Featured on: WNYT New Channel 13
Story by: Nia Hamm

Link to full article: http://wnyt.com/news/non-alcoholic-sober-bowl-party-to-be-held-for-recovering-alcoholics/4391402/

Saratoga Springs — Staff at Saratoga Stadium in Saratoga Springs expect huge crowds at the sports bar for Super Bowl Sunday.

“There’s a lot more food ordering a lot more beer and alcohol,” said Saratoga Stadium Manager Lisa Vigliotti. “So just making sure we’re ready stocked and ready to go,” she said.

Alcohol at a Super Bowl event or party can be a problem for recovering alcoholics.

Brian Farr, who is the chairperson of Recovery Advocacy in Saratoga, or RAIS, has a solution.

“We came up with the idea of the Super Bowl last year when we decided that we would like to do something on the Super Bowl that doesn’t involve drinking,” Farr said.

Farr is in recovery and has been sober for 20 years.

He is also a substance abuse counselor at Saint Peters Hospital.

“Being around alcohol just like being around other drugs can be very triggering,” Farr said. “It can be very difficult for someone. If you had quit smoking you wouldn’t want to be around people smoking cigarettes,” he said.

No alcohol? No problem.

Farr said there will be plenty of food, non-alcoholic drinks and tailgating games.”

This is the second year RAIS is hosting the alcohol-free Sober Bowl party. This year’s event will be held at the Saratoga Springs United Methodist Church.

“Our church post different recovery group almost every night of the week,” said Associate Pastor Drew Sperry.

Sperry said some of the former addicts he works with tell him this is what they need.

“They’re in a place where they don’t have a lot of friends or family to celebrate the Super Bowl with and that can also be hard for some people and lead them to make and unhealthy choices.>

Church member Peter Elmendorf agrees.

“It’ll be the second super bowl that I’ve gone to since I quit drinking 36 years ago,” Elmendorf said. “The first one that I went to was right after I quit drinking and I realize that wasn’t a place that I wanted to be,” he said.

“You don’t need alcohol to have a good time to watch a good game,” Vigliotti said.

The event is also for family and friends of people in recovery.

Organizers say events like this also help remove the sigma around addiction.