Rise Of The Sober Rave, Daybreaker

Rise Of The Sober Rave, Daybreaker | Transcend Recovery Community

Daybreaker is a new morning dance party built entirely around sobriety, happiness and healthy living. It’s not about being holistic, or fit, or even just doing your body good – it’s about experiencing the pleasures of being human and moving in your own body without the use of drugs.

That concept – an entirely sober rave, with an angle on yoga and dancing – has never quite been this hip, which is why Daybreaker has taken 16 cities by storm and is among the first of a wave of many dance parties designed for sober living.

Daybreaker markets itself as a way to enjoy life through your body’s own natural chemicals, rather than the chemicals we arrange and ingest in order to feel artificial pleasure. These chemicals and neurotransmitters are:

  • Dopamine, most commonly released during exercise to motivate and reward you.
  • Oxytocin, also known as the love hormone, released during cuddling and hugging.
  • Serotonin, a mood regulator and the key ingredient to happiness.
  • Endorphins, which act like morphine and dampen the effects of pain in a variety of situations.

These are all natural indicators your body utilizes to tell you you’re having a good time – and they’re all triggered through dance and intimacy. But before we delve into why having a good time while pursuing long-term sobriety is essential for anyone in recovery, and anyone else abstaining from addictive substances, let’s get down to what Daybreaker as a rave means.

What Is a Rave?

Raving was a concept long before the era of electronic dance and nightclubs, back when it solely meant to be ecstatic about something. Yet from that word came the modern rave, a festival incorporating the works of several DJs who mix live sets with the focus on getting the crowd moving. The genres don’t really matter – from acid house to speedcore, drum and bass, dub techno and more, there are at least about two dozen possible kinds of music to be found at a rave.

What the rave scene is also famous for is its party drug reputation. While not all raves are rife with drug use, the illegal use of ecstasy at nightclub raves is common enough to warrant a negative association between raves and certain branches of law enforcement. While it’s the often the biggest and loudest dance party of the last three generations, raves tend to be about letting loose, having fun, and forgetting yourself in a maelstrom of dance, music, lighting and fog machines.

Daybreaker sets itself apart by distinctly cutting a gash into two common identifiers of a rave – the nightclub scene, and drug use. By promoting sobriety and an early morning dance routine versus a nighttime musical thrashing, it attempts to juxtapose the fun and raw energy of a rave with pure wholesomeness, camaraderie and mindfulness – values some might see as tenets of sobriety.

The Idea of Partying Sober

It’s not just about being sober, and then heading to a party. When you’re sticking by the side of sobriety and dedicating yourself to your recovery, then the idea of a party is, well, a bad one. But partying sober is more than possible – you just have to choose the right party. Don’t hit the clubs or the bars and expect to be having a good time while constantly remembering that you’re trying to limit yourself.

Instead, attend a sober party. Sober partying has been a growing scene in the past few years, and it’ll become more popular as the need for better recovery and a better understanding of shameless recovery grows.

Dance Is More Than Intoxicating

Regardless of whether you’re in recovery or just looking for a good time without the pressure of grabbing a drink or something stronger, dancing is one of the best things few people do often enough. Aside from the pure physical benefits of getting moving and losing yourself in the beat enough to work up a sweat and then some, dancing is a way to express yourself, boost your self-esteem, let your creative juices flow and express pure joy beyond most other forms of exercise.

Dancing in a group amplifies the effect for most, taking the eyes off you and putting you in a situation where you get to move and connect with dozens of other people; friends and strangers alike.

Daybreaker began as a social experiment to test the idea, and has grown into an actual reproducible movement. It encourages people to break the rules of their schedule, start the day with a dance party rather than end the week with one, and harness the joy and pleasure of a rave as energy for the entire day, regardless of when you’re joining in to party.

“Getting High on Life”

Daybreaker is far from the first time we’ve explored the philosophy of actively enjoying and finding pure pleasure in life as it is, without addiction. Sacrificing an addiction isn’t meant to reduce your life to that of a simple ascetic, devoid of the basic pleasures of life and all the perks of hedonism, it’s meant to save your life and improve it in every way imaginable. Addiction, for all the pleasure it brings, is ultimately a massive social and emotional burden, a burning hole that tears through your life until nothing is left but ash and soot, and the faint will to rebuild it all.

