Last weekend I went to my first sober festival. It wasn’t an actual sober festival, I may well have been the only sober one there although I doubt it. I suppose what I mean is it’s the first time I’ve been to a festival completely sober.
My husband and I have been involved through work in some of the behind the scenes things, so I suppose I had a little more understanding of what to expect, and coupling that with the fact it was outdoors and fairly local, it seemed a no-brainer. Families were welcome too, and so, although two of our sons couldn’t come, we took our daughter Katie and little one Stanley and decided to go and have some fun.
I’ll admit that going in I was a little nervous. I’m not sure what of exactly, it’s just sometimes, when I push myself out of my comfort zone, I find it unsettling. I knew to expect to see people drinking, but I also knew that I would have a wide choice of drinks as it was a food and drink festival, so logically I had nothing to worry about. I’m pretty secure in my sobriety now, but I still occasionally get that twinge of, “I wish I could…” At these moments I always remind myself that I can, I just choose not to, which makes me feel the one in control (which I am), and normally makes me forget I even felt like I was missing out.
All in all, the food was great, the music was great; amongst others Rudimental were playing, and it was just a great night. I even ventured up to one of the Sharps Brewery trailers to check out their offerings, and found they do a Doom Bar Zero. I don’t normally drink alcohol free drinks, I suppose I’ve always felt it would be a bit of a step backwards for me as it took me so long to stop drinking, but then, in that situation I fancied one. As it wasn’t anything like the wine I used to drink, I thought it would be a nice change. After I got over the initial worry that I was somehow slipping off the wagon, and having checked the label about a million times, I realised I wasn’t doing anything wrong. It felt so good to be out doing something with other people after the crazy old year we’ve had, and after the rollercoaster I’ve been on during my journey into sobriety.
The thing I found most interesting was that if I’d been drinking alcohol I would have caned my way through glass after glass without a thought. It wouldn’t have mattered if I was thirsty or not, I would have drunk to excess. It’s just what I did. Yet during our night out, one bottle of 0% lasted me all night, except for an additional hot chocolate we got when it started to get colder. It was a funny comparison to make, but I suppose noticing all these little things are what makes the difference to me now. I appreciate much more what I am doing and what I have.
So, what I’ve learned during the weekend, or if not learned, but reinforced in my mind, is that sobriety is not boring, you don’t need alcohol to have fun, and after a night like that, it’s entirely possibly to get up early on a Sunday morning to go wild swimming with friends. That is something that certainly wouldn’t have happened with a hangover!!