I am going to a camping festival this weekend. It is like an art festival rather than a music festival with bands or such. People make interactive creations or performances. They have yoga and workshops to teach things like spinning poi and hula hoops. They give out free food and it is called “gifting”. They also give out a lot of free alcohol.

I have gone to festivals like these the past seven years. They have become a big part of my life. I plan around the festival season. I request chunks of days off work to travel to these festivals. It is a community and my friends that attend them are, for the most part, wonderful people. I feel love and acceptance by being part of the festival family.

But I am now getting worried about going sober. This will be my first sober festival. I did go to one sober once in 2012,  but that was more of a self-test and during a “30 day drinking break”. It was a new festival and I did not know anyone. I did make two friends during that weekend but I was bored for most of it. I slept a lot. I felt out of place without my social lubrication.

I met those two friends that year while volunteering. So I signed up for one volunteer shift for tonight. I might sign up for more after getting there. I do not want to over-commit in cause I want to leave early. I offered to give rides to the festival but now glad I did not find anyone. It leaves my escape route more open.

I only know three people going to this festival. My group of festival friends are on a different coast. It is hard to explain how I can still feel lonely when surrounded by thousands of people.

Someone else posted a question on the festival forum stating he does not drink alcohol and asking what activities could he do. A lot of responses were a bit, um, lacking understanding about alcoholism.  “If you need to drink to have fun, you must be boring.” Um, yea, but that comment isn’t going to help. A lot of people seemed to criticize him for asking. “Of course there is things to do without alcohol!” Were they offended that they do drink so much? A lot of the guide does mention events gifting vodka or whiskey or homebrews.

I commented to him that I thought of posting the same question because I wondered the same thing. I wanted to give him some support amongst the negative responses. At least I know I have a sober person to reach out to.

I will try to think of the weekend more positively. For one,  I won’t be wasting it hungover. In the past, I missed workshops and events because I was too drunk or recovering. I used to start every morning with mimosas. I had a favorite  brand of $4 sparkling wine from Trader Joes just for festivals.

I used to drink more beer than eat. Cooking on a camping grill took a lot more energy than popping open a can. Trader Joes Simpler Times and Dale Pale Ale were my festival cans. I would splurge for some Sierra Nevada’s but only share those with a few friends. I used to bring two large coolers and one would be full of beer. The other was for food and for chilling one or two “champagne” bottles and juice. I have one cooler this time and a big box of different tea bags.

Also, being sober will give me the chance to see more art. Maybe learn to spin poi. Maybe improve my hooping skills. I have tried hooping so many times while drunk and made a fool out of myself. Maybe I will actually get to a 7am yoga event this weekend. I remember one festival had 70s style roller skating but I did not partake cause I was too drunk. I heard this place has a large slip-n-slide for adults.

Sigh. I did have a lot of fun drinking at festivals. I played bartender at a few. It was a fun way to meet people. I have had fun conversations waiting in line for gifted booze. I just have to remember the ways alcohol has ruined my life and stop musing over the good times. I must retain the fact that I can not drink like normal people. I can not moderate. I honestly do not see the point in having a beer if it does not lead to getting drunk.

I will try to blog from the festival.  Or at least write my blogs and post when I get wifi. I think I will go to an AA meeting before leaving.

Mistake 121- I was camping with friends at a festival. We arrived on Thursday. The guy I was starting to date would arrive Friday night. I was going to bring up the topic of making our relationship exclusive when he arrived.

But Thursday night, I got drunk with my friends. I remember sitting on camping chairs under the shade structure in the middle of everyone tents. It was late night, almost early morning. A guy from the group (I will call him Burger) was the only one still awake with me. I just met him that day. Somehow, we started to make out. I stopped him and started crying because I really liked the other guy. I apologized and kept crying. Some of our friends in the tents must have heard this.

When the guy arrived the next day, he pulled me aside for a private talk. Before I could mention the relationship talk, he told me he was not looking for one. He wanted the freedom to meet other girls that weekend. I was crushed. It put a damper on the weekend for me.  
Burger and I have actually become good friends now. We have hung out at other festivals but never kissed nor mentioned our night of kissing. I am not sure who knows about it but I have always really regretted it. I might see him again in August. Maybe by then, I will be ready to apologize to him for it.

I am nervous how my group of festival friends will react to my sobriety.

2 thoughts on “Festivals

  1. I tried to stay sober at Burning Man a few years back, and while I mostly succeeded, I found it really difficult. I slept a lot. I read a lot of books. I’d like to think it’d be easier now, but I’m sure it would still be a challenge. There is such a culture of substance use at these places. I hope you stay strong and finish the festival proud of yourself, senses intact. I hope you discover something you love even more about the festival sober. I hope your friends support you. Best of luck.

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