Like all holidays, St. Patrick’s Day comes once a year, and with it comes green clothing, green decorations, and of course, a reason to party. Most notably, you will hear people say, “On this day, everyone is Irish!”. However, saying that, “everyone is Irish”, is really translated as, “Let’s drink a lot of alcohol today”.
While drinking alcohol is usually synonymous with St. Patrick’s Day, for many, drinking is simply not an option. Those in recovery from alcoholism may find this day especially difficult to get through because it can bring up memories of the past, when they were in addiction. However, recovering alcoholics do not have to hide in a cave on this day, and can choose to celebrate it in a new, safe, and sober way.
The first thing a person can do to avoid using alcohol on this holiday is to make up your mind from the beginning that you are not going to put yourself into a situation to be tempted. That means, eatery taverns, outdoor parties, house parties and of course bars, where you know alcohol will be at, they are off the list of things to do. Start a new tradition by going out to a good restaurant that does not have an open bar. Most importantly, do not go alone! Take some friends with you, who know what you are going through, and are going to help keep you on the straight and narrow path.
It was stated earlier that you do not have to hide in a cave on this day, but you may want to consider some alternative activities at home. St. Patrick’s Day brings with it a lot of traffic on the roads. Unfortunately, some drivers will be intoxicated, and putting others and themselves at risk. Staying home on this day may be one of the best places to be, simply due to your own safety. Consider renting some good movies to watch and invite some friends over. Make it a sort of “pot luck” type of night where you all can enjoy some good food, great entertainment, and staying sober while doing it.
If getting out and about is more your speed, then attending a St. Patrick’s Day parade can be a great way to join in the fun. You do not have to drink to stand by the street as the parade goes by. However, some people do bring alcoholic drinks to these parades, so you need a backup plan. Make sure you have a non-alcoholic drink in your hand so that people will not ask you to drink with them. You could even dye it green with green food coloring, which is not only festive but should stop the offers for “green beer.”
St. Patrick’s Day draws large crowds, and as stated earlier, those people are going to be drinking. To resist temptation more, try going somewhere where there will be little, if any crowds. Not many people go to shopping malls on this day. They are too busy partying elsewhere, so while they are doing that, you are getting sweet parking spots and virtually no wait times in lines as your favorite shops. The movie theater is another great place to go on this day. Most movie houses are completely deserted because everyone else is at the bar. That middle of screen seat is just waiting for you!
St. Patrick’s Day does not have to be a gloomy day for someone in recovery. Your recovery has been about starting over, and with it, you can start over with this holiday by doing some of the suggestions here to have an alcohol-free good time.
Emerson has been a CCAPP certified addiction counselor for the past seven years. He’s worked in various mental health settings and discovered that substance abuse counseling allowing him to make a huge impact in the lives of others, while providing him a great personal and professional satisfaction.