When St. Patrick’s Day rolls around on March 17th it’s usually cause for celebration. Millions across the world raise a toast in celebration to this Irish holiday commemorating the life and death of St. Patrick, patron saint of Ireland.
While the holiday is meant to celebrate the life of a saint, it is more traditionally associated with one thing: partying. People around the world use this holiday as an excuse to get drunk and wear a lot of bright green clothing.
Wallet-Hub estimates that over 13 million pints of Guinness are consumed worldwide on St. Patrick’s Day, and over 29% of U.S. adults make plans to attend a party in a bar or restaurant. Of all days of the year, St. Patrick’s Day is the 4th most popular drinking day behind New Year’s, Christmas, and Fourth of July.
For those in recovery, giant celebrations such as St. Patrick’s Day can be a bit overwhelming. After all, everyone else wants to cut loose and go wild, but individuals in recovery need to remain sober. If you or a loved one has ever struggled with this scenario, here are some helpful tips to stay sober during St. Patrick’s Day.
Don’t Use It As An Excuse
So you’ve been in recovery for a quite a while now and it’s time to get rewarded for your good behavior. After all, staying sober takes daily commitment and not every day is easy. Maybe you’ve been eyeing this St. Patrick’s Day as a “cheat” day where you can finally take a load off and enjoy yourself without feeling guilty.
This is a common fallacy that can lead to serious relapse. Thinking “I can handle just one”, or “taking a cheat day” are what usually precipitate a more serious substance binge or even overdose. Sometimes, these cheat days can start out innocently enough but gradually develop back into full blown addictions within a month.
With St. Patrick’s Day, the last thing on anybody’s mind is moderation. If you’re someone who has struggled with addiction in the past, St. Patrick’s Day is not the best opportunity to begin using again. You could end up seriously hurting yourself.
Have Your Day Planned Out
Whether you decide to go out with friends or stay home, you’ll want to have a gameplan in place. Create a sober game plan to stick to so that you do not become tempted by idleness or free time.
For example, if you decide to not risk going out or you simply don’t want to deal with the craziness, then plan out your night at home. Maybe plan for a favorite movie, tv show, or book. You could schedule time to the go the gym, or just invite a friend over who supports your sobriety.
So you’ve decided that you’re still going to go out on St. Patrick’s Day. You’ll still want to create a sound game plan to make sure you don’t end up feeling overwhelmed by the day. Take your own means of transportation to any event that you go to so that you have a means of getting away at any time. Plan out what bars you want to spend time at and give yourself a curfew if you plan on being out late.
Mocktails and Soft Drinks
It’s no secret that some of us simply don’t know what to do with our hands. With drinks, we can gesticulate, point, and take swigs to fill awkward pauses. If you find yourself at a party or bar and don’t want to be awkwardly crossing your arms or with your head down looking at your phone, it helps to grab a soft drink or mocktail.
Mocktails are non-alcoholic drinks designed to mimic cocktails and there are tons of recipes out there that are sure to be a hit. Bringing beverages to a party with you is also a great way to contribute to the event, and your host would be very grateful! Any bartender will also be happy to oblige your non-alcoholic drink order.
Surround Yourself With People You Trust
If you do venture out of your own home, make sure to surround yourself with friends and family that you trust dearly. Similar to staying home on your own, if you can surround yourself with positive influences your experience should be a happy one. As long as everyone understands what you are trying to refrain from while hanging out, there’s no reason why you shouldn’t be able to celebrate football season with those closest to you.
Try Other Irish Traditions
After all, there is more to the Irish than just Guinness beer! St. Patrick’s Day should be an opportunity to celebrate all kinds of Irish traditions. There’s a whole world of music, dancing, art, culture, and cuisine to try. Delicious meat and potato recipes can be found at any Irish dining establishment.
Plan Fun Activities To Keep Yourself Occupied
No one knows your friends and family’s dynamic better than you, and if your social gatherings tend to consist of mainly drinking and socializing plan some other enjoyable activities to do! Regarding that it is St. Patrick’s Day, and likely warm weather, plan some fun outdoor games for everyone to play! Some great ideas for outdoor games during your barbecue include:
- Ping pong
- Ring toss
- Beanbag toss
- A pinata
- Golf putting
If you're indoors, bring a deck of card or a small board game or handheld game that everyone can play! Having a fun outlook to distract everyone from drinking will make the experience much more enjoyable overall. Especially if your friends and family do not typically play games at your get-togethers, this will be something new and exciting for everyone.
Realize the Holidays Will Come and Go?
While St. Patrick’s Day is a fun and exciting holiday, don't lose sight of the reality that it is, along with any other holiday, just another day of the week. Another day that is not worth getting off your sobriety plan and possibly relapsing. After all, tomorrow will come, and the temptations and pressures of the event will be gone! If you are struggling, focus on the positives of staying sober throughout these time.
There are many ways benefits of sobriety, and reasons to be thankful that you may have never considered! For starters, you are saving a huge chunk of cash that can be put into savings, or buying someone a gift for the holiday! You will also not have to worry about losing your composure in front of in-laws, or coworkers. Along with your overall health and relationships improving, sobriety brings nothing but positivity to your life! Keep this in mind as you tackle the holiday season that will be over before you know it.
The holidays are without a doubt a time filled with temptations and triggers, which can be entirely avoided by entering rehab. While you may feel you are missing out on an exciting time of the year, you will be exposed to strategies and knowledge on how to prepare for the next holiday, that you will celebrate sober! You will also be able to spend this time with others going through the same difficulties as you are, making the time much less lonely.
While you may not be with your family, you are with other like-minded individuals who have the same goals in mind and are there to see you succeed. At Landmark Recovery, we want to help guide you to the best times of your life, as you embark on your new journey to sobriety. At Landmark, we will create a custom plan, catered to individuals specific needs, goals, and diagnoses. There is no better time than now to seek drug or alcohol rehab and start living a happier and healthier life!