You love music. Who doesn’t? But the raves you once attended were also just as much about the drug culture and now you’ve been in recovery for a year, you’re about ready to try raving again – only, of course, this time, without the drugs.
So what can you do ahead of time to help you deal with the temptations? How do you soak up the beats and trance without being distracted by drugs? What is Coachella like for those of us in recovery?
Here is a great list of ways to enjoy a rave while straight, including:
Practice Dancing – Like the way that person moves on the dance floor? Then just mirror their moves and make them your own. Raving is about dancing not drugs – so get those moves on!
Swap Candy – Candy bracelets (known as Kandi) are fun, sweet, and a great ice-breaker when talking to a complete stranger. Who doesn’t like being given candy? Try giving it.
People Watching – People watching while stoned isn’t much fun – there’s too much to focus on so we focus on nothing. But straight, a rave is a never-ending parade of beautiful, crazy, amazing people. Check out the costumes and outfits. Enjoy being alive and mingling with so much art and love.
Explore – At a lot of the bigger festivals you can find everything from rides to art. Vendors, food, lectures, and more; they’re all there for you to experience. You can even learn stuff – from beading necklaces to quantum physics.
Video Diary – Record a video diary at the event. Interview strangers. Make yourself a part of the fun (without getting in the way) and giving yourself something to do. You’ll also have a record of the event later than you can edit any way you want.
Raving without drugs isn’t just about the sobriety part. Over at Noisey, Michelle Lhooq writes that raving without drugs takes on new meaning in the current political climate, saying “With Trump taking office and protests erupting all around me, sobriety suddenly felt like the best way to face the chaos around me, and find ways to fight back. Nightclubs will always be essential refuges where society’s most marginalized groups are able to find empowerment through each other and resist oppression. Now, more than ever, we need to use these safe spaces to mobilize, connect, and educate each other against the fascists right outside our doors.”
According to Dance Safe, a site that promotes health and safety within the electronic dance music community, says that drugs and drink aren’t the purpose of any rave. The heart and soul of a rave is the artists and their music – drugs aren’t necessary if you’re tuned in with the right perspective. Says Nadia Shiekh, a writer for the Huffington Post, “At your first festival sober, staying sober may be challenging. But, the more you get through the festival and truly enjoy yourself without substances, the easier and more natural it can become.”
Shiekh’s overall philosophy is that whatever you choose to do is your choice alone but be aware that there are plenty of resources available that can help you rave safely and soberly.
There are a couple of touring sober raves dedicated to raving while straight that you might want to check out.
Daybreaker – This rave takes place early – so get an early night the night before. Basically, after an hour of yoga, the floor transforms into a two-hour session of dance and dopamine – yup, the only happy chemicals you’ll be experiencing will be entirely natural.
Daybreaker’s CEO, Radha Agrawal, has converted the concept of the morning rave into a package that contains fitness and mindfulness with dance beats and sweat. You won’t find bouncers at these doors; instead, you’ll get free hugs. And instead of drugs, you’ll get what Agrawal calls DOSE: a “euphoric and naturally occurring cocktail of dopamine, oxytocin, serotonin, and endorphins.”
The Daybreaker brand has grown from its New York roots and now holds events in over 15 different cities across the world including San Francisco, Austin, DC, New York, and Amsterdam.
Morning Gloryville – This rave was born in London and has spread its wings to encompass Berlin and the US. According to NYMag, Morning Gloryville’s venues have natural light “because we want a more uplifting experience,” says its New York co-founder Annie Fabricant. Check out their website to see when and where their next sober rave is scheduled for.
At the end of the day, you can rave in a safe space and enjoy elements that you might never have noticed while under the influence. The music is just as loud, the people just as happy, the mood just as vibrant – only this time everyone’s straight.