At music festivals, fairs, rodeos, sporting events, concerts and other highly anticipated public events, it can seem like drinking alcohol or using drugs is normal and even expected. This can make it difficult if you’re going to a large public event and wanting to remain in line with your sobriety.

For some in addiction recovery, it can be better for long-term sobriety to avoid an event altogether, but for others, attending with a plan made in advance can make for a safe and joyful experience. The following tips to prepare for an event can help you make the best decision for your recovery when considering a large public gathering.

Preparing for a Large Public Event and Supporting Sobriety

Supporting your recovery is the number one priority as you enter an event. You can support yourself by preparing for it in advance:

1. Set intentions for the event – Ask yourself why you are going? Is it because you want to go, or because someone else wants you to go? Make sure you’re clear on your reasons for attending. This can help you decide if it is worth your time and energy.

2. Have an exit strategy – Make sure you have a way to leave the festival, rodeo, concert or other type of large event, and make sure your phone is charged so you can contact someone or request a car to pick you up. Locate where the cab or ride share pick-up section is in advance. These kinds of public events can be on large properties or in arenas, so knowing the fastest way to leave will get you out of the venue quickly if you feel like your sobriety is at stake.

3. Communicate with your group – If you are going with others to the event and feel comfortable sharing about your sobriety in advance, do so. Let them know your limits and help set expectations for the event. This will help everyone plan accordingly.

Sober Activities at Fairs, Festivals, Rodeos and Other Large Public Gatherings

Oftentimes, large public gatherings such as fairs, festivals and rodeos have many sober activities that aren’t advertised front and center as part of the event. As you prepare to attend, you can research what is offered online and make a checklist of what you’d like to do or see.

Some of these kinds of activities include:

Some events, such as large, multi-day music festivals, now have AA meetings on-site. These can be helpful spaces to regroup and connect with other likeminded individuals on their recovery journey.

Support for Addiction Recovery

If you are on the road to recovery and ever need help, PaRC is here for you. Our treatment program offers medically supervised detox, 12-step programming and evidence-based therapies for addiction — to help you take control of your life again, rebuild relationships with your loved ones and begin a fulfilling path to recovery. Our caring and supportive staff are here to support you as you navigate and overcome addiction. Our goal is to help you be successful in paving a new course for your life.