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  • Amy Liz Harrison

5 Tips to Manage Mardi Gras Sober

Beads crunch under my shoes as I make my way through tight crowds. Amplified rap music spills out from slow-moving vehicles. Strobe lights on plastic wands flash. Floats roll by with costumed revelers yelling, waving, and tossing trinkets and toys out to parade attendees. Cups of mixed beverages with paper straws, wine in disposable plastic containers, and Hurricane drinks on neck straps slosh out of open containers, and I can smell it all as if it’s soaked into the city. Yep, I’ve stumbled upon Mardi Gras as a person with a dozen years of sobriety.

A sober life has afforded me freedom behind my wildest dreams. But when you’re literally surrounded by alcohol-induced chaos, it can be draining, even with over a decade of recovery under your belt. As a frisbee with a fleur-de-lis grazes the top of my head, I thought about my early sobriety and how difficult this experience would have been for me. Can you survive Mardi Gras as a person in recovery? Of course, you can. And here are five ways to get you through it…sober.

#1: Sober Support Squad

Round up the sober peeps. You wouldn’t go into a bad neighborhood, on purpose, alone. Let the same be true for Mardi Gras, or for any booze-filled event for that matter. New Orleans even now has sober safe zones around the parade route- just the perfect respite you may need to slip away and connect with others on the road to recovery. You can find the locations at

#2: Permission to Pull the Veto Card

Being in recovery gets you a VIP pass to take off whenever you need to. Since we need to treat our sobriety like it’s our job, we’re basically “on call at all times. That means we get to take off if we must protect what we’ve worked so hard for. Even if you organized the evening or if you just paid $75 for parking. Even if you were feeling fine five minutes ago, if you’re feeling fragile, use your Veto card, and burn rubber outta there.

#3: Periods Requiring Patience

If you’ve gone to parades before, you know how this goes. It’s a lot of “hurry up and wait.” The marching band is marching in place for an extended period, and the undetermined amounts of time you may have to wait between floats. So, bring a deck of cards, think of some conversation starters, and download some games on your phone to stay busy and pass the time socially. See what you can contribute to the stream of life! Besides, who doesn’t like to be put on the spot to create bad jokes and tell awkward stories?

#4: Walk it Out

Dip down a quiet street right off the parade route, and you’ll find more peaceful and charming neighborhoods in the entire south. Just excuse yourself and bow out of the mayhem for even 10 minutes. Pop your Air Pods in, connect with nature, breathe, meditate, and prepare to be amazed at what a quick stroll around the block can accomplish.

#5: Remember: FOMO is just an illusion

How many times have you wanted to be invited to an event but knew in your heart you wouldn’t go anyway. Anyone? Anyone? Beuller? Mardi Gras or any big, exciting event (which happens to be infused with alcohol) is like that. Sounds fun, looks fun, and probably is less fun than we’ve imagined. So, if it isn’t feeling safe to go, then don’t.

Mardi Gras is a booze-centric event, and it lasts for weeks. If you don’t feel spiritually fit, skip it and try another day or another year again. It will be here in 12 months, but if you go when you’re not feeling quite right, you might not be. So, treat yourself with loving kindness and choose to put your sobriety above all else so that you can be around, you know, alive and everything, to celebrate ALL the wonderful events in your life…Mardi Gras included.

Blog Post Written by Amy Liz Harrison and appeared first on The Sober Curator

Art by Alysse Bryson

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