Life after addiction isn’t about keeping yourself from remembering what it’s like to feel good, but it’s about feeling good without all the shame, the guilt, and the negative effects of addiction. It’s about enjoying raw life, seeing the bright side to things, and realizing how refreshing it is to be grateful and optimistic rather than steeping in cynicism and pain in-between highs.

Daybreaker is the world’s first organized and marketed rave to a completely drug-free community, designed specifically to promote sober living rather than promote drug use or avoid the subject altogether. And it will most definitely not be the last time such an event gets organized.

Sober Living – It Can Be Fun & Fulfilling

Sober Living | Transcend Recovery

One common misconception about sobriety is that it’s boring and lacks excitement. Sober living doesn’t have to be a white-knuckle, tense experience all year long. In fact, sober living is meant to be an experience that adds to your life, brings more life and light into it, and that gives you the opportunity to enjoy your life in meaningful and fulfilling ways.

The highs of substance use are not only temporary, they are dangerous. They keep you wanting more and more and yet you’re never truly satisfied. There is an emptiness to that kind of fun. In fact, you might even call it fake, because it’s short-lived and doesn’t fulfill you in a way that’s meaningful.

Those who are afraid of letting go of the “highs” that come with drinking and drug use may not yet know the gains that come with sobriety. Here are a few long-lasting benefits of healing from addiction and creating a sober life:

  • You have the presence of mind to enjoy life on a deeper level.
  • You have the capacity to truly connect with someone.
  • You have the ability to truly get to know yourself and others.
  • You can strengthen your ability to love yourself and others.
  • You have the mental space to think about your goals and what your future could look like (versus always chasing the next high).
  • You have the ability to appreciate and be grateful for life.

With sobriety, you can plan for your future, think about what you’d like to achieve, start a family, find stable housing, and more. Transcend Recovery Community understands that reaching these life goals can be hard. However, you are not alone in your journey. To assist you on your path of sobriety, Transcend offers mentoring for extended care, drug testing, and specialized sober companionship throughout the country. Transcend wants you to live your fullest life, and we understand that in order to do that, you must be sober.

But in addition to sobriety, you’ve got to know it’s possible to have fun. For that reason, while you’re living with us, we have fun too! Here are some of the ways we have fun:

  • two in-house experiential sessions (these might include acupuncture meditation, to mindfulness techniques, yoga, goal setting, book study)
  • each client is given a membership to an exclusive gym that offers a boxing program and a full range of workout options
  • every two months we have a family weekend that focuses on reestablishing healthy family relationships
  • regularly attend recovery related activities (and we provide transportation)
  • we have a loving community of people (staff and residents) who are supportive, warm, and kind.

If you think about what truly adds to the fulfillment and fun in your life, you might agree that it’s your relationships, community, the progression you are making in your own life, and the quality of your daily activities. Transcend understands that these are important for creating a life that is not only sober, but meaningful and fun.

Redefining the Party: Good, Sober Fun This Summer

Good, Sober Fun This Summer | Transcend Recovery Community

What is it about summertime that begs for parties, drinks, and high times? Some love summer because of the great weather, and others embrace more free time and traveling. For many people, summer brings to mind beers on a boat, Bob Marley and a joint on the beach, rolling on Ecstasy in the front row at a music festival show. The truth is, your summer boat party doesn’t require alcohol or drugs anymore than your winter bonfire will.

Summertime has become associated with partying because our culture loves to party in general. This may be alright for those people who can use substances safely, but it is a threat to the livelihood of people like myself who are in recovery from addiction. Why does fun and partying have to imply drugs and alcohol? The essence of a party is fun, friends, and celebration – and that’s just what we can do with our sober summer.

Here are some ways to have fun this summer, that can also help keep you sober:

Get Outside & Get Active

For me, the beach or camping trips or just days by the pool always had to be accompanied with the proper amount of drugs. What I couldn’t see then: all of that intoxication actually robbed me of the beauty of those experiences, and left me with very few memories.

Mother Nature is full of color, wonder, and grandeur – just consider all of the different flowers in a forest, or the enormity of the ocean. Getting high or drunk only numbs us to these experiences and we can’t soak in the beauty of the details. When we connect with nature as sober people, we can appreciate all of its amazing nuances and awaken our senses. There’s a healthy rush that comes with exploring the outdoors, which can take away some of the stress of our daily lives.

