Sunday experience – the camaraderie of friends,
the adrenaline of the games, the halftime breaks, and yes, the ubiquitous beer commercials.
But I’ve learned, through trial and error, that acknowledging these triggers instead of denying them is key to managing them.
So, how do we handle these urges?
The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) suggests various coping strategies,
such as distraction, self-talk, escape, seeking help, and substituting activities.
Distraction involves diverting your attention to something unrelated, like taking a walk when the urge strikes.
Self-talk means reminding yourself of the reasons you chose sobriety and the progress you’ve made. Escape could mean leaving a situation where you feel the urge to drink is too strong.
Seeking help involves reaching out to a trusted friend, family member, or counselor
Substituting activities could mean replacing drinking with healthier habits, like exercise or meditation.
In my case, my wife’s sweet tea and pregame coffee served as substitutes.
The familiar ritual of sipping a drink during the game remained, but the substance was different.
This, coupled with the supportive environment my wife created, helped me resist the temptation.
It’s essential to remember that this is a personal journey, and what works for one person might not work for another.
It’s about finding your unique coping mechanisms and being patient with yourself in the process.
In the end, tackling triggers is not just about resisting temptation; it’s about rewriting our associations and creating new, healthier habits.
And while the road may be challenging, every obstacle overcome is a testament to our strength and resilience.
After Further Review Navigating the New Normal
Reclaiming my Sundays from the grip of alcohol was not a decision I took lightly. It required a fundamental shift in perspective,
a reimagining of what a typical NFL Sunday could look like for me.
This transformation was not merely about removing alcohol from the equation; it was about creating a new normal that celebrated sobriety.
The initial transition was challenging. During the first few games, I felt an overwhelming sense of emptiness.
There was a palpable void where the bottle used to be, and the cheering around me seemed oddly hollow.
But as I sat there with my sweet tea and pregame coffee, I slowly began to realize something profound:
the enjoyment I derived from these games was not dependent on alcohol.
The thrill of a touchdown, the suspense of a close game, the camaraderie with friends – these were not enhanced by alcohol; they were merely clouded by it.
In this new normal, I discovered an unexpected clarity. The games became more engaging, the strategies more apparent, and the victories sweeter.
I was no longer a passive spectator; I was actively participating in the experience.
And when the games ended, I didn’t have a hangover looming over my Monday mornings.
Instead, I had vibrant memories of the games and a newfound appreciation for the sport.
Navigating this new normal also meant dealing with social situations differently. In a culture where drinking is often the norm, choosing not to drink can sometimes make you feel like an outsider.
But I found strength in my decision. I realized that true friends would support my choice, and I learned to communicate my boundaries assertively.
My journey also led me to discover a community of people who were on similar paths. sobrietychoice.com
I found solace in their stories, inspiration in their resolve, and comfort in knowing I was not alone.
These connections made me realize that while our paths to sobriety might differ, we share a common goal: to live a fulfilling life free from the control of alcohol.
One of the most significant changes in this new normal was the shift in my self-perception.
I no longer viewed myself as someone battling addiction but as someone embracing sobriety.
This subtle shift in mindset had a profound impact on my journey.
It fostered a sense of empowerment and removed the feeling of deprivation that often accompanies abstinence.
Navigating this new normal is an ongoing process, and it’s not without its challenges.
There will be days when the cravings hit hard, and there will be moments of doubt. But these are not signs of weakness; they are part of the journey.
Each hurdle crossed is a step forward, a testament to our resilience and determination.
In conclusion, my sober NFL Sundays have taught me that life’s pleasures do not require a drink in hand.
They’ve shown me that I can enjoy the thrill of the games, the company of friends,
and the sweet taste of victory, all without the haze of alcohol. It’s a journey I’m proud to be on, and one I invite you to join.
Game Plan for Sober Living
Creating a game plan for sober living is an essential step in the journey to recovery.
It provides structure, guides decision-making, and offers a way to measure progress. Here’s a game plan that I’ve found effective in maintaining my sobriety,
particularly during NFL Sundays.
