Social change, sober sex and teetotal dancing

Samantha Moyo | June 2020 | 7 minutes

Samantha Moyo is the founder of the world's first sober rave, and here she shares her experience of sobriety.

One of the most incredible moments for me, back when I founded the world’s first sober rave, happened at 8am in the morning. I looked out onto the dancefloor to see 800 people dancing - totally sober. City workers, hippies, festival kids, students, people of all ages, parents with babies, a bunch of teachers who had brought their students with learning disabilities. The crowd was blending and moving with this beautiful calm mesmerism.

Before I and many others joined the sober movement, we couldn’t see our emotions, process our past, or meaningfully contribute to the world. But then, we opened our hearts and minds. Dancing sober for positivity became a viral story, and even a catalyst for peace building.

Until recently, sobriety was not cool. It's with tender gratitude that I raise a glass to other players who were catalysts for what has now become a norm. Hats off to The Numinous, Ruby Warrington’s book Sober Curious, Afropunk's wellness writers, Sunday Assembly, Daybreaker, One Year No Beer, decolonising therapy, Catherine Gray's bestseller The Unexpected Joy of Being Sober, and many others. When many different players and networks come together under one mission, this collective movement can change culture.

Until recently, sobriety was not cool… When many different players and networks come together under one mission, this collective movement can change culture.

I now drink every once in a while, but I spent an extended period of time totally sober. During these sober days, I did a lot of meditation. And with lots of meditation comes less polarity; an ability to hold multiple perspectives. During election campaigns we hosted events exploring neutrality, inspiring different political parties to actively go out and hug each other, love each other.

I always cared for the world and humanity before being sober, but I found sobriety meant I was able to tangibly support and act. Marching on the front line of the Women's March in London; introducing Black Lives Matter to my community of mostly white middle-class people; helping working class creatives and performers to create influence, finding work that paid them well.

I noticed in myself - and in many who went sober - that our eating habits changed. Some of us stopped eating meat altogether as we became more sensitive to animal rights and the environment.

Consumption changed too. We moved from it being cool to shop on the high street, to shopping at charity shops and independents, or hosting Clothes Swaps. Some stopped purchasing anything in plastic. Where we put our money is so important. Money begets power.

But most of all, we say sorry when we're dicks and tend to think more about the whole instead of just me. There's simply more kindness.

I always cared for the world and humanity before being sober, but I found sobriety meant I was able to tangibly support and act.

This story wouldn't be complete if I didn't share how incredible my sex life became thanks to sobriety. All I can say is, ‘What the f*ck was I doing before?!’ With sober sex, the experience of making love goes beyond orgasm. I am now able to experience intimacy on a deeper level. The way you adore another soul when you're sober and present completely changes you both. Slowness, deep listening and gentle holding… along with some delightful ‘grrrr’ appearances of wild soberness.

My motto now is to ‘Be more you, be more Tina.’ I previously used Tina as slang for cocaine, but now I’ve repurposed it. To me, ‘Tina’ now means feeling whole, cosmic and utterly cool in my entire being.

I enjoyed my 100 per cent teetotal days and recommend that to anyone who hasn't given it a go. I think it's healthy to practice changing habits. Today it may be sobriety. Tomorrow breakdance classes. The next day Tai Chi. I’m now a Lion Shaman!

It’s often glazed over that a black, queer, working-class womxn played this essential role in making sobriety fun. Why?! Out of oppression can come the creation of a wonderland.

  • Samantha Moyo founded the world’s first sober rave in 2013, the sober rave that grew from a few dozen into a community of 200,000 within just 18 months. You can find out more about her work as a disruption doctor here. Click through to follow her on Instagram and Twitter.