Are you ready for the burn on the playa?
By ‘the burn’ of course we mean the annual weeklong art festival Burning Man that takes place in the Nevada desert! If you have ever seen a video or a reference to Burning Man in the media or in a movie than you probably have a pretty specific picture of what Burning Man is in your mind. People typically envision it as a hedonistic freaky-frenzy of a party with nothing but bizarre art, ravers, hippies, drugs and alcohol. But for most people that attend Burning Man, it isn’t just a massive non-stop party. Burning Man is actually a place to relax, attend a number of events and work-shops, while seeing world-class and uniquely inspired art.
Every year the temporary metropolis of Black Rock City, which is the home of Burning Man, and its community grows. At the same time, so does the clean and sober community within it. Burning Man for many who are clean and sober is often not seen as a fight with temptation, but rather an opportunity to grow.
While there are a few people who may feel this is too risky, and we support and understand your choice, there is also plenty of reason to be confident in going to Burning Man and staying sober. There may be those in your own support system you want to consult with, like a sponsor.
Here is another 8 ways to stay sober at Burning Man.
Be honest and careful
This is about being honest with yourself, as well as with others. First, before going to burning man you should be honest with how you feel about the adventure you’re about to go on and your ability to do what you have to in order to remain mindful, happy and sober.
Then be honest with others. For one, the idea that everyone is handing out drugs like candy is probably not always the case. However, for your own safety and peace of mind always ask if anything you may ingest contains drugs or alcohol. Burning Man’s economy is based on gifts, and some may have the best intentions. Let people know you are clean and sober to avoid confusion.
Always consider the source, and use your judgment. Even though most people probably won’t try to slip you anything you don’t want, every year medical tents still report people being dosed without knowing.
Go with sober friends
This is always a good idea when going to any shows or music festivals. Having people who are familiar with your own behaviors and your own story can make it a lot easier to lean on them if you start to feel like something is bothering you. If you have sober friends it can be even more effective because they can relate to the things that may bother you. Sober friends can understand and provide a unique kind of peer support, while also keeping you accountable.
Enjoy the art and music
Burning Man isn’t just about the huge, all night concerts. There are artists who show up every year who have spent the entire year designing and building unique and awe-inspiring installations of art.
Taking some time to wander around and enjoy some beautiful and exclusive art, which is sometimes even interactive, gives you an opportunity to enjoy stunning visuals without needing drugs or alcohol.
According to one investigation, there are various clean and sober theme camps at Burning Man you can seek out:
- Anonymous Camp
- Run Free Camp
- Camp Stella
- The Hokey Pokey Destiny
You can typically research sober camps ahead of time to find out when and where they will be at Burning Man. You can reach out to the groups to try and plan your own camp site ahead of time, and possibly arrange to meet up with them.
Yoga and Meditation
For a lot of people yoga and meditation become a pretty consistent part of their recovery program. It is a relaxing practice that helps with mindfulness and self-awareness. So of course if you are interested in yoga you will be thrilled to know there is frequently a lot of opportunities to take yoga classes during a week at Burning Man.
Vinyasa yoga and kundalini yoga are a few styles that some Burning Man veterans have reported to experiencing during their time in the desert. Some have also spoken of chances to take meditation and breath-work classes and workshops. Stay sober at Burning Man may simply mean staying focused and grounded, and meditation and yoga can do just the trick.
Just because people come to Burning Man to experience something new and exciting while they escape from the world doesn’t mean they suddenly stop all their good habits. Some people actually enjoy exercising at Burning Man, doing things like riding bikes or organizing group work outs.
According to one young woman’s story, when she went there was even an ultramarathon. Yes… ULTRA-marathon! Burning Man attendees actually got up and ran 50k (31 miles) around the desert.
Many people find that volunteering in some way is a huge part of their recovery. Doing service work is one way we can take the focus off of ourselves, build connections with others and do something productive. If you find yourself struggling, you can always find some way to help someone else.
