For both their physical and mental health, moms in recovery need ways to connect to sober communities, activities and entertainment. Here is an organization that does just that.
Sober AF Entertainment
Duke Rumely, founder
Sober AF Entertainment is changing the culture around sobriety by creating safe, fun, sober places to gather and socialize. Founder Duke Rumely has been sober since 1989 and he remembers that during his first years of sobriety, having a support group of sober friends who went to concerts and other entertainment venues together really made a difference to his success. “I was just 21 at the time, so going to a Grateful Dead show with a group of people who were sober really made the idea of staying sober tolerable,” he said. “When you are working to stay sober, everything is new, and it feels so uncomfortable. Learning how to adapt to doing all these fun things that I wanted to do sober was a big part of my sobriety.”
Fast forward 28 years later, and Duke had teenage and young adult kids of his own who had experienced friends struggling with drug use and addiction. Watching this next generation motivated him to start Sober AF Entertainment with his daughter, who was 20 at the time. “Our idea was to set up sober tailgates and sober sections inside sporting events and concerts,” he explained. “Our first event was Base Nectar at the First Bank Center and then we did Big Head Todd and the Monsters at Red Rocks. That summer, we hosted our very first sober section with The Rockies, and we sold 150 tickets in eight days. That made me sure there was a need and a want for this.”
“We are all about trying to show that being sober can be fun,” Duke said. “We are normalizing the idea of not being high or drunk at a sporting event or a concert.” Now, Sober AF is taking their message beyond Colorado including recently hosting events for a Florida Panthers game and a Lightning game in Tampa. They are promoting a sober movie night in Grand Junction, a sober support tailgate at Colorado Mesa University and they are going to New York City at the request of The Mets who have already set aside 500 tickets for a sober section and also a sober support tailgate at Side Citi Field. To date, they’ve done over 110 events and this year the Colorado Rockies gave them 2,000 tickets for this year's recovery appreciation event on June 18th.
We had a woman in long-term recovery sing the national anthem at that game. She was supposed to sing the national anthem 25 years before during the inaugural year of the Rockies, but she was so nervous she got drunk and never left the house. She was so embarrassed she left Colorado, and got sober about a year later. She came back 24 years later, 24 years sober, and slayed that dragon of that embarrassing moment and got to sing the national anthem. And she got to tell the story at our sober support event beforehand.
Duke says that looking forward, their goal is to create a platform where anyone can host their own recovery support event and Sober AF Entertainment will help promote it. Recently Harvard University, Holy Cross, Michigan and Michigan State did sober sections and tailgates at their football games and Sober AF sent them T-shirts and balloons to help promote their events.
“I think the whole recovery community has to realize that it is a different age right now, and people need more support because there is so much more anxiety going on in the world,” Duke said. “There are so many people struggling with trying to stay off of pain medications and they are feeling super isolated. So, we're trying to walk people through what that anxiety looks like. If we can get them through the first 10 minutes of one of our events, they are going to stay and be OK.”
Note To Providers:
Please let moms in recovery know that we want them to join us for our FREE sober tailgate and for the Rockies Game on June 18. The tailgate will be at The Phoenix Gym on Champa Street and then we'll have 2,000 people sitting together in our sober section. We have free tickets for moms and their kids if they go to this link.
Share this article: