My eyes lock with the bartender behind the counter. After what seems like a lifetime waiting in line, I get to the front. From August 11, 2004 (The day I turned 21) until August 19, 2014, I waited countless hours in line for a brew, usually multiple times a night at show. Attending 100-125 shows a year, the brews were flowing all the time for me.
Over the past three years so many people have come up to me and said “Dude! How do you do it? Go to shows and not drink.” After many years of keeping it a secret I’ll tell you the answer: There is no magic formula.
This was not an overnight transformation. Yes, I indeed stopped drinking all together but it took some time for me to go see live music again. After a few weeks, anyone who knows me is a long withdrawal from live music for me, I finally got the courage to step into the venue. The first few shows were challenging to say the least but as time went by it got easier (as all things do).
You may be asking yourself now: “I feel like I have a few too many at shows now. How can I feel comfortable going to shows sober?”
HERE ARE A FEW TIPS:
 Surround yourself with people that will support you in your decision to put the booze down at shows. This may sound like a “no brainer”, but if all of your friends are drinking, the chances of you joining in are greater.
 Remember it’s all about you. Do it when YOU feel the time is right.
 Hydrate. Depending on the venue they may give you some free tap water. If not, shell out a few bucks for a ice cold H2O.
 Have faith that you can do it.
Remember, you are not alone. Research the band or festival to see if they have groups that meet at shows that are “in your shoes.” A great way to make new friends and have an on site support team who’ve been there before.
I have a new appreciation for live music and the time and dedication that goes into the craft. It’s great to meet people in the music industry and be 100% clear headed when talking to them.
Every once in a blue moon (no pun intended), I think about the amount money I shelled out for beers over the years at shows. Then I say to myself: “This is not about a dollar sign but a lifestyle change.”
Here is just a little insight to my lifestyle over the past three plus years. Trust me, it has not been all peaches and cream but at the end of the day, I’m really happy about the decision I made.