Whether you’re donning a flower crown at Coachella, furry boots at EDC or anything that enables you to stay semi-cool at Bonnaroo, attending a music festival can be triggering for people in addiction recovery. Since the days of Woodstock, music festivals are often associated with heavy substance use. However, similar to how people in recovery can enjoy other alcohol-associated activities like tailgating and barbecues sober, it’s possible to attend a music festival, remain sober AND have fun.

Here are five suggestions for how to have sober fun at music festivals.

Make a Plan

Once you purchase your tickets for your chosen music festival, start to design a plan that will help you prepare for potential triggers and temptations to use alcohol or drugs during the festival. Some suggestions for your plan include:

How to Enjoy Music Festivals Sober

  • Create a schedule — You can make it as loose or strict as you want. For example, your schedule could be something like: wake up, meditate, eat breakfast, check-in with your sober support system, etc. The purpose of your schedule is to help you stay focused on your goals and sobriety.
  • What to say when someone offers you drugs or alcohol — Decide up front how you want to respond if someone offers you drugs or a drink. You can be honest and explain why you want to abstain from using drugs and alcohol or find another response you’re comfortable with. Thinking about it beforehand can keep you from feeling put on the spot in the moment.
  • Keep your plan close — For easy access, you can type the plan in your notes on your phone and have it on you at all times.
  • Stay in touch — It’s essential to have a support system you can reach out to during the festival whether it’s a support group, a sober friend or any other resource that helps you maintain your recovery. Keep those names and numbers handy, just in case you need them.

Additionally, if this is your first music festival in recovery, it may be a good idea to be close to your support system and home in case the sensory overload becomes overwhelming. After experiencing a few festivals in recovery, you can take a long road trip when you’re comfortable.

Bring a Sober Friend

Having someone else in recovery at the festival with you can make it easier to stick to your plan. You’ll have a support system by your side and you can hold each other accountable. You can also share your plans so you’re aware of the type of support you’ll need and when.

Choose Music You Love

When the music festival is more about music and less about partying, not only may you enjoy it more, but you may not even miss drugs and alcohol. If the artist and bands you’re hearing are meaningful to you, it can help curb the temptation to use substances. Skip bands or DJs that you aren’t as interested in to avoid possible triggers and temptation.

Find the Sober Tent

If the festival you’re attending is one that you camp at, choose the section where drugs and alcohol are not permitted. Depending on the festival, there may also be a sober tent where you can find support and avoid temptations.

Remember Self Care

Self-care is an important coping mechanism, so it’s important to remember to take care of yourself when attending a music festival. It’s essential to take any medications that you are prescribed, drink plenty of water to stay hydrated and maintain healthy eating habits. Be mindful of the time of day. For example, if you typically are more a day person, stick to day shows or performances and avoid the late night hours.

While the goal is to maintain sobriety, recovery is a lifelong process and setbacks sometimes occur. If you think you or someone you know is struggling with a substance use disorder, help is available. At The Recovery Village, a team of professionals design an individualized treatment program to address substance use and co-occurring disorders. Call and speak with a representative to learn more about our facilities and treatment programs.

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