Before sporting events and other group activities, many college students engage in “pregaming,” which usually means drinking alcohol before the party or event.
However, pregaming doesn’t always have to involve alcohol consumption, and avoiding alcohol comes with several benefits.
Today’s college-aged people are better equipped to spot the signs of addiction among their peers, and many are embracing alcohol-free activities.
How To Pregame While Abstaining From Alcohol
It can be difficult to imagine pregaming without alcohol intake, but alcohol-free pregaming is as simple as socializing without a glass of wine or beer.
You can still participate in tailgating parties, pre-party gatherings, and other celebratory activities without alcoholic beverages.
Alcohol-free drinks such as mocktails and non-alcoholic beer can provide fun drink options, but you can also stick with water or soda.
Benefits Of Pregaming Without Alcohol
There are several benefits to pregaming without alcohol. Here you’ll find five of the most important ones.
1. Better Sleep
Any amount of alcohol can disrupt sleep. While drinking alcohol can cause people to fall asleep quickly, it disrupts rapid eye movement (REM) sleep, which is essential for emotional regulation, memory formation, and brain function.
For college students, this disruption can lead to more stress and poor grades.
Avoiding alcohol, however, can improve sleep, promote energy levels, and keep your brain functioning at its best.
2. Better Physical Health Outcomes
Abstaining from alcohol promotes better physical health than drinking does. Binge drinking, which is common during pregaming, especially creates long-term health problems.
Some common health issues that result from drinking include:
- high blood pressure
- heart disease
- heart attack
- weakened immune system
- poor skin health
- cirrhosis of the liver (liver disease)
Avoiding alcoholic drinks can help you avoid these health issues.
Abstaining from alcohol has short-term health benefits as well. For example, it improves your hydration levels and allows you to wake up without a headache or nausea.
3. Better Mental Health Outcomes
Reducing your alcohol intake also has important mental health benefits.
Substance abuse, including alcohol abuse, shares many of the same mental health risks as college-related stress. These risks include depression, anxiety, and excessive anger.
By examining your drinking habits and finding alternative pregaming options, you can improve your mental wellness.
4. Reduced Risk Of Alcohol Use Disorder
Heavy drinking, especially among young people, increases the risk of developing alcohol use disorder.
A recent Texas A&M study noted a connection between alcohol-focused pregaming and risky drug-related behaviors, including polysubstance abuse.
Such risky behaviors often lead to long-term alcohol abuse and addiction.
Alcohol-free pregaming, however, can help you reduce your risk of addiction by limiting dangerous drinking behaviors.
5. Inclusivity For Sober Friends
Some college students already experience drug and alcohol addiction, and for these students, pregaming can trigger a relapse.
Many sober students avoid such activities altogether, which is a positive choice, but it can also create loneliness if their friends only attend activities that involve alcohol.
Alcohol-free pregaming creates a more inclusive environment, allowing your sober friends to participate in the fun.
What To Do If You Can’t Abstain From Alcohol
Some people experience excessive difficulty abstaining from alcohol.
For example, they may try alcohol-free pregaming, giving up alcohol for the new year, or participating in Dry January, but cravings and withdrawal symptoms make their goals feel impossible.
If you have tried to reduce or stop your alcohol consumption, but you’ve found it very difficult to do so, you may be experiencing an alcohol addiction.
Get Help For Addiction
Addiction is a mental health disorder that impacts millions of Americans.
However, it is a treatable condition. If you or a loved one experience substance abuse, contact Addiction Resource today to find treatment options.
Published on October 4, 2023
Addiction Resource aims to provide only the most current, accurate information in regards to addiction and addiction treatment, which means we only reference the most credible sources available.
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- National Institute On Alcohol Abuse And Alcoholism — Alcohol Use Disorder (AUD) In The United States: Age Groups And Demographic Characteristics
- Sleep Foundation — Alcohol And Sleep
- Texas A&M Today — ‘Pregaming’ Linked To Risky Substance Use Among College Students