Manny Rodriguez, Executive Director and Founder of La Fuente Hollywood Treatment Center, on how to enjoy White Party Palm Springs in the best possible way.
BY MANNY RODRIGUEZ
The world famous and legendary White Party Palm Springs descends upon us yearly with major glitz, glamour and top-tier talent. Lucky for me—I have a front row seat. Well… not really, I am more like the person taking tickets and ensuring everything goes smoothly at the door. Yup….it’s a gig I’ve had the privilege of being offered for the last seven years. I look forward to it and welcome the change from my responsibility of running the very fabulous La Fuente Hollywood Treatment Center!
White Party provides a deluxe list of A-Class events for several days that consistently lives up to its promise of ongoing fun to the men and even a few women who travel across the national and international globe.
Creating a plan for safety in a
party environment—whether you
are attending, working or otherwise—for newly sober people
is crucial for avoiding the triggers and pitfalls of relapse.
Some of you may be thinking, “why he is contributing a story on “this weekend?” My reasons are several… give me a moment.
After-hours, pumping music and keeping the party going as long as I could were the norm for many years; until it just became harder to manage. In August of 1993 it all came to a crashing halt when I hit bottom from alcohol and drug dependence. This was long coming and I finally mustered up the courage to ask for help.
While this was a much-needed change, my job at this time was of “club promoter” for the legendary nights named “The Temple” and “Pump.” My greatest fear being newly sober was of relapsing… if and when I returned to work. This was a pretty serious dilemma.
I had the good fortune to be under the care of an excellent therapist and an understanding business partner/lifelong friend (DJ Eddie X) who I shared my concerns with. We reviewed the pros and cons as well as the dangers of returning to a job where alcohol was served and party favors readily accessible. At the heart of this conversation was the reality that my “club promoter” job was the only means I had for being self-supporting. What would I do? We decided that I would at least attempt returning to work. Together we created a plan to help me navigate through an experience I had no reference points for but one that my life depended on. The key part of this plan was that I was to immediately leave work or any situation if I felt that my recovery was at risk at any time. Drinking and drugging spelled death for me and I knew this. Following that plan and staying sober allowed me to be even better at that job and also helped open other doors up to this current date.
This very same dilemma is one I come across on a daily basis in my work with newly sober people. My experience and plan are not “a one size fits all” plan and probably not one I would recommend very freely. However, what I always recommend is to come up with a plan that is realistic, attainable and that is attached to accountability.
Creating a plan for safety in a party environment whether you are attending, working or otherwise for newly sober people is crucial for avoiding the triggers and pitfalls of relapse.
Here are some of suggestions for creating a plan:
Share your concerns or allow others to share theirs if you are newly sober and are attending or working in a party environment.
Have a means of transportation so that you can leave if you feel triggered.
Involve your employer in your plan if possible.
Have a list of people you can call for support.
Attend party events with other sober people or individuals that have your best interest at hand and support your recovery.
People newly in recovery many times wonder if they will ever have fun again. There are also many individuals struggling with addiction and who desire recovery but resist seeking it out of fear that their lives will become dull without the drinking and drugging. My experience was that the fun changed after getting sober and that when it was time to leave… I left.
One of the greatest things I have learned from working yearly at the biggest party weekend is that almost all of the gay men who attend are kind, hard working, love celebrating their lives and are not strung out. This has also been a great opportunity to express kindness and love even when I bear the brunt of a guest’s unhappiness for the all so many reasons that come up.
How we conduct ourselves in any situation is a golden opportunity to truly express the gift of recovery wherever we are and with everyone we meet!