I’m aware that my blog is sometimes sickeningly positive, and even though sobriety has given me a second chance at life – just like life in general: there can be bad times. I’m really keen to keep all of the experiences I write about as unfiltered and as true-to-life as possible, so on that note – here is a little story about what happened to me this weekend, and about how being sober can sometimes (but hardly ever) be the problem rather than the solution.
My missus is a raver. She’s been attending raves since she was 17 – hardcore, jungle, drum and bass – she loves all of that shit. I’ve been to the odd rave and I can’t deny that I do like the music – but that’s just me; I’m a fan of music in general (except for Coldplay of course – beige drivel written for Insignia-driving, Spain-holidaying, jeans-and-brown-shoes-wearing young dads). I’ve always felt a bit out of place at raves when everyone starts dancing – but there was always an easy solution here: get smashed on lovely booze. Self-consciousness = GONE. On beer and Jagermeister I could bust moves with the best of them. Luckily no one at a rave gives a shit how bad you dance because they are all proper fucked on pills, coke, speed, MDMA, and booze. The rave culture was built on being off your face – and the events held today are still as messy as they were back in the early 90’s (so I’m told) – albeit with a slightly older, fried-looking clientele.
Emma is a one-off. She’s a special edition. She drives to raves, she has never touched drugs in her life, and she is usually the only sober person in the room. She just doesn’t need any more stimulation than a fast beat and a cheesy bassline. I might also add that, despite never being much of a drinker, Emma decided to quit booze altogether on the same day that I did back in 2015 – purely as a show of support for me. It’s something I’ll be ever grateful for.
So anyway… I’ve been to probably 3 or 4 raves since getting sober and generally I struggle with the whole thing. I struggle with the messy people shouting random nonsense at me, and this is a million times worse if they’ve taken MDMA (which they probably have) coz it dries their mouth out and gives them DEATH BREATH – which they then share with me intimately because the loud music means they have to lean in close. Bleurgh. The main thing I struggle with though is just the feeling of being totally out of place – a sober person stood looking awkwardly stiff in a room full of dancing madheads.
We went to a rave in Leicester a few months back and I had a really good time. I’m not sure whether it’s because of the mental amount of smoke on the dancefloor that I could hide in – but I really enjoyed it. I thought ‘Fuck me! I’ve cracked it. My rave-paranoia has vanished!’. Based on this enjoyable experience I was totally happy with Emma’s suggestion of going out to a local warehouse to watch some bands and some DJs for her birthday last weekend. ‘No worries here’ I thought. ‘I’ve nailed this sober raving shit’…
So we went out on Friday night and it was all good. It was pretty busy and the bands were good – plus there were a good few people there that I’ve got to know really well over my time living in Milton Keynes. Really, genuinely, good people that I’m proud to know. Everything was going fine, but then the bands finished, the crowds left, and the DJs started blasting the classics. Suddenly I was stood awkwardly in a room of honest-to-god dancers. I felt like a fraud stood there holding my plastic cup of water, surrounded by experts. There was nowhere to hide, and the panic started to set in.
I had to get out, but I didn’t want to spoil Emma’s birthday, so I asked her if I could meet her back at home. I thought this would work best for both of us – she gets to stay out with her mates, and I get to escape. The thing is though that Emma is lovely and wanted to spend her night with me. 5 minutes later we were both in the car heading home – her upset (understandably) because she’s missing the rest of the night, and me upset because I never intended to spoil her birthday night out.
As we flew down the A5 towards home at 12:30am it hit me: I’ve just ruined someones birthday by getting too SOBER.
We got home and chatted at length about this sober rave thing. The bottom line is that it just doesn’t work for me. When I was drinking I had to be drunk to enjoy it, and sober it positively scares me. I’ve always been an advocate of putting yourself out of your comfort zone – but sometimes you just have to throw the glove in (whatever that means).
Raves are now off the menu for me – at least for the foreseeable future. And although last Friday night’s experience sucked – two good things did come out of it:
- My missus and I now know each other slightly better than we did. She’s going to keep going to raves and I’m going to stop. I’ve given away my tickets to upcoming events – and we’re both cool with that. I’ll stay at home and watch Netflix with a cup of Yorkshire tea.
- When I was stood there on Friday night, surrounded by awesome dancers and feeling super self-conscious, there was a solution available to me that would have made everything instantly easier: Join the masses and DRINK. Not once did this even cross my mind. That’s got to be progress, right?
Honestly though mate it’s all for the greater good. You don’t want to see me dance. I look like a 90s throwback being attacked with a cattle prod.
Word up bitches,