New York City has long been synonymous with drinking, drugs and a bit of debauchery. “We didn't come to New York to stay sober,” was a famous line from 1934’s The Thin Man and more than 80 years later this good-time stance is just as relevant as ever. But something strange is happening within the NYC party scene: it seems that the city that never sleeps is waking up to the perks of sobriety.
First there were sober "yoga raves" at The Get Down in the Meatpacking District, which merged thumping bass with the downward dog; then came the No Lights, No Lycra sober dance party and Deep House Yoga at Verboten in Brooklyn. Throughout NYC, new clear-headed club nights are emerging each week as health and wellness and a hedonistic revelry unite for what seems to be the first time.
Abstaining in the Big Apple has never been so cool—but how did this surprising new trend kick off and what’s causing it to spread so rapidly across the globe?
Health and Wellness Clubbing
“When my friend first asked me if I wanted to go to a sober dance party, I thought she was crazy,” says Sara, 28. “I’ve always been someone who drinks on nights out and though I wouldn’t say I’m a big drinker, I honestly didn’t know how a dance party would even work if everyone was stone cold sober. I went along just to see what it was like and it was one of the most satisfying things I’ve ever done.”
Sara is the latest sober party scene advocate who cites health reasons as their main motive for abstemious clubbing and the wellness element seems to be a chief contributor to its rapidly rising popularity. The rationale behind many of these events is that most people like to let their hair down and dance like no one’s watching—but not everyone needs to enter a state of intoxication to get there.
While many people enjoy the pleasure-seeking fun of a rave, not everyone wants to take part in the scene that accompanies it: one study found that 67 percent of people who’d attended a rave in the past six months had used ecstasy; a further 69 percent had used amphetamines. Many sober event organizers state publicly that they’re not trying to make an anti-drugs or anti-alcohol statement—they simply want to promote a different kind of dance-related exuberance that’s totally independent from substance use.
“I think the reason sober partying has become so popular so quickly is because it’s so rewarding,” Sara says. “That’s why I love it. At first, you feel self-conscious, but then you realize everyone is in the same boat. Sober dance parties are communal and connecting; unlike normal clubs, where you look around and realize everyone is in varying states of intoxication, everyone here has a clear-head and is there for the same reason: to have fun, but in a way that actually enhances your health.”
Like many other health and fitness crazes, the sober party scene may have started in New York but quickly spread. Party people across the world have created copycat club events and London, Zurich and Amsterdam all play host to the fashionable Morning Gloryville, a sober rave that kicks off at 6:30 in the morning. Partly aimed at those people who prefer dancing to jogging as a method of keeping fit, attendees turn up to party sober and dance like their lives depend on it—all before work.
“My first experience with Morning Gloryville was bizarre but amazing,” says 30 year old Dan, who attends the NYC rave once a week. “I’d recently cut down on drinking and wanted to improve my mood. When I drank most evenings, my morning routine was rushed, frantic and stressful. Since I’ve started going to Morning Gloryville, my whole attitude before noon is totally different. It’s pretty nice knowing that by 8:30 a.m. I’ve exercised, socialized and had an awesome time. Last year, I’d have still been sleeping.”
The Joys of Sobriety
Aside from people like Dan and Sara who want to cut back on their alcohol intake while not negotiating on fun, conscious clubbing has also been making ripples in the world of addiction recovery. The idea of using exercise as a constructive replacement for drug or alcohol cravings is not new; exercise releases the neurotransmitter dopamine into the brain in the same way as cocaine and heroin.
The rise of the sober party scene should further support the benefits of exercising for recovery. Exercise has long been used within rehabilitation to provide addicts with a mental, physical and emotional outlet. Sober dance events with a strong focus on fun and socializing can be even more advantageous for young people in recovery, as Sober College rehab center founder Robert Pfeifer states:
“The idea that former addicts don’t want to party or can never do so again is a misconception. Many young adults in early recovery from addiction don’t want to give up important aspects of their social lives or have to entirely avoid dance parties or the club scene, but they don’t want to put themselves at risk of relapse either. If a young person can enjoy activities like clubbing and dancing but in a safe, sober environment, then that can only be a good thing. And of course, aside from that aspect, dancing is a physical activity which improves overall health and fitness and promotes a positive outlook, so these events can enhance recovery in many forms.”
A basic desire to improve health is clearly a driving force behind the huge rise in popularity of sober partying and the attraction of clean clubbing for anyone struggling with substance abuse issues mean this movement has a two-pronged appeal and will surely only continue to spread. But as new convert Sara attests, simple inquisitiveness is also an influential factor.
“Not everyone at these events is in recovery from addiction or a health nut, by any means,” says Sara. “Most people come of out curiosity, just to see what it’s like and then enjoy it so much they want to make it a regular thing. I do still drink but knowing that I can have the same amount of fun sober has meant I drink far less than I ever did, which can only be a good thing. It’s nice to not feel as though you need to drink to dance or let yourself go—I think that’s my key takeaway, anyway—that’s the real joy of sobriety!”
