Stay Sober Through Super Bowl

I am not only Canadian but also a skier and I confess that ski pic.jpgI spend most February Sundays on the slopes. However, I am painfully aware that this is the weekend when my friends south of the border get all excited about football, make Pinterest-worthy snacks, and start buzzing about the great commercials that will shown – which, by the way, are entirely pre-empted up here in Canada by regular old boring local ads. It’s Super Bowl weekend, and for many of you, that means party time.

I get it, I get it. It’s warmer there, you can play football all year. And your tv commercials have Amy Schumer and CGI dancing dogs and last like, 273 seconds. Your parties are sparkly, your cheerleaders have tans, and your sportscasters look like they’re en route to a nightclub.

So while I stew in my resentments (and shovel my driveway), let’s take a moment to talk about how you can get through a Super Bowl Party with your sobriety intact.


First, if you are newly sober you must consider if you should go at all. Think of your sobriety like a newborn baby. Is your baby old enough to go to a party yet, or should you be home nurturing that sweet babe and protecting the precious little thing from the world for a touch longer? Just consider it – the world won’t end if you stay home and eat ice cream and watch all those awesome commercials in your pjs. In fact, you could provide a service to your neighbours up north by Periscope-ing the best bits for us (comment with your handle if you plan to do this, please).

What’s that? You’re newly sober but you are committed to HOSTING the party? Oh yep, that’s a toughie but you can get through it. I highly recommend you listen to the podcast I link to in my post “Erin’s Nest” in which our guest Erin describes getting through an event she hosted by making herself a hidey-hole in the closet with magazines, pillows, and a water bottle that she could sneak into periodically when she felt overwhelmed.

As for the rest of you, it IS possible to get through a party sober and still have fun. A few basic strategies include:

  • Bring your own beverage of choice and boldly fill your own glass so that no one pressures you (remember, most people are just trying to be good hosts by offering you a drink and don’t really care WHAT you are drinking as long as your glass is full).
  • Bring your own transportation so you can leave immediately if you feel uncomfortable. Try to ensure anyone you bring with you understands they may have to find their own way home.
  • If you are uncomfortable socially, help out behind the scenes. Wash dishes or go play with the kids.
  • Try actually following the game (or is it only me who finds this a novel idea? Did I mention I am not a football girl?)
  • If you feel shaky or triggered, slip into the bathroom and text a sober pal, read UnPickled, search “xa” on Twitter, or Google inspirational quotes. Take a breather and regroup.
  • Eat the sweet stuff. Sugar can help negate cravings for alcohol – it’s a brain thing. Plus you won’t miss the taste of booze as much with sweets as you will with nuts, cheese or savories.

Please share your sober party strategies in the comments section, funny stories of what has or hasn’t worked for you, or leave a question if you are wondering how to get through an event. If it’s not one thing it’s another – no sooner will this weekend pass then another event will be upon us to dust off our social skills.


  1. Thank you for your blog posts. I discovered Unpickled when I was searching “secret drinking.” Yuh, that’s me. I recognized that I had developed a dependency on alcohol about 3 years ago. I stopped drinking entirely, attended AA, and stayed drink-free for about 6 months. Then I picked up again, in a small and secret way.
    Drinking secretly takes a lot of energy. You have to plan when and where you get your next bottle. (I got into the habit of buying a bottle every time I was on my own.) then there’s getting it into the house. (Large handbags!), and disposing of the empties. I know every open dumpster within 5 miles of my house.
    Then there’s the dishonesty. My family thought I was sober. We won’t go into the self-loathing. Trite and everyone has been there.
    I am again in the early stages of sobriety, but this time it feels right. I think I can. I heard an addiction specialist on the radio not so long ago. He said that with many dependencies, people are able to fix their own problems. It doesn’t have to be the rock bottom thing. We just decide that we want to change, and we take the steps to do so.
    That, and what I’ve taken from your blog, was empowering. I’m reminded of Cheryl Strayed’s musings at the end of her book, “Wild.” She says, “What if heroin taught me something.?” I say, “What if these years of drinking in secret have taught me something? What if I needed to do it to see that I don’t need to do it at all?”
    Thanks for letting me get this out. Peace.


