Spotlight: Clean and Sober World SeriesBrittany Brizendine
“It’s possible to have fun while staying clean and sober.” That is the message conveyed by the directors of the Clean and Sober National Softball Association (CSNSA) as they encourage ball players to enjoy the game and the competition without drugs or alcohol. CSNSA events and the culminating Clean and Sober World Series provide an opportunity for men and women in recovery from addiction to play together, have a great time, and maybe even win a series title.
Clean and Sober Mission
CSNSA’s mission is to “foster unity across the United States among clean and sober softball players.” The directors, active members of recovery themselves, are focused on “providing a place for the addict or alcoholic to have fun, fellowship, and of course compete without having to get loaded.”
Personal integrity is a big component of the organization and the series. A lot of the responsibility for the integrity of the teams and the players is placed on the team managers. There are eligibility restrictions for players and teams which are simplified by the directors. They do ask their members, though, especially the managers, “to consider their personal integrity when gauging their level of desire as well as those of their players.”
Unity and Fun
The Clean and Sober World Series, as well as other events hosted by the CSNSA, help recovering addicts build unity while having fun and competing in a clean manner. Their message is focused on the idea that “it’s possible to have fun while staying clean and sober.” Their hope is that “all the players on the team identify themselves as either addicts or alcoholics who are currently recovering from drug addiction and/or alcoholism in NA or AA.”
The events are not meant to exclude others but rather are designed to respect the huge role that a “clean and sober ball has played in both of our individual personal recovery stories.” The world series directors “just want to create a safe environment for the still suffering addict or alcoholic, especially the newcomer.”
Rules and Desires
Players participating in the CSNSA ball games and the Clean and Sober World Series must follow the organization’s guidelines and rules, which include the requirement that the players must:
- Identify as an addict and/or alcoholic
- Have a minimum of 30 days continuous abstinence from drugs and alcohol for playing eligibility.
The organization’s directors cite the references to desire that are integral to support groups and 12-Step programs for addicts and alcoholics:
- Tradition Three in Narcotics Anonymous says: “The only requirement for membership is a desire to stop using.”
- Tradition Three in Alcoholics Anonymous says: “The only requirement for A.A. membership is a desire to stop drinking.”
- The NA text also reads: “Desire is not a measurable commodity. It lives in the heart of each individual member.”
First Clean and Sober World Series
The inaugural Clean and Sober World Series tournament was held in November 2018, in Palm Springs. Teams are categorized by ability and gender, with groups in the Upper Division, Middle Division, and Lower Division and competitions in the men, women, and co-ed groups. The first tournament’s winners were:
- Upper Division, Men – Hot Butter
- Upper Division, Women – Serenity
- Upper Division, Co-ed – Vortex
- Middle Division, Men – Character Defects
- Middle Division, Co-ed – JFT
- Lower Division, Men – And Vastly More
- Lower Division, Women – MIA
- Lower Division, Co-ed – Plan B
The second annual Clean and Sober World Series was held in November 2019, also in Palm Springs. In 2020, the series is tentatively scheduled to be held in Las Vegas.
Softball players participating in the world series and other CSNSA events are positive about the opportunity for unity and fun without drugs or alcohol. One player indicated that she felt “so blessed that there were so many clean and sober people that made it out to this event.” Another player said “Never in all my years have I seen such fierce competition and deep admiration for the team across the field. Amazing gift we have all given ourselves.”
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