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1. Stay Informed<p>A first order of business in pet evacuation planning is to understand and be ready for the possible threats in your area. Visit <a href="https://www.ready.gov/be-informed" target="_blank">Ready.gov</a> to learn more about preparing for potential disasters such as floods, hurricanes, and wildfires. Then pay attention to related updates by tuning <a href="http://www.weather.gov/nwr/" target="_blank">NOAA Weather Radio</a> to your local emergency station or using the <a href="https://www.fema.gov/mobile-app" target="_blank">FEMA app</a> to get National Weather Service alerts.</p>
2. Ensure Your Pet is Easily Identifiable<p><span>Household pets, including indoor cats, should wear collars with ID tags that have your mobile phone number. </span><a href="https://www.avma.org/microchipping-animals-faq" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">Microchipping</a><span> your pets will also improve your chances of reunion should you become separated. Be sure to add an emergency contact for friends or relatives outside your immediate area.</span></p><p>Additionally, use <a href="https://secure.aspca.org/take-action/order-your-pet-safety-pack" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">'animals inside' door/window stickers</a> to show rescue workers how many pets live there. (If you evacuate with your pets, quickly write "Evacuated" on the sticker so first responders don't waste time searching for them.)</p>
3. Make a Pet Evacuation Plan<p> "No family disaster plan is complete without including your pets and all of your animals," says veterinarian Heather Case in <a href="https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Q9NRJkFKAm4" target="_blank">a video</a> produced by the American Veterinary Medical Association.</p><p>It's important to determine where to take your pet in the event of an emergency.</p><p>Red Cross shelters and many other emergency shelters allow only service animals. Ask your vet, local animal shelters, and emergency management officials for information on local and regional animal sheltering options.</p><p>For those with access to the rare shelter that allows pets, CDC offers <a href="https://www.cdc.gov/healthypets/emergencies/pets-in-evacuation-centers.html" target="_blank">tips on what to expect</a> there, including potential health risks and hygiene best practices.</p><p>Beyond that, talk with family or friends outside the evacuation area about potentially hosting you and/or your pet if you're comfortable doing so. Search for pet-friendly hotel or boarding options along key evacuation routes.</p><p>If you have exotic pets or a mix of large and small animals, you may need to identify multiple locations to shelter them.</p><p>For other household pets like hamsters, snakes, and fish, the SPCA recommends that if they normally live in a cage, they should be transported in that cage. If the enclosure is too big to transport, however, transfer them to a smaller container temporarily. (More on that <a href="https://www.spcai.org/take-action/emergency-preparedness/evacuation-how-to-be-pet-prepared" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">here</a>.)</p><p>For any pet, a key step is to establish who in your household will be the point person for gathering up pets and bringing their supplies. Keep in mind that you may not be home when disaster strikes, so come up with a Plan B. For example, you might form a buddy system with neighbors with pets, or coordinate with a trusted pet sitter.</p>
4. Prepare a Pet Evacuation Kit<p>Like the emergency preparedness kit you'd prepare for humans, assemble basic survival items for your pets in a sturdy, easy-to-grab container. Items should include:</p><ul><li>Water, food, and medicine to last a week or two;</li><li>Water, food bowls, and a can opener if packing wet food;</li><li>Litter supplies for cats (a shoebox lined with a plastic bag and litter may work);</li><li>Leashes, harnesses, or vehicle restraints if applicable;</li><li>A <a href="https://www.avma.org/resources/pet-owners/emergencycare/pet-first-aid-supplies-checklist" target="_blank">pet first aid kit</a>;</li><li>A sturdy carrier or crate for each cat or dog. In addition to easing transport, these may serve as your pet's most familiar or safe space in an unfamiliar environment;</li><li>A favorite toy and/or blanket;</li><li>If your pet is prone to anxiety or stress, the American Kennel Club suggests adding <a href="https://www.akc.org/expert-advice/home-living/create-emergency-evacuation-plan-dog/" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">stress-relieving items</a> like an anxiety vest or calming sprays.</li></ul><p>In the not-unlikely event that you and your pet have to shelter in different places, your kit should also include:</p><ul><li>Detailed information including contact information for you, your vet, and other emergency contacts;</li><li>A list with phone numbers and addresses of potential destinations, including pet-friendly hotels and emergency boarding facilities near your planned evacuation routes, plus friends or relatives in other areas who might be willing to host you or your pet;</li><li>Medical information including vaccine records and a current rabies vaccination tag;</li><li>Feeding notes including portions and sizes in case you need to leave your pet in someone else's care;</li><li>A photo of you and your pet for identification purposes.</li></ul>
5. Be Ready to Evacuate at Any Time<p>It's always wise to be prepared, but stay especially vigilant in high-risk periods during fire or hurricane season. Practice evacuating at different times of day. Make sure your grab-and-go kit is up to date and in a convenient location, and keep leashes and carriers by the exit door. You might even stow a thick pillowcase under your bed for middle-of-the-night, dash-out emergencies when you don't have time to coax an anxious pet into a carrier. If forecasters warn of potential wildfire, a hurricane, or other dangerous conditions, bring outdoor pets inside so you can keep a close eye on them.</p><p>As with any emergency, the key is to be prepared. As the American Kennel Club points out, "If you panic, it will agitate your dog. Therefore, <a href="https://www.akc.org/expert-advice/home-living/create-emergency-evacuation-plan-dog/" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">pet disaster preparedness</a> will not only reduce your anxiety but will help reduce your pet's anxiety too."</p>
Evacuating Horses and Other Farm Animals<p>The same basic principles apply for evacuating horses and most other livestock. Provide each with some form of identification. Ensure that adequate food, water, and medicine are available. And develop a clear plan on where to go and how to get there.</p><p>Sheltering and transporting farm animals requires careful coordination, from identifying potential shelter space at fairgrounds, racetracks, or pastures, to ensuring enough space is available in vehicles and trailers – not to mention handlers and drivers on hand to support the effort.</p><p>For most farm animals, the Red Cross advises that you consider precautionary evacuation when a threat seems imminent but evacuation orders haven't yet been announced. The American Veterinary Medical Association has <a href="https://www.avma.org/resources/pet-owners/emergencycare/large-animals-and-livestock-disasters" target="_blank">more information</a>.</p>
Bottom Line: If You Need to Evacuate, So Do Your Pets<p>As the Humane Society warns, pets left behind in a disaster can easily be injured, lost, or killed. Plan ahead to make sure you can safely evacuate your entire household – furry members included.</p>
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