Historically, mind altering substances and music have gone together naturally. Alcohol in particular has such a ubiquitous presence at social events that in some of these contexts, it’s considered inconceivable to forgo drinking. So we’ve considered the challenge of going to a gig sober.
Okay, so it sounds like a great idea but what does it take to actually pull this off? Here we have some suggestions for how to go to a gig, or any other social event, as sober as judge, and have an excellent time while you’re at it.
Some might find that heading to a local, smaller gig to start with is a good way to have a solid crack at going sober to a social event. Of course, it depends on the atmosphere, but smaller venues might provide a better environment to observe your comfort level. You might realise that without alcohol, you get tired sooner, or that you need something to do with your hands. Caffeine can help and so can a glass of tonic water. Start out small to figure out what you need and what works best for you.
2. Ask for support
Consider having a discussion with close friends or family about your decision to take on this challenge. Of course, this is easier said than done, but trust that genuine friends will want to look out for you. When Jezebel talked to author Sacha Scoblic about her book, Unwasted: my lush sobriety, one of the biggest takeaways was to talk to your friends. Scoblic suggests that your sobriety can benefit your friends, too, as you help them realise a new way of experiencing social events. You might even consider asking a mate to join in on being sober for the night. Think about the support you need to get through the evening, and then don’t be afraid to ask for it.
Plus, you can talk to the folks who are heading to the upcoming event with you. Are you feeling anxious? Excited? Either way, let them know how you feel about making this choice.
3. Look forward to the show
Go to something you actually want to see. Be it a small show at the local pub or a head-banging metal concert, whatever suits your fancy. But get excited! This way you’ll be able to try focus on the show itself as opposed to the drink you’d usually be downing.
Plus, alcohol’s depressant qualities kind of dull your senses. Without it, your eyes and ears can feast. In fact, considering the amazing way that music affects our brains, it’s not so far off the mark to describe music as a drug in and of itself (despite this fitting a painful loudmouth cliche).
Discover the experience. The sights, the sounds, the whole shebang. Check out this account of a festival raver who discovered that the sober gig experience wasn’t just alright, it was better; suggesting that everyone should give it a go at least once.
Discover the power of dance. Give into the music’s unrelenting pulse of invitation. You might feel silly at first. Or afraid of how you will look. But you needn’t, and you shouldn’t. Instead, in the cheesy but true words of William Purkey (or Mark Twain, no one is really sure):
Sing like no one is listening.
Love like you’ve never been hurt.
Dance like nobody’s watching,
And live like it’s heaven on earth.
Because, really, what’s the worst that could happen?
5. Know you’re not alone
At an event like a festival, people often assume everyone is drinking. And up until now, you also might have assumed this about everyone there. But, in fact, it is becoming increasingly popular to go to social events like festivals sober.
As sobriety begins to gain a more fashionable reputation, a host of events which are structured around the burgeoning sober culture are beginning to pop up. From juice crawls to sober daytime raves, many are realising the value of enjoying experiences, alcohol-free.