  2. Hi, I discovered your blog 3 days ago after googling online help to stop drinking. I’m so thankful that I did! I’ve been reading your entries and clicking on links you provide, as well as the many comments from your readers. It’s been a tremendous help as I begin this, so far, solitary journey to hopefully end my drinking.
    The reason I sought online help is I’m just not ready to go to a local AA meeting as I live in a small community and I’ll be recognized. I also am not ready to tell my medical dr. of my problem because I’m ashamed to tell anyone, as well as the fact that it will then be on my medical record and may adversely affect what my insurance will cover in the future. It does not cover counseling for chemical or alcohol dependency.
    So here I am. Sixty years old, obese, depressed, scared, bereft, lonely… As a once fit, active woman who was active in riding and showing my horses, running, and a workout fanatic, I’ve become a sedentary, almost reclusive person just looking forward to five “o” clock to crack my first of two bottles of wine. Nightly. How did I let this happen? I just want to get out of this and get back to even a little of what I used to be.
    So thank you for being out there. I’m on day three of no drinking. This blog, the links, and the comments are what is keeping me going. Thank you.


  3. Today is Feb 20. I am on day 4 no wine. My husband has traveled our 37 years of marriage . Once I was an empty nester I was bored and started my love affair with Pinot gri. This past week while he was gone, I had 2 glasses then ran out. So helped myself to vodka. Felt so sick following day plus hated myself. So here I am. I can tell I am going through withdrawal. Flu like and shaky hands. Plus heartburn. Are these all normal? Big 3 day get away with girlfriends to a lake house. Wish me luck. Any advice??


    • How are you feeling today? Have you considered seeing your doctor for a check up, opening up about your decision to go alcohol free? It could be a big help. Withdrawal is a sign of addiction, so understand that those symptoms underline the importance of your decision – you needed to quit! Alcohol withdrawal can also be life threatening, so please take a moment to research the dangers and keep yourself safe. As for your getaway with friends, really ask yourself if it is the right place for you to be. This will depend on your friends and their drinking habits and if they are supportive of you. If it is going to be nonstop booze, with pressure for you to drink or feel left out, than you might be better off staying home (you’re not feeling well, so you won’t be lying if you say you’ve taken ill). Could you confide in one or all of the girls going and gauge the support you might receive? protect your sobriety like the newborn baby that it is.


  4. I read this in hindsight which is not 20/20 for me. Should of read this before I went to my Super Stupper yesterday, I had gone the whole month of January sober and went to a Super Bowl get together with some old friends (bad move) and had a little tooo much beer and got into an argument with an old friend regarding it. I should of went with my first thought not to go but thought I could handle it….wrong.

    Anyways, I’m proud of the sobriety days I’ve been collecting over the past 4 months I’ve drank 5 days. I know for some that is 5 days too many but I’m really proud of my accomplishment thus far. I did the whole of January but had some bad judgement yesterday. I’m recommitting myself and I know that my old haunts and friends have to be cut off like I’ve done the past 4 months and counting. That was the issue yesterday I had a case of FOMO (Fear Of Missing Out). Should off came here first and read some good food for thought. Thanks for the community here.


  5. What is this Super Bowl – oh yes that little game between two American teams of a sport no one else plays… whatever … 😉

    This month (and next) is 6 nations rugby – there was one of my big triggers in the old days. Now I watch the games at home with a long suffering wife and other family members who will tweet each other with things like “Only 3 mins in and he is shouting already!”. I had to profusely apologies for some language on Saturday that I didn’t even realise I’d said but… he was a….

    In the end it is all though so much more fun and memorable sober


  6. all great tips! your advise is always spot on. However, i am not a football girl either –i would rather be on the ski slopes with you ! much more fun
    thanks for all you do Jean, you Rock!


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