Oh to be in my twenties again, raving without a care in the world. Festival weekends spent partying on little to no sleep, stomach filled with a concoction of booze and drugs and eating junk food whenever my body decided it was hungry again.
Those years are gone, I assure you, and yet I still have a blast at music festivals, warehouse parties and clubs throughout the world. In fact, raving remains an integral part of who I am as a person and will forever remain for so long as my legs will dance and my ears will hear the thumping sound of the bass coming out of massive stack of speakers (more about this soon!)
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Yes, I still drink and I still take drugs. I just booked a Euro trip consisting of Ibiza b2b ADE b2b Berghain and tomorrow I am heading to Detroit for Movement and at least four afterparties, including our very own Anthology on Monday. So what has changed since my 20s? I have changed. I have learned to listen to my mind and my body, and I have learned how to rave responsibly.
For much of my 20s I felt invincible and I thought it was cool that I could “hang,” only to later realize that I had gained about 20lb of weight, had a stomach ulcer and was incredibly unfit. To top it off, I wasn’t very motivated in life, and my anxiety and depression took turns battering me down whenever they had the chance to.
I had to make a change, and I had to do it for the sake of my physical and mental health. Let’s be clear, I still party, but just learned how to do it while listening to my body and mind, so that I can still party while not disrupting my health and throwing away the days following a party weekend.
Below are 5 key pieces of advice for any health-conscious raver
One of the biggest realizations I had in my 20s was that my mental health improved when my physical health did, and vice versa. This means that you cannot willfully ignore one in favor of the other, because ignoring one will inevitably bring the other one down.
Physical health problems significantly increase our risk of developing mental health problems, and vice versa. Nearly one in three people with a long-term physical health condition also has a mental health problem, most often depression or anxiety.
There are some key, important things you can do to keep your body healthy without becoming gym-obsessed or signing up for weird diets:
I have the most absolute respect for anyone who doesn’t drink because let’s be honest: despite being perfectly legal, alcohol is arguably one of the most damaging of substances you can consume. And yet, it’s at least entirely possible to drink responsibly and in doing so, to rave more responsibly.
Why do we love drinking? During the early stages of drinking, your brain releases more dopamine. This chemical is linked with pleasure. During euphoria, you may feel relaxed and confident. But, your reasoning and memory may be slightly impaired. As one keeps drinking, however, alcohol begins to severely affect the brain’s pathways for communication and coordination. As one gets intoxicated,alcohol continues to reduce self-awareness and as the presence of alcohol in the blood stream increases and reaches high levels, areas of the brain that control basic life support functions begin to shut down in what we call alcohol poisoning.
But none of this is a secret to you right? I mean come on, if you’re reading this there’s a high probability you have been drunk or even blacked out before. You know exactly just how much your brain is impaired as you drink in excess. Chances are your ex knows too, given some of the texts you probably sent (and shouldn’t have) while inebriated in the past.
Excessive alcohol consumption has a myriad of other negative effects on the body. Alcohol overconsumption can cause heart problems including hypertension (high blood pressure), coronary heart disease, stroke, peripheral arterial disease, and cardiomyopathy. Drinking too much alcohol can also be severely damaging to your gastro health, causing problems with several parts of your body including your liver, pancreas, gallbladder, salivary glands, stomach, throat, and rectum. While I suffered from stomach ulcers in my 20s due to regular excessive drinking on the weekends, I personally know of people who suffered liver and pancreas damage, and know of one person who developed a severe case of hemorrhoids due to drinking in excessive.
But the negative effects of alcohol are not just physical, far from it. Alcoholism is also associated with several psychiatric disorders such as personality disorders, obsessive-compulsive disorders, mental retardation, anxiety, eating disorders, mood disorders, psychotic disorders, and sleep disorders. Depression and heavy drinking have a mutually reinforcing relationship – meaning that either condition increases a person’s chances of experiencing the other.
