Coachella: Sober Survival Guide

summer festivalIf you were anything like me, you probably thought that sober people were dull. After giving up the drugs and alcohol, it seemed like there was nothing else to do besides drink coffee and attend 12 step meetings. In active addiction we often lose interest in the things we once loved. In early sobriety, having fun without drugs and alcohol seems impossible.

This is one the difficulties many recovering addicts face, is learning how to have fun in sobriety. I’ve realized that there was more to life than drugs and alcohol. Today we are free to live life, and enjoy it. I don’t spend my all time looking for drugs today.  The Big Book states “we aren’t a glum lot “, that if “the newcomers could see no joy or fun in our existence they wouldn’t want it” and they surely would go back to what they were doing before. Recovery teaches us to be open-minded to new experiences. Involving yourself with the fellowship can spark new life in yourself to go out and have fun. My life in sobriety is full of fun moments shared with like-minded people in sobriety.  .

Every April festivalgoers turn their attention towards the California desert. The annual Coachella Music Festival takes place over two consecutive weekends stating April 15th this year. Some of the biggest names in the industry perform at the Coachella Music festival including Guns N’ Roses, LCD Soundsystem, and Calvin Harris. Along with the lights and sounds of the stage performers, the festival is also known to be a hot spot for drug users.

In 2015, police made a total of 226 arrests during both weekends for mainly drug and alcohol related instances. While over 90,000 people are expected to attend this event, only 0.1 percent of festivalgoers were arrested for drugs. Seems small, but are you willing to risk the chances in your sobriety? Daily Bulletin reports that, Of the 56 arrests made related to illegal narcotics, 49 of those were for misdemeanor possession of a controlled substance, while seven were felony arrests for possession of a controlled substance for sales.In 2014, 24-year-old Kimchi Truong of Oakland also died during the first weekend of the festival, but due to an apparent overdose on drugs and alcohol, according to the Riverside County Sherriff-Coroner’s Office.

Here are some tips for attending music festivals such as Coachella while in sobriety. 

Awareness of the Event.

First and foremost, be aware of the environment you’re going to. I didn’t get into recovery to be locked in the rooms of AA all day, i wanted to have fun with life. Today, i am aware of the environment and the situations that might come from them Playing it safe is a good tool to use in early sobriety.You hear it in the rooms of AA ” if you have around the barber shop long enough, you will get a haircut”. You wont find me hanging out at bars today, because i know that environment has nothing to offer me but pain and misery. Don’t be afraid to ask questions about the event you’re going to, especially if you’re unsure. For further suggestions about attending an environment you’re unsure about, contact your sponsor for guidance.

Sober Buddy

Bringing a sober buddy who knows your situation and is supportive is always a good idea. This will put you at ease since you are not the only one remaining sober, and they’re someone to talk to if you’re feeling uncomfortable. Today, my sober buddies are my best friends. They are there for me when i need them the most, and are willing to let me hear the truth about any situation. They care about my sobriety and well-being.

Exit Plan

If you have followed the two suggestions above, you might not need an exit plan. Although having an exit plan can save your sobriety. If you’re attending an event and it doesn’t turn out the way you expected, have a planned exit strategy can help.  Inform your sober buddy of the plan prior to arriving at the event. If it gets late, or you simply start to feel uncomfortable, you should pack up and leave. Call your sponsor.


Upcoming Recovery Related Events and Activities

4/16/16 – Austin Citywide AA Speaker Meeting and Potluck

4/29/2016 – 2016 Austin Addiction Symposium “Identifying Trauma & Fostering Resilience in Addiction Recovery”

4/30/16 – Freedom Riders Clean & Sober Bike Ride

5/7/16 – Wino’s Woodstock 2016 – A Fundraiser for North Austin Foundation (featuring the music of John Henry Mcdonald)

5/21/16 – Eudaimonia Recovery Homes Six Flags Residents and Friends Event

5/28/16 – Kickball Tournament


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