With the World Cup knock-out stages here and summer temperatures soaring in the UK, beer gardens and boozy BBQs have never looked so appealing.

For football fans that are in recovery from alcoholism, the World Cup celebrations can be a test of even the strongest sobriety. Throw in hot summer temperatures, and the temptation to break abstinence from alcohol can be very real for some.

There is no reason why you can’t enjoy the World Cup festivities and stay sober. Here are our top tips on how to survive the football season without relapsing on alcohol.

Exit plan

If you are going to watch a game or to a pub to watch a game on TV, make a plan so that your sobriety is safeguarded. Give yourself permission to leave any time if you start to feel uncomfortable around alcohol or it becomes a temptation.

Keep focused

Remember the reasons that you can’t drink. That one is never enough and drinking always ends in misery.

Plan ahead

Take your own soft drink beverages if you can.

Full stomach

Eat before you go out; you are less likely to confuse hunger with thirst.

Don’t risk it

If your recovery is not on solid ground and you are already tempted to drink, don’t go. Prioritise your recovery and speak to someone about it who you trust rather than risking it and being in an alcoholic environment.

Support from friends

If you are watching the game in a pub, take friends with you who are either in recovery themselves or who will watch out for you and support your sobriety.

Don’t people please

If you don’t want to go to an event as you know there will be a lot of drinking, it’s okay to say no.

Choose the right location

If you attend recovery meetings, arrange with others to watch the football matches in an alcohol-free environment.

Be honest

Be brutally honest with yourself, are you actually interested in the football or the boozy atmosphere? If it is the latter, you had better stay away.

Once an alcoholic has it in their mind that they are going to drink, there is little that anyone can say or do to dissuade them. Your recovery is, therefore, your responsibility. If you are in recovery from alcoholism it is not wise to take risks with your recovery, especially in the early weeks and months.

Alcohol and Euphoric Recall

Alcohol and euphoric recall is a dangerous thing – if you’re alcoholic. Your brain is likely to recall the good times first and not the times that led up to you stopping alcohol. Those that stay in recovery and avoid relapse, tend to follow a recovery programme and do not knowingly put their recovery at risk.

We are not suggesting that you avoid activities that are enjoyable just because there will be alcohol there, we are suggesting that you take appropriate measures to ensure that you feel safe and comfortable. Providing you do this and ensure that your recovery comes first, there is no reason why you can’t enjoy the World Cup and create your own alcohol-free atmosphere.