Music is a huge part of peoples lives, including alcoholics and drug addicts. The high kick of the drum beat, the reminiscent strum of the guitars, and even powerful lyrics to songs can help us get through tough times like addiction and makes celebrations all that more enjoyable. There’s many who have fond memories of concerts they’ve attended with friends, but many of these can involve drugs and alcohol.
For those new to sobriety, thinking about going to a concert or a festival for the first time sober can feel like treading in deep waters. In a tight audience, it’s possible to smell booze on another strangers breath. There may be back rooms and clandestine handshakes. It’s also possible that those in recovery have gotten drugs at these venues before.
The good news is, going to a concert or festival sober, is possible, and is enjoyable, and we’ve put together a list of lessons and tips we’ve learned from doing this such thing.
Good Music Doesn’t Need Any Enhancement
At the time, I was worried that I wouldn’t be able to enjoy the music as much without something running through my bloodstream, however the first concert I went to sober, I found out this wasn’t the case. If anything, it was nice to know that when I danced or bounced around it was purely due to my enjoyment of the music, and I was actually able to remember it the next day.
I See The Whole Show… And Remember It
In my drinking and using days, I was that person that would fall down drunk, pass out, and never make it inside the venue. Today, I can bank on the fact that I won’t miss any major part of the show. Not only do I now see the show in it’s entirety, I’m able to get my money’s worth, remember it all, and “turn up” without having to get wasted.
Sober People Are The Most Fun
All the people that I go to concerts and festivals with are sober and we have the best times dancing the night away. Today, hanging out with fall down drunks at concerts aren’t at all that fun, and I enjoy hanging out with people who are going to enjoy the same type of music as me – especially people who are also trying to enjoy themselves in a sober mind-frame. There are friends I’ve had that made it seem as if I was somehow missing out because I wasn’t getting high with them, but they’re obviously not real friends or worth my time.
Caffeine Works Wonders
Coupled with my already excessive levels of adrenaline, keeping something like a Red bull or a soda in my hand keeps me going, works wonders, and gets me pumped. Multiple people have implied that surely I must have been taken uppers and it’s hard to believe that anyone could be so enthusiastic all the time. However, having either a soda or an energy drink in my hand can help me get pumped and feel apart of the scene.
I Focus On The Music
When I stopped focusing on all the people around me that are drinking and started focus on my friends and the music, I started having a great time. It can be easy to compare other people who “seem” to be having a great time with either drugs or alcohol, but when this happens I tend to hyper focus and waste my energy on the beer in their hand or the drugs that they’re doing and am not realizing that they, too, are trying to focus on the music and have a good time. Why let someone’s expensive beer distract myself from the great music being played?
I Don’t Humiliate Myself Anymore
So many times I saw a video of myself after an eventful night and dropped my jaw in disbelief. If you’ve done this, you’re not alone. I used to humiliate myself doing crazy drunken things like tripping and falling, or making out with a complete stranger, but what I’ve found is that the environment of concerts and festivals alone are intoxicating enough as it is, even sober. There’s a fine line between letting loose, and losing your memory for the rest of the night.
I Look Up Sober Meet Up Groups
When I started attending concerts and festivals in my sobriety, I was surprised to find out a lot of concerts and festivals have sober meet up groups that facilitate meetings during set breaks of the shows or before the festival starts. Typically, these meetings are 12-step based, and other sober people attending the festival are looking for support as well. I’ve found some great friends through these and have been able to enjoy and meet up with them later during the shows. You can find these sort of meet up groups on the festival website. (Sometimes, SoberNation even attends these festivals as well!)
I Leave Whenever I Get Uncomfortable
Sometimes even when taking all the proper precautions, there are environments that still can be too intense. Before the festival or concert even begins, I like to form an exit plan. Whether that’s having a place to meet up if someone get’s lost or a friend or mentor you can call when you start to feel uncomfortable or unsafe, there is no exit plan too detailed. Make sure your transportation is arranged and you have friends on backup that can go with you.
Leaving early from a concert or festival doesn’t mean that you’ve given up. You can still attend another concert or festival by the same musician at another time. However, it’s important to take things one step at a time.
I Remember What I’ve Been Through
If a drink or a drug sounds good or starts to look appealing, I always remember where I’ve been in the past and all the hard work I’ve put into my sobriety. When I go to these types of events, I remember what I would be like if I did take a drink or a drug, and I’m not willing to risk what I’ve worked so hard for for one drink.