I’ve seen a few posts on social media recently discussing people’s views on what it’s like to go “sober raving”. While a lot of people had given it a go, whether it being out of personal choice, for work or if they had to drive; I was surprised at how many of the comments spoke about a negative experience.
I myself have been sober raving for a good few years now, I love it and have a great time (most of the time). I have also become increasingly interested in the psychology behind why a person might or might not enjoy it. Therefore I am going to share with you my information on sober raving.
Whether you are a person who drinks lots of alcohol every week, or takes other substances or nothing at all, that doesn’t matter and is not for me to judge or to tell you if you are right or wrong in doing so. What I am about to tell you is not based on a factual book written by intelligent expert scientists or backed up by any hard evidence, just my own thoughts and conclusions, therefore it is totally fair for you to regard what I say as totally rubbish or highly interesting. Either way, enjoy reading.
So for this scenario let’s just assume you are a person who goes out every Saturday and gets intoxicated so that you can go out and have fun. Great, life is great, but you had to go sober one night, and it was just terrible right? You just could not get into the mood and it just wasn’t the same.
The first thing I will tell you is to look back to when you were a young child, running around in the park or having a great time with some friends for a sleepover… You were having a great time. However, you would have most likely been sober. So, something has changed between then, and now.. for you to not be able to have fun whilst sober.
The obvious and short sighted answer would be to say that you have become older, your interests have changed or that you have matured (something along those lines)… Actually, this isn’t the answer, the answer is that at some point between being a child and where you are now, you have introduced alcohol or whatever it is you take to have a good time. Granted you can have a really good time whilst intoxicated, but just think about this for a second. You have trained your brain to subconsciously associate the substance with having fun, meaning it is now required for you to have fun. It is hard to imagine having fun without it. Infact your brain will probably tell you that you aren’t having a good time because you haven’t taken the substance.
Once you know that, you can give going out sober another go, but don’t expect it to be fun straight away. Your brain still wants you to take X substance in order to allow you to have fun. Think of it like quitting smoking or any other addictive substance. When you cut down to the point you no longer take whatever it was you were taking, during this process of no longer taking X substance, everything is harder, it’s not as good, you are in a bad mood and can have a range of different reactions depending on what the substance was. It is as if you are getting the reverse effects of the substance. Now this will happen if you have been going out for a long time on X substance. So if you really want to enjoy it sober, you have to allow time to adjust, each time you go it will be easier and less stressful.
Once your brain starts to forget about whatever it was you were taking, you can then start to really get into it sober. To begin with you may feel a bit self conscious, you may get tired quickly and ofcourse feel like you are having a rubbish time… and this is all normal, don’t expect to make it through to 6am on the first night. One thing I would say is that if you are a self conscious person and do worry about what people think about you, going out sober can be quite daunting, but remember where you are… at a club or festival, so let yourself go every now and then and chuck yourself in the deep end by expressing yourself and dancing. If anyone asks what you are on, you could just say you are on X, Y or Z, and then you still have the excuse for having fun as it seems to relevant to have one in this day and age.
I hope I have given a useful insight into getting into sober raving, let me know if this helps. One more thing I would say is that when you do manage to get through the wall and start to enjoy sober raving, it’s all green flags the rest of the way. Plus your spending on a night out will be far less. Whatever you decide to do, it is your personal choice.