1. Identify Triggers: The first step in creating a game plan is to identify potential triggers. For me, these included the excitement of the game, the camaraderie with friends, and even the halftime commercials. By identifying these triggers, I could anticipate when cravings might arise and plan accordingly.
2. Develop Coping Strategies: After identifying triggers, the next step is to develop strategies for dealing with them. These can include distraction techniques, such as taking a walk or engaging in a hobby, self-talk to remind me of my reasons for sobriety, seeking help from a trusted individual, or substituting drinking with healthier activities.
3. Create a Supportive Environment: A supportive environment is critical for maintaining sobriety. This can involve surrounding oneself with supportive individuals who respect your decision to abstain from alcohol or creating physical environments that don’t trigger cravings. In my case, having non-alcoholic beverages like sweet tea and coffee during the games helped create a supportive environment.
4. Stay Active: Physical activity has been shown to reduce cravings and improve overall well-being. Incorporating regular exercise into the game plan not only provides a healthy distraction but also contributes to improving mental health.
5. Practice Mindfulness: Mindfulness involves being present at the moment and acknowledging feelings without judgment. This can be particularly useful in managing cravings. When a craving arises, instead of acting on it, I acknowledge its presence, observe it without judgment, and then let it pass.
6. Find Sober Activities: Finding activities that you enjoy and can do sober is a great way to reinforce the benefits of sobriety. These activities serve as positive reinforcements and can help create new, healthier habits.
7. Seek Professional Help: There’s no shame in seeking professional help. Therapists and counselors trained in addiction recovery can provide valuable tools and strategies to maintain sobriety. They can also provide a safe space to discuss challenges and celebrate victories.
8. Celebrate Milestones: Celebrating milestones, no matter how small, can boost motivation and reinforce the positive aspects of sober living. Each game watched sober, each craving successfully managed, is a victory worth celebrating.
This game plan is not a one-size-fits-all solution. It’s a starting point, a guide that can be tailored to individual needs and circumstances.
The journey to sobriety is a personal one, and what works for one person may not work for another.
The key is to remain patient with oneself and to acknowledge that progress may be slow and setbacks may occur. But with a solid game plan in place, the path to sober living becomes a little clearer, and a little more manageable.
- SAMHSA’s National Helpline
- How to Stop Alcohol Cravings – Handling the Urges to Drink
- Physical Activity Reduces Alcohol Craving
- Mindfulness Meditation for Alcohol Relapse Prevention
The journey to sobriety is a deeply personal one, marked by triumphs and trials, progress and setbacks.
It’s not a linear path, and there are no quick fixes. However, it’s a journey worth embarking on, for the rewards it offers are profound: a clear mind,
improved health, and the reclaiming of one’s life from the grips of addiction.
Navigating the new normal of sober living requires courage, determination, and a strong game plan.
It involves identifying triggers, developing coping strategies, creating a supportive environment,
staying active, practicing mindfulness, finding sober activities, seeking professional help, and celebrating milestones.
As I’ve learned through my sober NFL Sundays, life’s pleasures do not require a drink in hand.
Sobriety doesn’t mean missing out; on the contrary, it means experiencing life with a clarity that alcohol often clouds.
It means truly being present in each moment, fully experiencing each emotion, and making memories that are not blurred by the haze of alcohol.
In conclusion, tackling triggers and temptations, navigating the new normal, and developing a game plan for sober living are all steps on the road to recovery.
It’s a challenging journey, but with resilience, support, and determination, it’s certainly achievable.
Every day sober is a victory, and every obstacle overcome is a testament to our strength. Stay strong, stay hopeful, and remember, you’re not alone on this journey.
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From The Author
As the author, I appreciate you taking the time to read and allow me to share my Sunday experiences. This account of a hangover-free Monday after a thrilling Sunday football day is a testament to my journey towards sobriety.
I encourage you all to share your stories or ask any questions at sobrietychoice.com. Our dedicated Coach is always on hand to answer all emails. To stay updated with the latest news, classes, and resources, don’t forget to subscribe.
We are collectively creating a supportive community because we are all on this journey together. By the way, my team emerged victorious, making it an even more fantastic Sunday! Until next time, keep sharing, keep supporting, and keep winning your battles.
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