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Beyond Wonderland: A Sober Experience


At the San Bernardino amphitheater on March 16, 2013, the popular rave event “Beyond Wonderland” went down in full force. Over one hundred electronic artists played from 4pm to 2am in four different arenas.  The event first hit scene in 2010 at the San Bernardino Events center, completely selling out tickets to thousands of EDM fans everywhere across the country. I met people from New York to Chicago to Canada. Of course, the main population of ravers was our own California natives, but it really blew my mind to meet people from all over North America to see their favorite DJs.

Obviously, mind-altering substances are a huge part of the rave culture, the most popular few being MDMA (Mollys), marijuana, and alcohol. With stimulating light shows and bass that shake the ground beneath your feet, it may seem a hard place to be for a recovering addict to resist temptation. But in all honesty, I had a blast just dancing like crazy to the music with my friends. Beyond Wonderland was an unforgettable experience, and I’m very glad I’m able to clearly remember it. Sharing exuberant memories with friends didn’t have to come with the price of relapse this time around, and I feel like Beyond Wonderland was the perfect environment to be my crazy self with the ones I love without having to wake up in the morning with my head in the toilet.

The reason Beyond Wonderland has such a colorful and vibrant theme is because it takes after its older sister festival, “Nocturnal Wonderland,” which apparently used to incorporate such things as light mazes and poi dancers, but as it matured, became something rather different. Fans demanded the return of these facets, so in response, Insomniac Events crafted Beyond Wonderland to meet fan expectations.

Throughout the event, I saw many people just passed out on the ground. It makes me sad to think that drugs had gotten in the way of enjoying such a wonderful time. There have been many past parties and raves that I went to while using, and although I thought I was at the peak of existence at the time, I now have many regrets that I will probably keep with me the rest of my life. There is a certain sense of fulfillment that I never would have received if I was using, so many friends I never would have made if I was too busy focusing on my high.

When I hear those in recovery complain about the good times they will no longer be able to have, I encourage them to go to events like Beyond Wonderland and Together As One, and then they look at me like I’m insane. It’s as if events like these have become permanently linked with drug abuse and going to one sober is beyond laughable. It’s time for us addicts to get out there and see what real living is all about, because once we close the door to drugs, an infinite number of avenues open up for us to explore.

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Filed under: Addiction, Alcohol and Drugs, Life, Recovery, Spirituality, Substance Abuse · Tags: Beyond Wonderland, raves, sober fun, sober raves, wonderland

  • Debra

    I like your message of encouragement and hope. Life can be fun, exciting, thrilling, joyful. It can be sad, painful, and discouraging. All of our experiances come together to make us grow as a person and become part of who we are. If we don’t remember them how can we learn from our mistakes, failures, victories and triumphs.I’m glad you were able to enjoy the music, friends, energy and joy of the concert and let that victory lead you to the next!

  • Alice

    It can be difficult to refrain from using when everyone around you is completely wasted. Raves are fun but can be deadly temptations

  • TRcrUsaderTH

    I agree, they are deadly temptations. is operated by Recovery Brands LLC, a subsidiary of American Addiction Centers, Inc.
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