Due in part to factors like social stigma, internalized homophobia, and higher rates of mental illness, the LGBTQ+ community has a history of drug and alcohol abuse.
Research has found that LGBTQ+ people are more likely to deal with alcoholism and drug abuse. And when it comes to Pride, people should be able to celebrate in a way that makes them feel safe, happy, and proud, even while alcohol plays a role in some parts of the celebratory aspect of Pride.
I talked to someone who is both gay and sober to brainstorm ideas on how to celebrate Twin Cities Pride while sober this weekend.
Bring a (sober) friend
It can be a lot easier to enjoy the party when there’s guaranteed to be another sober person there. Whether you find a friend who is already sober or ask someone to give up drinking for a night, it may become easier to resist temptation with a friend nearby. They can also help prevent you from ordering or grabbing a possible drink. If you can get more than one friend, that’s even better. A sober group of friends can help reduce the risk of relapse.
Host a Pride party at home or at your local Alano
While attending Pride and going to bars can be part of the fun of the weekend, why not host your own sober-friendly party? This could be where you live, in a friend’s backyard, in a park. Setting up events at your Alcoholics Anonymous location or another sober space is also a great way to build or expand your sober LGBTQ+ community. Hosting events may bring in other people you haven’t met before who need a safe, sober, and gay space.
Attend Pride earlier rather than later
Twin Cities Pride goes from morning to early evening, with more activities happening elsewhere in the metro. Attend the family-friendly events or attend earlier in the day. There will likely be less pressure to drink and fewer people drinking around you at noon versus the evening. Get your group together and have them go early.
Keep fun mocktails on hand
It can be tough to watch friends and strangers drink fancy cocktails and delicious drinks, so fend off the craving by bringing your own drink. Whether you enjoy sparkling water, coffee, or a homemade virgin mojito, bring something delicious to sip on. Make sure to bring several so that you never run out of potential drinks. It could be nice to also bring some for your friend, or go in together on more expensive, fancy non-alcoholic options.
Don’t be afraid to leave
No matter what is happening around you, leave if you need to. Your safety and sobriety matters more than the party. If you’re feeling like you may lose control and take a sip of alcohol or use a harder substance, you don’t have to explain yourself: just leave. It does not matter how others will react, make sure you’re safe.
Celebrate yourself in a way that makes you happy
Maybe you’re an introvert or you’re too afraid to enter back into crowds this weekend or maybe you haven’t found an LGBTQ+ community yet—whatever the reason, even sitting on your couch covered in rainbow pajamas counts as celebrating yourself. Although many love to be out at the festivals, do what makes you feel good. Don’t worry about the others.