Coaching Your Teen to Avoid Peer Pressure

28 Mar 2018

Enjoying March Madness Sober

Maintaining Sobriety

A big factor of ongoing addiction is the trigger, and for some, being sober during March Madness is especially difficult, as it can be a strong trigger. Triggers are signals in the environment or certain actions and events that bring up old memories of the addictive lifestyle, but not in the ways that encourage sobriety, which can be a problem.

Something all people are susceptible to, not just recovering addicts, is nostalgia - remembering the past through rose colored glasses. During March Madness, and other big celebratory events that involve a lot of people, recovering addicts may look back and remember basketball parties and bar nights watching the game, and all of a sudden the old ways seem appealing again. When a recovering addict is working the program and steps, and succeeding at living a sober lifestyle, a false sense of security can combine with the nostalgia for a dangerous mix.

The good news is that you can still enjoy March Madness parties and festivities while maintaining sobriety. The first thing to remember is that you are not obligated to do anything. If you feel that being in that environment will be too tempting, the trigger too strong, then you can watch the game from home with close friends and family, or maybe some people from your recovery group. It is always a good idea to surround yourself with people going through the same thing when experiencing something difficult like this.

Although there are ways to navigate a party that has alcohol, it is quite another to do so at a bar. On the surface, the difference between a party with drinking and a bar are seemingly nonexistent, but environment is very important. A bar is designed to encourage drinking and things there tend to escalate quickly. A house party with people that you know is automatically a safer space because the crowd is limited to people you are familiar with and comfortable with. You would also be in a home - not a place that revolves around booze.

If you do decide to go to a March Madness, go with a close friend or family member - make sure you have a wingman (or woman). The buddy system is the best way to ensure that you successfully overcome any temptation that may arise. You may be thinking, “I don’t need a nanny to watch me,” but that is not what the buddy system is. Facing challenging situations with a trusted companion shows dedication to sobriety, and it brings a close person into the fold. Addiction is not difficult only on the addict, but their loved ones, as well. Family and friends will be all too happy to join you on your path to sobriety, and lend a helping hand.

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