Whether you are a New York Giants fan, New Jersey Jets fan or cheer on the Florida Dolphins, tailgating goes on in just about every stadium parking lot in America. A good portion of football fans out there are recovering alcoholics who still want to tailgate pregame, but it seems like everywhere we look, people in the parking lot are consuming beer and other alcoholic drinks. What options do recovering alcoholics have to stay sober at tailgate parties without giving in to temptation and falling off the wagon?

There are several choices you can make to be sure you do not relapse. Follow these tips to easily navigate through these obstacles both outside and inside the stadium, and still find true enjoyment of the game without a sip to drink:

1. Attend with sober friends. Tailgate with people who are sober just like you and have the same needs you have. Tailgating with fellow recovering alcoholics is a plus because they understand you on a deep level and will support you if you are triggered to drink alcohol at the game.

2. Attend with family. Bring the kids and learn to enjoy the experience through the eyes of a child. Many stadiums even have designated alcohol-free family sections that may include discounted tickets for kids – so everybody wins!

3. Focus on the food. Tailgating doesn’t have to be all about funneling beers and mixing cocktails. Break out your best barbecue recipe and show off your short ribs. Bring some friends and have a chili cook-off. The aroma coming from your space alone will make you the life of the party.

4. Sign up for the designated driver program. Many stadiums offer a free soft drink to anyone signs up to be a designated driver. You get a wristband and sign a promise not to drink & drive. What better incentive is there?

5. If you still don’t trust yourself to enjoy the game without a drink in your hand, then it’s probably best to watch the game from home. Your sobriety and recovery from alcohol is much more important than a game.

Football is popular all across America and tailgates happen all season from New York and New Jersey to Florida and Ohio. However, maintaining your sobriety at the game can be achieved with just a little planning and support from your loved ones. For more information on relapse prevention, contact Cornerstone Recovery Center, a drug and alcohol abuse treatment facility located in Ft. Lauderdale, Florida. Please call 888-711-0354 or click here to send us an email.