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Social Anxiety in Punk: Sobriety in a Substance Using Subculture


October 20, 2014
Andrew Biernacki

This is part of a recurring series of essays on social anxiety in punk. For more, click here.

In nearly every city, outside of any venue, substance use is pretty prevalent. People brown-bagging bottles in cars, taking a couple hits in the parking lot, or lighting cigarettes while waiting in line are all seemingly standard pre-show traditions for many. Once inside the venue, the next step is heading to the bar to glug down as many 16 ounce aluminum cans of American adjunct lager as possible, grabbing one more for the first band about to start. Between sets, there is a rush to form a smoking circle outside the entryway, then another to scurry back to the bar for more drinks before the next band plays. The camaraderie of the punk rock flock, migrating from place to place; drinking, smoking, and shouting together looks attractive when you suffer from anxiety. Everyone looks like they are having extraordinary fun together, going through these systematic motions, and you don’t want to be the one to break the chain or seem out of place.

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free them

prisoners of the skeleton war

sometime in the future

old me: ah yes I remember the Great Skeleton War of 2014.
grandchildren: grandma that never happened.
old me: it was a long war.
grandchildren: grandma please stop we've talked about this.
old me: the only way to end it was to make a treaty with the skeletons.
grandchildren: grandma
old Me: and that's why humans have skeletons inside them.
grandchildren: gRANDMA PLEASE
i had a dream about magical girls that had super strength/agility, but instead of wearing a special outfit they would shed their skin and turn into a skeleton.