During March Madness, fans all around the country watch their favorite college basketball teams battle to the championship. People often make fun wagers with friends or colleagues about the outcome of the playoffs, and March Madness parties are common. While the NCAA doesn’t allow drinking in the arenas where the games are played, there’s nothing stopping fans from coming up with their own fun. You may find yourself getting invites to watch parties where alcohol is present. It can be tempting to drink more than you should, especially during close games or if everyone around you is binge drinking. However, this can be a problem if you have concerns about your drinking or are currently in recovery from alcohol addiction.
Can March Madness Lead to Binge Drinking?
Sports and drinking often seem to go hand-in-hand. You see images on your screen of fans pouring beer over their head or stumbling around intoxicated after celebrating their team’s win. The period of March Madness is no exception. People may find themselves drawn into social drinking because of peer pressure and other factors.
If you’re trying to gain control of your drinking or are in recovery, trying to avoid those situations can prove challenging. People you are close to may be the ones creating an atmosphere where your control over your alcohol consumption may be challenged. You may also be bombarded with countless ads for alcohol while watching the games.
Situations like these can be prime triggers for relapse for individuals in recovery. It can take effort and support from others to avoid binge drinking and keep your priorities straight.
How to Maintain Sobriety During March Madness
There are several ways to avoid relapse during this time. These include:
- Having a non-alcoholic beverage alternative
- Having your support contacts on speed dial
- Standing up for yourself
- Feeling free to turn down invitations
Check with the host beforehand on whether they will have drinks without alcohol. You can also make sure you are covered by bringing your own beverages. You don’t have to stick with plain bottled water. Bring something with carbonation that allows you to add ingredients and come up with fun concoctions. They may be enough to persuade some others at the game to join you in a sober March Madness watch party.
An atmosphere of binge drinking can become too overwhelming for your senses. Don’t be afraid to pick up your phone and call someone you trust when you get too overwhelmed by binge drinking happening around you. They can support you and even come pick you up if you feel your sobriety may be threatened if you remain at the watch party.
You should not be afraid to assert yourself if you find yourself in a place where people don’t respect your desire to remain sober. Even the most well-meaning friends can push the boundaries in their desire to see you let loose. Try practicing how you will handle those situations ahead of time. That can help you remain calm while you get your point across.
Just because you’re invited to an event doesn’t mean you have to attend. You should feel free to politely decline when asked if you feel your current emotional state is not in a place where you can handle an environment of heavy drinking. Spend your time enjoying March Madness games at home and invite friends and family over who respect your desire to remain sober.
Find Support at Fresh Start Recovery Center
It can be challenging for people with an alcohol use disorder to survive an atmosphere of binge drinking. Fresh Start Recovery Center offers addiction treatment to clients looking to maintain their sobriety long-term. We can also help with other substance use disorders, including: