Wow it's been a while since my last post!
I feel like that's good. I'm at a point in my life where sobriety is simply the norm, and something I don't need to consciously focus on during my day to day. Which can also be dangerous - complacency! Especially when it comes to triggering events like music festivals. I already spent one music festival totally sober this year, and on Friday I'm heading out for my second of the summer - Tall Tree!
I know of a lot of friends who are quitting drugs and alcohol, or taking a break, or are just interested in spending parts of music festivals sober to gain a different experience. So I figured I'd share some of my tips and tricks, because why the hell not? This is how I spend music festivals sober.
Take Time For Yourself -
I learned this last Tall Tree. I spent so much of it running around, trying to do everything at once, having a complete lack of sleep, and awful diet, that on the second day I crashed, so hard. The crash extended over to the Sunday. I felt awful. Luckily I'd been sober over a year at that point, but to somebody who's newer into sobriety, that's a huge trigger - exhaustion and poor self-care. For myself, all it ended up taking to cure me was a bottle of water - whoops! Hydrate. Take five to breathe and enjoy the scenery. You're not going to be able to do everything that the festival has to offer. Make a plan and stick with it, or just rock the spontaneity. Take time for yourself.
Locate Your Support System -
Okay. Once, when I was a few months into my sobriety, I found myself at a party where there was booze, and I was having cravings really bad. I got a hold of one of my friends and asked if he could find me ketamine! (Hey! It wasn't booze, but I still wanted to get fucked up.) "Uh ... sure," he responded, only to say a few minutes later that he had looked around and couldn't find any. Damn. The next day he asked if I'd found any, I said no, he said, "Good, you fucking idiot. I made sure nobody would help you out last night." Oh, my heart. These are the friends you want to keep around. These are the people who are going to support you. Be open with your friends before you leave for a festival and explain to them that you may want some extra support in your sobriety, and ask them to be your "check-in"s if needed. And if it's a festival I'm going to, come on up and hang out with me!
Coffee and Other Drinks
Oh coffee. I'm drinking an obscene amount of coffee at this point in my life. Yes, coffee is great. But it's also going to dehydrate you, and you'll end up in that headachey exhaustion. Also coffee is an appetite suppressant, so there go your chances of eating a well-balanced diet. Okay, coffee in moderation ... and replacing your usual alcoholic drinks with something non-alcoholic. I always go for the canned ginger ale in a social setting, which is really the only time I drink ginger ale. The can simulates a beer can, and it mimics the social aspect of drinking for me. Go ahead and try this with root beer, coconut water, bottled water - anything. Make sure to keep drinking bottled water, especially if you're going to substitute alcohol with sugar ... haha!
No, seriously. Stop and look around. Absorb your surroundings. Breathe, and feel the air expand into your lungs and exhale back into it. You are a part of everything that is happening around you, and you are currently happening. You are right there in that moment, and you are being. Aware, conscious, and authentically your own self. People are milling about in the coolest clothing, maybe drunk, smiling, happy, crying, angry, stumbling, laughing, all themselves currently being - and you are yourself. This is my favorite part of a festival, is taking that moment to stop in my tracks and see everything that's happening around me, and I'm watching it and a part of it with clear eyes and a full heart. This is the feeling I hold onto to ensure sobriety.
Don't be afraid to just disappear. Whether it's to your tent, your car, or packing up and actually just leaving - do what you need to do to protect your sobriety, because you need to come first. Don't feel compelled to stick something out because you feel pressured by anything. Your feelings need to come first. Sobriety doesn't just happen, it needs to be constantly accomplished and at the forefront of your mind when it comes to an event you may find triggering. Go sit in your car. Go for a hike away from the grounds. Go for a drive into town. Go lay down in your tent. Or go pack up your stuff and go home, or somewhere you feel safe. Don't berate yourself, because you did the best that you could. Give yourself lots of love, because you can do it. Sobriety is not going to be easy.
On Friday I leave for my second Tall Tree Music Festival. I had an absolute blast at last year's festival which was my first! I stayed sober easily the whole weekend and had a beautiful experience finding inner peace on the top of a mountain, and remembered about self-care after letting myself get too wrapped up in the festival experience. Last year's Tall Tree was a great learning experience, and a beautiful weekend for me. I'm looking forward to branching out on that beauty this year - and I have zero doubt in my mind that my sobriety will be threatened, because I know that I have the tools under my belt to ensure that my health comes first. Absolutely.