Burning Man can also present a lot of opportunities to do some service and volunteer your time to others. You can offer to help welcome people into the camp grounds and get set up. You can help by cooking meals and finding other ways to give back to those at Burning Man who might need a little help settling in themselves.
12 Step Meetings
Believe it or not, there are actually 12 Step meetings every day at Burning Man. While not all people who are clean and sober will be involved in 12 Step groups, the meetings will provide a space to get some support in case you are in need. You can also meet with other sober individuals and get connected with the clean community of Burning Man.
These meetings include Alcoholics Anonymous, Alanon and Narcotics Anonymous. Some of them will alternate between the larger Sober Camps that you can find, but there may also be smaller groups that form more organically.
What you might find surprising, and what several accounts from attendees have found, is that the toughest part about burning man has nothing to do with what some people expect. The true challenge of burning man apparently doesn’t come with avoiding drugs or drinking, but actually from the elements.
Between the desert sun and the dusty climate, staying hydrated and accepting the exhaustion that comes with being amerced in 24 hour music and festivities, some people find that fighting the urge to use is usually the least of their worries. The hard part is keeping the dust off (pretty much impossible) while trying to rest between all the dancing, music, art, and exercise, hanging out and volunteering! There is so much to do at Burning Man that drugs and alcohol might just get in the way. But the truth is, once you build sobriety and recovery on a solid foundation, you have the potential to find true freedom and happiness without needing substances to make it happen.
Building that foundation starts with making a decision to get better. If you or someone you love is struggling with substance abuse or addiction, please call toll-free now.
CALL NOW 1-888-922-5398
Recently Jeff Salinas, an Alumni from our Palm Partners facility contacted our Alumni department with some exciting news; on the road to recovery he hit the ground running, and soon will be competing in a triathlon, but it isn’t his first since he took off from the starting line he got while in treatment. Jeff shared with us an article written about his awesome new ambition on Florida Today, in which he was quoted saying
“Triathlon saved my life,”
Coming up Sunday, July 25th is the fifth annual Indialantic Boardwalk Triathlon. This is Jeff’s next giant leap on the road of transformation and recovery. The report shares that Jeff has become a regular to the local triathlons, as much as possible, while also competing in local foot races. According to Jeff, all this athletic action is more than just a sport; it has made a lasting imprint on his life, especially in recovery from alcoholism.
At 43 years old, this powerful example of passionate self-improvement has always been an athlete, even before turning his life around. However, when he spoke with journalists about his new competitive edge, he shared how the decision to clean up his act gave him a breathtaking second wind.
“In 2013, 2014 and 2015, I struggled really badly with alcoholism,”
“I finally battled those demons in 2015 … And then I trained for an Ironman triathlon. I made some life-changing moves, and to maintain them, I committed myself to the Ironman Florida Triathlon in Panama City.”
Jeff has been running a long time. Before, you may have said he was running from something. Today, however, it looks more like he’s running toward a better, brighter future.
Jeff has finished 7 marathons, and in 2013 he decided to try on a triathlon. Of course by his timeline, he was still actively drinking. Apparently he was able to put off drinking during triathlons and compete well enough.
It would appear that looking at the face value, one might categorize Jeff as a “functioning alcoholic”. He was working after moving with the company from San Diego. Jeff was providing for his wife Alpha and daughter Athena, not to mention caring for four dogs and staying active. Yet despite all the running, his drinking was catching up to him and gaining fast. When the question came in regards to if his drinking impacted his family, Jeff states in the interview:
“Bigtime. They’re the ones who got me into recovery. The most important thing is that you have to want it. You don’t go to make someone happy or because it is a good idea … You’ve got to do it for yourself; you have to make those life-changing decisions yourself. I had to ask myself, ‘Am I an addict or an athlete?’ ”
Jeff was put on a new track, with a new gym and new trainers who were ready to run a different kind of race with him; a race toward transformation.
