“What’s that? It looks dark.” “Coffee.” What if you want to be social while you’re out somewhere and not feel tempted to succumb to the peer pressure of inebriation? While you could always get something that looks like alcohol, wouldn’t it be nicer to hang out with people without feeling like you have to justify yourself? Are our societies really that culturally-ingrained around any intoxication that most major evening hangout spot must have a bar?
I can’t think of a single concert venue in my area that doesn’t have a bar.
“All ages” shows, where people must drink in the bar area, tend to be relatively tame. When it’s open bar, where people are free to drink wherever they want, it can be frustrating. Even if only a few obnoxious drunks, it’s more than zero and there are times when I feel like the odd one out being sober. I still insist on going because I won’t let peer pressure seduce me away from my goals.
Even with bands I wanted to see, I hesitated because I knew I’d feel self-conscious. The ticket price even included a drink ticket, so it was that sort of environment. I still decided to go, even before the organizers reduced the ticket price to exclude the drink ticket because of some mishap. I drew straightedge X symbols on my hands, and enjoyed myself, mostly… even though I left with an overwhelming sense of scattered anxiety.
I can’t really enjoy drinking bands like Alestorm or some drinking songs.
I’ve found that over my years of sobriety, if lyrics mainly revolve around drinking or excess, I lose interest. Lyrics about self-confidence or picking yourself back up when you’ve fallen interest me more. I’ll generally overlook the lyrics if I like the music well enough. It’s just nice that there are movements like straightedge punk bands and fans like me, like the Wharf Rats within the Grateful Dead fan base, that want to live clean.
That said, I do appreciate that people live different lifestyles.
If I’m not stressed out and I’m going out with friends, I don’t care if they drink responsibly. I just don’t want to justify why I’m not drinking. While I do freely express my views, I don’t force people to follow my lifestyle. Alcohol is an effective immediate stress reliever and it takes adjusting to find alternatives. It’s also an effective social lubricator, not that I remember any of the conversations I had while drinking.
That might be it…
Quickly enabling yourself to be free of societal pressures, whether within a bar or anywhere else where you can publicly indulge, can be liberating. You can temporarily bond with like-minded people bound to corporate chains or leading lackluster lives similar to yours. Inebriation provides temporary respite from regretfully unfulfilled dreams. If you choose to live like that, I appreciate that.
My mind must remain clear so I’m not hindered working on fulfilling my dreams.