For those of you who aren't aware last weekend Sober Saturdayz attended BassCoast (an incredibly beautiful music festival in Merritt, BC). This news is absolutely BONKERS because this time last year I was walking around BassCoast like a sad prom queen who ran out of special party punch. Pretty much what happened was I did some of the most visual MDMA of my life ... followed by me getting lost for 5 hours in the dark. It legit got to a point where I was SO thirsty and SO dehydrated that I stole a blue Gatorade from someones campsite because I was so friggin; parched (whoever you are if you're reading this bless your soul).
This is funny (kinda) to write about now because I know I'm not the same person as I was this time last year. But if I'm being honest it's still cringe worthy because it wasn't that long ago. I told myself I would never go back to BassCoast, that it wasn't for me and that I would party with people who weren't so judgmental about my drug and alcohol consumption next time.
Well, mom (my figurative responsible mom), look at me now, sitting on the BassCoast Harm Reduction Panel talking about my Sober Curious journey! Although this year was tough as fuck, the fact that I was able to see my progress over the year and end up back at the place I thought I would never go back to was pretty epic.
ANYWAYS, here are my 10 do's and don'ts of an alcohol-free festival season:
1. Bring your own drinks!
I CANNOT stress this enough and when you think you've brought enough, bring more! My favs were flavoured Pellegrino (Clementine), Partake (Pale Ale), Yerba (Mint), Sugar Free Energy Drinks (XS) and of course my go-to Caleno and tonic!
2. Bring fun drinking containers!
I was lucky enough to find this ADORABLE pastel purple pineapple at Walmart on our drive there. But fun cozies (can holders), disco ball shaped things and anything that sparkles does just fine.
3. Bring your yoga mat!
One of the BEST things about not being hungover is you can ACTUALLY make it to the morning meditations/yoga classes. WAAAAY better start to your morning ... BELIEVE me lol.
4. Check the schedule for workshops!
Now I did this before when I was still drinking constantly at festivals BUT this time I was actually able to pick ones that require you to sit still (not as easy as it sounds on day 3 of my usual festival benders).
5. Check in with yourself throughout the day and night!
I don't know about everyone else but I'm a Taurus and I NEED routine and systems or else I'll get all mad cow on you (does that joke work here?). It's SO SO SOOOO important that you are paying close attention to how things/people are making you feel and then ACTING on those feelings. Ive had to ghost MANY times to get myself to a place that was going to set me up for success when it comes to decision making instead of the opposite. Honestly, if people get mad at you leaving unannounced F them!
6. Have something to fiddle with!
We all know how tough it is when you don't have a drink in your hand and you have no idea what to do with your arms suddenly. My personal favs are this quite large silver fan (probably annoyed some people with that thing but whatever) and these ADORABLE necklaces by COLORMEWEIRD (check her out on instagram Im pretty sure she's doing a giveaway atm!)
7. Go for walks!
Im SUPER sensitive to energies (says every girl ever, but like especially me lol) and it can get overwhelming. I used to stay and force myself to socialize as to not be "rude" but it usually ended with me drinking because I felt uncomfortable. Take a break .. have a kit kat ... on your walk.
8. Set Intentions!
I'm not gonna lie I was hella nervous going back to BassCoast this year. I was scared I would have no self control, that I would be surrounded by judgemental people, that I would do something I would regret, the list honestly goes on. That being said, I DESPISE when my fears hold me back. So to tackle things I spent weeks before envisioning how I wanted to feel when I left the festival. I wanted to leave feeling inspired, energized and with a sense of direction in my business and personal life. No word of a lie, I came back feeling that AND a box of lucky charms.
9. Find likeminded people!
This is a big one, its ZERO fun going to a festival filled with all your fav (or not so fav) temptations and trying to stay strong all on your own. It's honestly almost torture. Try reaching out to the Festival Facebook Pages and seeing if anyone else is going with the same intentions as you!
10. Check to see if there are meetings!
For me personally, I've never been one for AA meetings. However this year at BassCoast Reset Resort (sober free space/workshops) had morning "meetings" that were filled with meditation and stretching and hugs and laughs and THATS my kind of meeting.
1. Don't go with people who will peer pressure you!
I know this is tough one. Let's just say you can't keep doing the same thing over and over again expecting different results. Association matters. Thats why our moms always said things like "Don't hangout with Johnny he makes poor decisions', because monkey see monkey do.
2. Don't drink out of things you used to habitually drink alcohol out of!
This may seem obvious but habitual tendencies can be super triggering and if you're still super new to challenging your drinking habits, I suggest starting fresh. Plus its fun to buy something cute that you know you won't destroy when you're all effed up.
3. Don't skip meals!
It's funny, being a busy person I always forget that food actually gives you energy. I know, sounds ridiculous, BUT I know if I'm in a poor mood (hangry) I'm more likely to cave when it comes to substances. POUTINE IS LIFE, EAT IT!!
4. Don't feel like you have to explain why you're not drinking to everyone who asks!
I like to prep myself with some tools or conversation starters/enders if I ever get myself into a situation where someone is being TOO much. I don't know why but my not drinking really upsets people sometimes. Don't ask me why, I legit don't get it!
5. Don't try and stay up as late as everyone!
Although I am a night owl it's REALLY important to get a good nights sleep ESPECIALLY when you're surrounded by so many people on drugs/drinking. It can get extremely tiring and I know when I'm tired I always on the search for "pick me ups", so sleep is a must.
6. Don't go with expectations!
Intention setting is different than expecting outcomes. Don't go there thinking you're going to convert your friends, you wont and then things will get weird. Like when I was doing a workshop on my sober curious journey at BassCoast and I ran into some friends who were all hopped up. It was pretty funny for me, they came to say hello and ask what my workshop was on and when I explained one of them legit said "ahh I have a tickle in my nose, we need to go" hahahha.
7. Don't try and bottle things in!
If you're feeling uncomfortable or went through an experience (good or bad) WRITE IT DOWN. I can't express this bad boy enough, journalling is life. Like a legit life line. It's like a therapist is your pocket and hell, theres always therapist confidentiality so let your freak flag fly!!
8. Don't share drinks with people!
Not only so you don't get sick (please be taking vitamins) but because people (especially when all hopped up) don't always remember what is IN their drink. The ol' whoops thats ketamine not coke trick. Don't mess with other peoples drinks. Period.
9. Don't try and parent everyone!
I know becoming sober curious is hella rad and I know we all just want to share this amazing experience with our friends HOWEVER. They are on their own journey and the last place you want to be calling out people on their lives and drug/alcohol habits (unless brought up naturally) is a festival.
Note: People have TONS of revelations at festivals, trust that your friends will see you as an example and choose themselves to step back.
10. Don't pack like you wont be in your tent much!
I remember before when I would go to festivals all I really cared about was that my tent was up (honestly one year I didn't even get that far), air mattress was full (or at least partially) and that my cooler was near (probably not even filled with ice). Lol re-reading that made me feel like such a degenerate. Anyways, I promise you will spend lots of time in your tent, well maybe not lots but more than you would if you were running around all night/day.
I hope this helps bring some clarity for your festival season, I'll be at Shambhala in the next couple of weeks. Maybe I'll see you cool cats there!
- No glass bottles or drinking containers
- Ginseng or maca root for energy
- Magnesium will help with nerves
- I like to bring some CBD/THC edibles for the late night fun (thats just me, I trust you know your limits and will play within them)