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This past Sunday the New Orleans Saints kicked off against the Titans and this Monday they play the Packers. There is a fall feeling in the air and the feeling of excitement that comes along with gameday In New Orleans. With that said, football season can be a difficult time for folks who are newly sober. In New Orleans, we do it big! There are the thrills of cheering on the Saints, tailgating and having football get togethers.

During active alcoholism or addiction, we develop certain habits or rituals, so drinking and football often goes hand in hand. We know that it is hard to imagine that recovery can be fun, but we are here to tell you that it is much more fun than blackouts, drinking and driving, arguments with your loved ones or just feeling downright bad about yourself or your behavior.

We know that football season can bring feelings of grief, anxiety, and isolation. We also know that early stages of recovery are hard and new. It is normal for new things to be challenging in early recovery. Common thoughts and feelings are: Why me? I want to be able to drink normally!

We love our sober peeps and we want to support you!

On a personal note, in 2010, Drew Brees led the New Orleans Saints to a victory over the Indianapolis Colts.

The Saints won the super bowl. It was an emotional moment for so many reasons. For me, it was emotional partly because I was standing next to my husband who was 5 years sober. As a family, we had both individually and collectively worked long and hard for those 5 years. It felt incredible to have such a celebratory moment.

Here are five ways to enjoy the New Orleans Saints sober:

  1. Host a Saints game viewing party!

A Saints game is a great opportunity to enjoy what New Orleans people love most: Food! Food is a huge part of our culture, and you can’t have a game day without it. For some, being on their home turf can feel safest. Cooking and preparing for the get together can be a therapeutic and creative.

  • Cook Jambalaya – Jambalaya is an iconic Louisiana dish and what I love about it, is its easy! It can be cooked inside or outside over a burner. If you don’t’ want to make it from scratch, pick up a box of Zatarans jambalaya mix. You can mix in seafood or chicken and sausage
  • Pick up some Popeyes Chicken
  • Stop at Fleurty Girl and get a game day shirt

2. Be with your people

Okay, we know that this is complex. We know that when you are newly sober, its highly likely that you are in the middle of completely changing your support system. There is most definitely grief and sadness that comes along with this. If you have been drinking or using for many years, it’s likely that most of your friends had similar habits. Part of early recovery means making new connections with people who have different lifestyles. We know that this is hard, but it is possible. Fast forward two years and you will be so grateful for your new rituals. The people that you hang out with don’t necessarily have to be one hundred percent sober, but they do have to support your sober lifestyle. A quick note: This is an area where you really have to know yourself! For some, being with people who are one hundred percent sober in early recovery is necessary. For others, it may not be. This is where being in therapy or part of a support group is so essential, so that you are spending time reflecting on your needs.

3. Have an accountability partner

Staying accountable in recovery is one of the most important things. Being open and transparent is key. Having an accountability partnership helps you to recognize when you are in trouble. An accountability person can be

  • A sponsor
  • A mentor who has been where you are
  • A friend who gets it
  • A support group such as AA or NA

If football season is a particularly hard time for you, share this with your accountability person or support group. Get ideas about how they support themselves and each other. Some may not realize this, but New Orleans actually has a big sober community.

4. Have a Jambalaya cook off

We mentioned having Jambalaya at a Saints viewing party, you can also have a Jambalaya cook off!

  • Invite friends over
  • Let your friends know that each friend will get a ballot and voting will be open until the 3rd quarter. At the end of the game the winner is announced. Tell your guests that everyone will be voting for the best dish!

The cool thing about this is that if you are in recovery:

  • This gives you something to focus on. Healthy distractors are good.
  • This makes the day interactive and fun
  • It’s also an opportunity to connect

5. Play Saints Trivia

Whether you have a viewing party or just setting up a group text, playing games is a fun way to activate your brain and to be involved.

Here are some Saints trivia questions:

  • This quarterback played for the saints for 5 years, wearing number two. He led the Saints to their first ever playoff victory in 2000. Who was he? (Aaron Brooks)
  • What season was the first for the Saints in the NFL? (1967)
  • Who was the first coach of the Saints? (Tom Fears)
  • This Saint was drafted by the team in 1971 and is the only player to wear number eight (Archie Manning)

6. Opt out

Just like you are opting out of drinking, you can opt out the Saints game altogether. You can go kayaking, go for a run, go read a book or engage in some activity that you enjoy. If it is best for you to skip football for a while, that is okay. If it is too triggering, you can take a break and do something completely unrelated. We care about you and want you to put yourself first.

Whatever you decide to do, have a plan. A solid plan is always important in recovery. Think about who you want to be around, where you feel safest and an exit plan for any triggers that may arise. Remember to call your accountability person and check in.

Modern Therapy and Wellness is a Therapy practice offering specialty services to individuals and couples. We have specialists in the areas of grief, addiction, Anxiety, chronic illness and couple’s therapy. We provide in person and virtual Therapy in Louisiana. Contact us for a free phone consultation at 504-452-1483. We are here for you!

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