With more than 32 million Americans claiming Irish ancestry, it’s no surprise that St. Patrick’s Day is one of the biggest holidays each year in the United States. But despite the fun that many Americans have during the holiday, over-drinking on St. Patty’s Day can be incredibly dangerous.
Nearly 200 people each year are killed in accidents involving drunk drivers during this holiday.
If you’re in recovery from alcoholism or another form of addiction, it can be especially challenging to stay sober on a holiday in which nearly everyone is drinking heavily. That’s why, for many recovering alcoholics, putting a St. Patty’s Day plan together is key, and using the 4 steps below can help make staying sober a breeze (or at least less of a hassle) on everyone’s favorite Irish holiday.
While staying sober may be one of the most important life choices you make, it may not be important to the people around you, especially if they don’t know you well or don’t care about your long term health. That’s why it can be risky to hang out with acquaintances, strangers, and coworkers who you don’t know well on St. Patrick’s Day. Especially if they’re intoxicated themselves, they may encourage you to drink– and if you’re already having trouble staying sober, the encouragement of a drunken, rowdy crowd can easily throw you over the edge.
That’s why, on St. Patty’s Day, you need to stick close to people who you trust – people who know about your sobriety and just how important it is to your health, your family, and your career. Sure, if those strangers at the bar knew your whole life story, they probably wouldn’t be encouraging you to drink, but they don’t, and that’s why people in recovery don’t need to meet any new, drunken friends this St. Patrick’s Day.
Just because you don’t drink doesn’t necessarily mean you can’t party. Just find an event without alcohol, or at least, where alcohol is not a major focus of the event and isn’t easily accessible. You may be able to find a sober St. Patty’s day party through any AA, NA, or other support groups you attend or through a church, synagogue, mosque, or other religious group. If you can’t find a sober St. Patty’s Day party, try throwing your own, but avoid inviting anyone who you know will want to bring alcohol or who will judge the sobriety of you and your other guests.
If you do decide to go to events with friends and family who drink, or where other many other people are drinking (even if your friends and family aren’t) it’s essential that you have an “out”. This means having an excuse to leave at any time if you feel particularly tempted by alcohol and think there is even a remote chance that you will relapse. Telling others that you’re a designated driver and need to take someone home (even if it’s not someone at the party you’re currently at) is a great way to minimize the awkwardness and potentially long explanations that you might need to give if you choose to explain your sobriety to strangers or the party’s host.
St. Patty’s Day can be incredibly fun even without a single drop of alcohol. You just need to surround yourself with the right people and learn to have fun in your own way, whether that means going out to parties with members of your support network, throwing your own sober celebration, or simply having a quiet night at home with a little corned beef hash and buttered cabbage.
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