On a biological level, there are huge health benefits to soaking in some sun and getting your dose of vitamin D. It can help promote health of your bones and skin, fight off colds and diseases, and even ease the weight of depression. Nature’s beauty can bring us joy, along with the mood-elevation that vitamin D can bring! For many of us in recovery, this boost in our mood can help us maintain sobriety.

Ultimately, getting outside means we are getting active. Maybe you like to run, bike, or hike, and maybe you like to surf, swim, or kayak – however you like to get active, go for it! Exercise can elevate mood as well, because our body releases natural painkillers called endorphins when we are under extreme physical stress. Endorphins activate our opioid receptors, the same receptors activated by opiate and opioid drugs but in healthier amounts. Getting yourself moving and breaking a sweat can actually induce the same kind of euphoria as narcotic painkillers, but without the same risks.

Be a Kid Again

 Kids are masters of fun, no matter the time or place. Every tree is an opportunity for climbing, every blank wall is begging for paint, all of the candy in the store must be eaten. Kids are in touch with their curiosity and the ability to revel in small pleasures – you could say they’re always high on life, no need for drugs or alcohol.

This summer, get your hands dirty and bring arts-and-crafts back to life. Whether it’s a coloring book and crayons, finger paints, or even cooking an awesome meal, engage your brain and get creative. A hobby can be a healthy way to stay busy, and really getting involved in a hands-on task can put our brains into a state of “creative flow”. In this flow state, our brain waves slow down, we lose all sense of time and self, and we let go of our everyday stresses. Much like meditation, creativity can be a way to center ourselves, which helps us stay sober – and it’s just plain fun.

Kids also know the value of a good treat, whether it’s an ice cream cone or their favorite movie. A huge aspect of recovery is self-care, because our mental well-being is essential in maintaining our sobriety. Sobriety isn’t just military discipline, and fun is so much more than the standard kegger party. Every day, you can find small ways to treat yourself to healthy indulgences – like a good cup of coffee or an afternoon nap – without “indulging” in drugs or alcohol.

Lastly, as kids, we never turned down a chance for a good adventure. True adventure can be spontaneous, energetic, and exciting.But, a blurry night of consuming drugs and alcohol with strangers from the bar is such a limited version of adventure. What places do you want to explore? What things have you never seen? Find your nearest nature preserve, zoo, or take a mini road-trip and see what adventure is out there. The best part about thrills and new experiences is that they give our brains a natural high with a hit of dopamine!

Stay Connected

One of the biggest lures of parties is all of our friends who will be there, or the friends we haven’t yet met. Unfortunately, if you partied anything like I did, we rarely remembered who we saw or met those nights and we didn’t act quite like our true selves.

Sober parties are perfectly plausible and can be just as rowdy, but the real thing we crave at parties is the sense of connection we feel with other people. Studies have shown that our brain gets a zing of dopamine when we feel connected to someone just by receiving a text message, and that pleasure is amplified in genuine, face-to-face connections. As sober people, we can truly relish this pleasure by fostering deep connections with people around us.

In sobriety, we are invited to a party with a whole new set of friends, who are often just as wacky and amazing as we are. Whether it be through meetings or events within your local recovery community, stay connected with other people in sobriety who understand your past and share your hopes for the future. My friends in sobriety are some of the liveliest people I’ve ever met and tell some of the craziest stories, yet they can also understand me in my hardest moments and support me while I get through them.

We don’t just have to have friends who are in sobriety, though. It helps to have a solid group of sober pals around you, but another gift of recovery is reconnecting with family and friends that we might’ve hurt during our substance abuse. These connections hold special potential, because we can share a new version of ourselves with these people and gain insight into who we used to be. There is beauty and healing, for both us and our loved ones, in this mutual understanding.

Life of the Party

All of the elements we used to love about the rowdy summer parties – with enough alcohol and drugs to fill a swimming pool – we can still find this summer without the substances. Fun is fun, and it had been liberating in my own recovery to see that I can still be just as fun (sometimes even more fun) when I’m not under the influence. So go out into nature wide-eyed and excited, let your inner child run loose looking for adventure, and connect with people you love and now will remember. Sobriety just means redefining the party.

Nadia Sheikh is a content writer and outreach representative for Sober Nation.