Many of us like to enjoy a beer or two and generate a party atmosphere when we go see our favorite bands jam out at a local venue. But for some of us, the party never stops. That is, to paraphrase the Grateful Dead, too much of everything is never enough. Then we decide to step away from the scene for a while and get some perspective, perhaps in the form of 12-steps.
Now you are taking it not only one-day-at-a-time, but one-show-at-a-time, too. What do you do when you don’t want the music to ever stop but you need to step off the party bus? For some, it’s tough to go to a show or dig the local scene without the temptations that often accompany that vibe.
Fear not for you are not alone. Many concert-goers who have decided to partake in the music but not drugs and/or alcohol are congregating at shows across the globe. This practice was believed to be started by fans of the Grateful Dead who call themselves Wharf Rats. This name is derived from the Jerry Garcia/Robert Hunter song “Wharf Rat” about a wino named August West. The Wharf Rats began their fellowship at Dead shows back in the ’80s. These sober Deadheads would gather at a spot designated by yellow balloons in between sets. The purpose of the gathering was to help each other remain on the sober side by holding impromptu meetings.
Since then, many other fans of various bands have taken up the mantle of meeting in support of sobriety. Phish has the Phellowship, Widespread Panic has the Gateway, moe. has their Happy Hour Heroes, Stringed Cheese Incident has the Jellyfish and Umphrey’s McGee has Much Obliged. This is a good way to share stories and encouragement. This is especially needed in this day-and-age when far too many of us have had our families and friendships ripped apart by drugs and alcohol.
If you or someone you love is grappling with alcohol or drug dependency, then please, seek help. If you plan to attend a show and want to know if there will be a support group, check social media. And if you’re recovering and want to enjoy a show, there are others there just like you. They’re there. Seek them out. Otherwise, start your own meet-up and share your journey with others. You just gotta poke around.