Jeff Salinas found his way to Palm Partners, a Palm Healthcare facility that specializes in the treatment of people struggling with substance use disorder and dual diagnosis. In treatment Jeff found himself among recovering individuals of every economic and social background. While in treatment at Palm Partners Jeff experienced some of the most effective and innovative holistic methods, including personal trainers, exercise, good nutrition and yoga classes. Palm Partners and all Palm Healthcare facilities are designed to address every element of physical, emotional and mental recovery to help create lasting change. When asking Jeff about his experience with Palm Partners, and he wrote:
I remember during one of the classes in Palm Partners, we were to think of some kind of short term goal to have us look forward to in order to maintain our sobriety post Palm Partners. I always did want to participate in an Ironman Race Triathlon, which is a 2.4 mile swim, 112 mile bike ride followed by a 26.2 mile run. I thought, I can do this..
While in Palm Partners, this seed was planted. After coming home and maintaining my sobriety , the “Pink Cloud” eventually wore off, and I was starting to get depressed again and lose my momentum in my drive of wanting to stay sober. Then I remembered about the Ironman that I always wanted to do. So I did what I could to sign up for that race which was a year prior to the event. And from there, what’s in the FL Today article did follow suit.
I honestly do value the teachings and classes in PP. And it’s all relative, it doesn’t have to be triathlon or running, but it’s that internal driving force we had since our youth of purity, but somewhere along the timeline of growing up we lost it through addiction. Palm Partners helped me rekindle that fire inside me that almost went out. And, I’m forever greatful…
Becoming an Ironman
After finding himself back in the present, Jeff said:
“In Delray, I took everything in and really determined that I wanted to change… And so I committed to triathlon.”
Jeff credits the structure and strict training the sport demands to much of his attraction to it. The training requires a great deal of focus and dedication to practicing the three specific forms, leaving not much energy for the thought of drinking. In his interview with Florida Today, Jeff states:
“I committed to a seven-month training plan for the Ironman and fitted it around work and my personal schedule,”
“I tried to do (recovery) meetings, but that wasn’t what I needed. Instead, I’d show up for training and then go home and feel spent. It has been showing up for training that has helped me change.”
Last November in Panama Beach Jeff reached a milestone in his journey to a more fulfilled life. Jeff went on to say,
“I knew my mission was over once I crossed that line, when the commentator announced, ‘Jeff Salinas, you are an Ironman!’ ”
Alpha and Athena supported Jeff through every step of this race; from the decision to enter treatment and then to crossing the Ironman finish line.
Staying on the Path
Jeff has run in:
- Pineapple Man Triathlon
- Boardwalk Triathlon
Jeff has also qualified for and finished the Florida Triathlon, and is a member of the Donner Wealth Management Triathlon Team.
So what is next for the Palm Partners Alumni?
According to the report his new goal to finish the big race this Sunday in an hour, 10 minutes (give or take) to break his own record. After that- qualify for the Boston Marathon which he would like to do in November’s Space Coast Marathon.
One thing Jeff says during the interview that speaks volumes to his commitment to change is when talking about the race after-parties. Most of the events have food after, and beer is a common addition. Apparently the race community has plenty of it to go around. But in Jeff’s words,
“Well good for them. But not for me. Not for me.”
Jeff Salinas will be putting his passion to the pavement at the Indialantic Boardwalk Triathlon this Sunday, June 25th at 7 AM. The event takes place in Nance Park, 100 Miramar Ave., Indialantic. The event is for the benefit of Candlelighters of Brevard in Indian Harbour Beach.
We are happy to cheer for our Palm Partners Alumni, especially when they are sharing how passion, dedication and transformation make such amazing things possible. Jeff Salinas is a moving example of how willingness and action can change your life. On the road to recovery, Jeff is truly a trailblazer. If you or someone you love is struggling with substance abuse or addiction, please call toll-free now.
CALL NOW 1-888-922-5398