How to NOT drink at Burning Man

Greetings, earthlings!

And so we slouch toward Burning Man.

Many attendees of the Burn consume all sorts of substances. Speaking as both a seasoned Burner and the lifelong owner of a human vehicle I encourage you to place food and water on the top of that list.

One of most commonly consumed substances at the Burn is alcohol. Sips and tipples are EVERYWHERE at Burning Man. Everything from hootch to hard liquor will be offered to you in quantities and qualities of all rubrics. Should that be your pleasure, please enjoy.

However, if you don’t drink, negotiating the booze-fueled landscape of the Burn, especially at night, can be overwhelming and even alienating. I know this because I do not drink and loathe bars of all stripes. Just not my scene. LIKE AT ALL.

Should you find yourself, for any number of reasons, not drinking at Burning Man, may I suggest the following attitudes, events, and activities:

* Be prepared to be ditched by your drinking Burner buddies. With so many of the big ticket sound camps and art installations having bars, at some point you might decide to peel off from a gaggle of those who imbibe, or, more probably, they might decide to move on without you. While at first you might be distressed by this, they have actually done you a favor, because NOW you get to:

Quaff H2O at a water bar!

I love water bars at Burning Man! They are chill AF and the perfect perch to hydrate and hang. Pink Heart is arguably the best known water bar and they have pink fuzzy furniture on which to lounge. Freaks United Karma Collective and Pele’s Fire are camps with water programming as well. Bottoms up, Burner!

Get 12-stepped an Anonymous meeting!

12-step and 12-step adjacent meetings happen all the time at Burning Man and they are super cool. If you do not drink as part of your own sobriety and are interested in attending a meeting, check out Village. Look me up if you want/need to attend a meeting.

Crook your pinky at a Tea House!

Teahouses are all over Black Rock City and are a respite from the hustle and bustle of bikes and lights and noise. Some are open 24 hours, some offer fun programming, some are make-your-own, and some are full service. A handful are based on tea rituals which are super fun to observe. A cuppa on the Playa is always a good idea.

Get a massage/lavender mist/body work!

Many camps are based on Gifting body work and spa services to the Playa. Enjoy a shoulder massage. Relax with a chilled lavender eye mask. Soak your feet in a vinegar bath. Get your hair washed at a soap station. Burning Man bliss!

See a film!

Screenings are all over the place at Burning Man! Cult films are usually the “lingua franca” at Black Rock, so if you have a taste for WTF flicks and trash cinema, then you, my fellow filmgoing weirdo, are in luck!

Go to a library!

Assuming you know how to read, books and Burning Man are hella rad. There are a handful of libraries with books about, well, everything! These camps are typically very quiet as well, so be sure to use your indoor voice when you visit. This is very hard for me, BTW, because I have no indoor voice. But hope springs eternal.

Take a sauna!

At first blush, voluntarily walking into a small space at Burning Man full of steam and heat sounds like a TOTAL NIGHTMARE. However, I encourage you to do it anyway! It is SO GOOD for all parts of your person. There are authentic Finnish and Russian saunas around the city that are pure pleasure. Get naked, get steamed, and you will see what I mean.

Attend a lecture!

Experts of all levels on all sorts of topics love to hold forth at Burning Man! From the most obtuse of exponential technologies to how to buy a house (on Earth), there are a metric fuckton of talks and lectures. All you have to do is show up and listen!

These are just some of the non-alcoholic options and events and activities on offer that no not include bars or booze. I hope this has proven to be a satisfying read.

Now get me a beer.

Hahaha just kidding.


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