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Photo credit: Katherine Kung

That time I did Zero drugs at Burning Man and How It Was Magical

By Coach Antonia

A lot of people think Burning Man equals drugs. But every time I go, I don’t do any. I don’t even drink alcohol. And I have the best time ever.

Do you want to know my secret? Read on.

People think that you can’t have fun at Burning Man without doing drugs. Let’s unpack that assumption. You might be asking yourself:

“…But, Will I Have Fun If I’m Not On Drugs?”

First, are you able to have fun in regular life without drugs or alcohol?

Are you able to go to a party, a concert, or a wedding and have fun while not intoxicated?

If you’ve answered yes to any of these questions then you WILL be able to have fun at Burning Man without them as well. Yes, Burning Man is a whole other planet, but while the world around you might be flipped upside down – you will still be YOU. Burning Man is a transformational festival and most people who go, go to have an experience. You are not expected to be intoxicated in order to join in. As a matter of fact, there are literally hundreds of activities happening every day of the festival that are related to health and well-being. There’s even a runners club!

So the choice is up to you entirely.

You choose the experience that you will have!

burning man

Photo credit: Katherine Kung

“…What if Everyone Around Me Is On Drugs?”

Most likely, you won’t notice the difference.

I know, this may be a disappointingly simple answer and you may have been craving a bit more drama. The truth is, with Burning Man as a backdrop, it takes a LOT more weirdness than usual for things to seem out of the ordinary. People both on and off drugs will be taking more risks, and expressing themselves more freely and radically. Trust me, the ecstatic nature of the environment will make you want to hug complete strangers, and therefore it’s like EVERYONE is a bit high on something magical that’s in the air at Burning Man.

Photo credit: Katherine Kung

“…Do I Have to Stay Up and Not Sleep For A Week?”

You will sleep. Yes, there are those outliers who do not sleep and go on a once-in-a-year bender and then recover for the remaining 51 weeks of the year.
My bet is that you’re not one of those people.

The first time I went to Burning Man I tried to stay up 24-7 to not miss a thing, only sleeping a few hours, but by day 3 or 4 I just crashed, and so did all my Burner Virgin friends right next to me. When I woke up I felt better than ever, and was REALLY able to take in much more of Burning Man.

You have to do a little “adulting” here and manage your state. Wisdom says that getting a bit more sleep will increase your presence on the playa. The more present and awake you are, the more you can enjoy yourself. So, pick at least 2-3 nights where you can sleep long and fully charge your batteries. And remember, the night the man burns is perfect for an all-nighter, so be sure your batteries are charged to watch the sunrise in a cuddlepuddle by the remaining fires on the Playa.

burning man

Photo credit: Katherine Kung

The way I see it, Burning Man IS my drug, and it can be yours too.

When I go to Burning Man, my intention is to SURRENDER to the Playa – and every day it’s a practice of letting go and allowing myself to be taken and transformed. There are so many things to get high on. You can choose to make it your drug too.

Here are a few options of how to get high:

1. Get high on life.

2. Get high on the costumes.

Get high on the workshops – really pick ones that get you out of your comfort zone – that’s a drug in itself.

Get high on deep connection with others.

Get high on the music, especially at night.

Get high on a spontaneous chocolate snack in the middle of the desert.

Get high on giving someone a gift on the playa.

Get high on art-car jumping.

Get high on dancing your pants off – if you’re wearing any.

Get high on surrendering to your own experience.

Get high on radical participation.


You will have no shortage of emotional highs, visual orgasms, synchronistic surprises and miracles on the playa.

As they say, “the playa provides.” If you want a specific experience, all you gotta do is ASK. No drugs necessary.

See you on the Playa!
Coach Antonia

vegan protein

p.s. If reading this is making you question your beliefs, check out How To Hack Your Beliefs.

p.p.s. If you will be traveling to Burning Man by plane, check out How to Reduce Flight-Fatigue and Jet Lag! 

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