Sports Fandom While Sober

Plus alarming new data on sports betting addiction among U.S. men

It’s game day, sober owners! Mike III here, getting ready for a day full of NFL football. Pretty much like I do every Sunday during football season but “Super-er.” I thought it’d be fitting to make this issue about being a sports fan while living a sober lifestyle.

It’s no easy feat… for most men, watching sports is directly tied to drinking. In fact, I used to believe that I would never stop drinking solely because it would be impossible to watch sports without having some (okay, many) beers. No joke, I was that big of a sports fan.

My fandom is quite different today. I’m still a big fan but not quite as fanatic. Not because I can’t be, but because I’ve developed more interests & passions over the past six years that share my time.

This issue is going out to over 270 men (and some badass women). Thank you all for your support! 🙏

🏈 Sober Game Day

I’ll be honest, I mostly avoided watching sports altogether the first couple years of my sobriety. Avoiding hangouts to watch a game was intentional early on but I was so busy rebuilding my life that it wasn’t nearly the issue I anticipated. Plus like I mentioned, I eventually picked up other interests that I chose to spend my time on.

Nowadays, it’s more balanced and being a sports fan has found its place in my sober lifestyle. I’m a Miami Dolphins fan so it’s been a rough couple of decades, but I’m no longer triggered by watching a game or the outcome of it. Let’s face it, the outcome was the same regardless of the game… I was going to be drunk.

The point is that you may need to change your routine around sports, especially early in sobriety, but it does get easier and can eventually become a non-issue. If sports are a trigger for you, here are some tips…

  • Avoid the past routine that drinking is engrained in. Gatherings with family or friends are tough to skip at first if that was your thing. Be intentional about having something new that you enjoy to replace game days. That also gives you an excuse if you’re not open to telling folks the real reason you’re skipping. You may even develop an interest or passion that sticks long-term and becomes part of your sober lifestyle.

  • Reframe your mindset to minimize FOMO. Fear of missing out has wiped out many sober superheroes. Focus those thoughts on the bigger picture, what you’re becoming, and remind yourself what’ll happen if you give into temptation. Watching the game likely just gave you an excuse to drink more and the feeling of fitting in.

  • Find an alternative way of being a fan. If you don’t want to avoid sports entirely, connect with it differently. We live in a world of technology — use it to alter how you express yourself. Find an online fan community for your fave team, join a Facebook fan group, check the team’s official website for fan clubs or fan zones, collect digital trading cards on sites like NFL ALL DAY or NBA Top Shot. You can find a ton of ways to connect as a fan online, just do a search.

🚧 Sports Betting Addiction

Men’s Health just released results from their survey on sports betting habits among American men and the numbers expose the growing problem of gambling addiction…

  • Of the 3,800 men surveyed, 1,500 admitted placing a bet on sports in the past year — that’s about 40%

  • 44% say it’s difficult to watch sports without feeling the urge to bet

  • 51% would be willing to wager $10,000 if it meant the chance to potentially win $1 million

  • 1 in 5 allot a quarter of their paycheck to gambling on sports

  • 1 in 5 also are in debt or have been in debt due to gambling on sports

  • 58% say sports betting has affected their mental health

Those are just a few of the concerning stats they highlight. The survey is part of an entire series Men’s Health has on sports betting and gambling addiction.

Gambling, not on sports but at the nearby casino, nearly derailed my sobriety several times early on. I’m working on a full issue dedicated to gambling addiction in general including my personal history with it.

If you’ve been affected by gambling addiction, I’d love to chat. Just reply to this email.

▶️ Athletes Battle Alcohol Too

Alcohol isn’t just engrained in watching sports, it can also become engrained in the lifestyle of the athletes themselves. There are many inspiring stories of athletes overcoming addictions.

There’s something powerful about hearing these guys who play at a high level and are idolized tell their stories that are painfully so relatable. It gets me every time, but isn’t it great that they are able to use their platform to share that inspiration? Those three videos have over half a million views on YouTube combined. 👏

HAVE A STRONG DAY is a mindset club. Wear the message with hoodies, crewnecks, long sleeves, short sleeves, accessories & headwear. It seriously puts a little swagger in my step on days I’m wearing this message.

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🔎 III Things

  1. Introducing a new section that’ll be wrapping up each issue… 3 quick-hit things I’m up to or into.

  2. Last month, I was a guest on the Through the Glass Recovery Podcast. We had a great discussion on communication skills in recovery and I’ll be sure to share the link when it’s released later this month.

  3. January 17th marked my 6-year sober anniversary, and I gotta say, it gets finer with time. 👍

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