On top of its own negative effects, alcohol is a substance which, if abused alongside other substances, can result in even more harmful effects on one’s body. This is even the case with prescription drugs, which should not be taken when consuming alcohol. When consuming depressants such as Xanax and Valium while on alcohol, they can have a synergistic effect, with ramifications that could lead to death, including sudden dizziness, loss of splinchter control and memory loss. Combining stimulants such as Ritalin, Adderall, Vyvanse and Concerta with alcohol causes one to not feel as intoxicated as they may be, possibly leading to significant bodily and mental impairment, black outs, pass outs and even death. with potential for dangerous and even lethal consequences, with rapid onset of dizziness, stumbling, loss of sphincter control, memory loss and potential death. Stimulants (e.g., Ritalin, Adderall, Concerta) combined with alcohol conceal alcohol’s effects, so people cannot gauge their level of intoxication, which can result in over-consumption, e.g. significant impairment of coordination and judgment, black out, pass out and potential death. Taking prescription opiates such as Vicodin, OxyContin, Tylenol 3 with codeine, Percocet and so on, while consuming alcohol can result in slowed or arrested breathing, lowered pulse and blood pressure, unconsciousness, coma, and potential death.
Needless to say, I am not here to say you shouldn’t drink, nor am I oblivious to the fact that ravers are likely to take some drugs while also having consumed alcohol, but knowing what you’re getting yourself into is always important and besides, you can still enjoy a bit of fun without having to needless increase your risk of harm.
Hangovers suck, and I have learned that hangovers tend to suck even more as the years go by. So, I have developed some important processes for when I intend to drink alcohol, and have been able to reduce my hangovers tremendously as a result.
I said what I said.
Just because I love shrooms and have a high tolerance for them, doesn’t mean that everyone else enjoys them the same way or can tolerate munching on them for the entire day. I have met so many people who feel anxious when they smoke marijuana, and a ton more who swear that smoking weed cures their anxiety.
Not only should you know which drugs your body and mind handle better than others, but you should also learn how drugs interact with each other in what order and quantity you should take them for the desired effect you are searching for.
Many young festival attendees spend their festival weekends consuming copious amounts of alcohol and drugs without a care for the results this will have on their festival experience. Some take too many of one drug, or do drugs in a non-desirable order. Others black out and cannot forget but a few blurry moments of their otherwise “epic” weekend. Others make grave mistakes, put themselves in harm’s way or “ruin” the weekend for their friends who have to babysit them. When you’re young it’s easy to be carefree, to experiment, and to push your limits.
But that’s why we grow up right?
In my 30s I have learned many important lessons regarding drugs and partying safely.
It’s a loaded question, but ultimately a crucial one. There are people that come and go in our scene, stopping for a few years to party, get fucked up and then “have a perfect Instagram life”- ready to criticize anyone who still raves. The truth is that very likely these people only raved to party, get drunk and consume drugs, and that’s why they project that image on those who actually do it for the music and community.
If you’re actively involved in your local scene and house and techno community, you have already realized that the partying aspect is an add-on and not a must. So, you can choose whether to add it on and when. It’s a possible auxiliary to raving, but the reason you rave in the first place. I have discovered that this mindset is particularly freeing, because it means that I do not need to get drunk or roll at every techno warehouse, festival or day party I attend.
Surrounding yourself with a crew that is about the music and community helps too. By this I do not mean that one cannot rave alone, but that if you’re going to be raving with friends it’s always best if the friends view raving from the same colored lenses as you do. If you and your squad have the right mindset, attending music shows becomes a part of your culture, and not (just) a way to get fucked up and have fun.
Get involved in your local rave community in one way or another. You don’t have to become a DJ, produce tracks or throw parties. You can still be a raver and get involved! You can still be a raver and make others dance. How? You could start by introducing people to electronic music or a particular aspect of your local scene. For example, you can take friends who have been into more mainstream music to a local underground show. Or you could invite a cousin or co-worker to their first rave. I also always recommend that ravers get to know the collectives, labels, artists and promoter groups in their local scene, because that’s involvement too. Last but not least, you can even do this online by connecting through social networks with your local community.
If you’re active you are engaging, while if you’re passive and just going to a rave without ever meeting anyone, you are likely to be a passerby.
This may seem like a strange piece of advice in an article directed at health-conscious ravers, but I firmly believe that health-conscious ravers are so because they rave for the right reasons, understand the important of their local community and scene, are connected and engaged with it, and in so doing add positive energy back to it. All of this matters, for without it you have “passerby ravers” who are there just to turn up for a few years before never being seen again on the dance floor.
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