“I used to feel as though music festivals ran hand in hand with drug use; one doesn’t occur without the help of the other. But, from what I have learned, that doesn’t have to be the case.”
Festival Season Festival season has finally arrived! The warmer weather brings lots of music and arts festivals and shows. When I was using, festivals would turn into a reason to have a “socially acceptable” week-long drug binge. My friends and I would spend so much time buying the various pills and powders we would be using to enhance our concert experience and so that we could “do it how it’s supposed to be done”. “I probably had the most fun at these events while I was sober.” I used to feel as though music festivals ran hand in hand with drug use; one doesn’t occur without the help of the other. But, from what I have learned, that doesn’t have to be the case. I’ve gone to a few festivals recently and remained sober throughout the whole weekend. I probably had the most fun at these events while I was sober. Of course there are drugs around, and sometimes it can be a bit overwhelming, but life doesn’t need to be limited because of this disease. I know that when I am working a solid 12-step program I can do almost anything and remain sober. The truth is that there can be possible triggers around, and with the keen sense as drug addict, handoffs can be spotted from a mile away. At events such as these it is important to know limits and to always put sobriety first. There is always another show, or another event, and if you’re not ready don’t force it! And lets say that while at a show things get too intense – there is always the option to leave. Escape plans and exit strategies are always a good idea!
The Shift Towards Welcoming the Sober At festivals, there has been an interesting shift where they are becoming more inclusive and welcoming of those who are sober. Most have meetings or sober areas for like-minded sober partiers to meet up. Coachella has Soberchella meetings for attendees and a Safe Harbor sober room for musicians and crew. The upcoming Lightening in a Bottle festival has “Lightening Without the Bottle” as a sober support. These types of massive events seem to have taken note that not all of its attendees are partying the same way, and that many are abstaining from drinking and drugs altogether.
Having Fun in Recovery …It Doesn’t Have to Be Hard Truthfully, if I wasn’t having fun in recovery then I doubt I’d remain sober. The feeling of freedom that I have at events such as these is something that wasn’t possible with drug use. My normie friends always ask me, “Is it hard to go to something like that?!” My answer is that it doesn’t have to be. Weekends full of music and dance make me feel alive, and by choosing sobriety I also choose life. “The feeling of freedom that I have at events such as these is something that wasn’t possible with drug use.”