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Your guide to surviving a festival – sober

festival hands in the air covered in colourful paint

Festival season is upon us and while we might often associate them with drink and drugs, there is a whole side to festivals, live music, and entertainment that can be enjoyed and appreciated sober. If you’re planning on going to a festival this summer and beyond, here are some tips from the team at Help Me Stop so that you can make the most out of it.

Festival Culture

There is a long-association with festivals and alcohol, but there are now more alcohol free options than ever and most festivals are championing those making these decisions for themselves and their health. Gone are the days when festival culture was solely wrapped up in getting drunk and that alone, and there are also many festivals that are more arts-based than alcohol-based!

Ask yourself why you are attending

Have you ever looked back on an event or festival with rose tinted glasses, and only remembered the good times? It is called euphoric recall, and it is a common feeling for those addicted to drugs and alcohol. Your mind exaggerates the positives and dulls down the negatives, meaning you often blank out the bad experiences that are associated with being drunk or under the influence. 

While it might seem like the glory days when you look back on them, in reality, they weren’t, and you will likely have landed yourself in some dangerous situations. Follow these steps and tips to make sure you’re making memories that you will want to remember this time around.

Ask yourself why you are attending the festival, and who you will be attending with? Going with a sober friend is a good place to start, and making your wishes clear about remaining abstinent throughout the event. You should also have a clear exit plan in place for when you want to leave – know when it is time to go!

Many of the 12 Step fellowships and other mutual aid groups have a presence and even meetings at major music festivals, so it is worth checking this out before you go so you can see where there is support should you need it. 

To camp or not to camp

Dipping your toe in the water with a day festival might be a good place to start, but if you are planning a multi-day trip, consider whether you want to stay in a nearby hotel to get some time to decompress, or whether you would like to be in the thick of it for the whole festival and pitch a tent. 

Dealing with drug use

Being around drug use can be triggering when you are in recovery. While it is not always the case that there will be drug use at festivals, it is extremely common. Think about how you will handle these situations if you find yourself around drug use, and look into festivals that are not as heavily associated with drugs, if that will help you enjoy the experience sober.

Enjoy yourself

Most of all, enjoy yourself. 

If you’re surrounded by the right kind of people and have the correct support in place, a festival can be a brilliant experience, and one last perk of going sober means that you will remember every moment!

Help Me Stop offers non-residential rehab for drug and alcohol addiction across London and online. 

Our treatment programme centres around integrative psychotherapy, which blends a number of evidence-based therapies, including the 12 step approach to addiction treatment, person-centred therapy, Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT), psychodynamic therapy, family therapy, art therapy, recovery workshops, mindfulness, and more. We work mainly in group sessions, and every client also has a one-to-one counselling session each week with their focal therapist.

If you would like to find out more about how we can help you stop, get in touch for a confidential chat.

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