How To Have Fun in Sobriety: Go to a Sober Bar

We interview the founder of The Other Side about how his sober bar keeps people plugged in and shows them that recovery doesn’t suck.

party-soberDuring the summer of 2015, 32-year-old Jason Beaty of McHenry, Illinois, a city 50 miles northwest of Chicago, drove on a suspended license, violating the terms set by a drug court program—though he was some 40 days sober at the time. The judge, who called Beaty’s decision-making “piss poor,” was tired of watching him stumble through early recovery only to return to drug using. So he recommended Beaty live in a halfway house in nearby Woodstock.

After accumulating over 13 years of prison time and 17 years of heroin use, Beaty projected a bleak future for himself, one where any chance of being a husband to his wife, a father to his children or a son to his parents, was beyond reach. “Jail for life or die of an overdose, I believed, was in my future.”

Despite all that, it was by the judge’s recommendation that Beaty plugged into a community of sober people who helped him discover what was missing in his numerous other attempts at recovery. In the halfway house, a guy nicknamed Boston told Beaty about a sober bar in the area called The Other Side. “A sober bar? What hell is a sober bar?” Beaty thought.

A sober bar, it turns out, is a lot like a regular bar, with pool tables and a stage for live music, people dancing—only everyone guzzles energy drinks instead of alcohol. Beaty went to the bar the night of a big party for one of its co-founders, Chris Reed. “I was on my last chance, the judge told me I’d go to prison if it didn’t work this time. If I didn’t attend that party, I’d probably be in jail today,” Beaty said. Read more “the fix”…

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