Celebrating a Sober St. Patrick’s Day

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Celebrating a Sober St. Patrick’s Day

St. Patrick’s Day is a holiday with Christian roots that now serves as a day to celebrate the heritage and culture of the Irish people. Today, many people celebrate St. Patrick’s Day, even those with no Irish heritage. Over time, this holiday has come to be associated with heavy substance use and wild pub visits. 

If you are currently on your recovery journey, you know that these activities are simply not practical for you. This does not mean you cannot still celebrate the holiday and enjoy yourself. There are many ways to celebrate St. Patrick’s Day while remaining sober. 

Finding Individuals to Spend the Holiday With You

Not everyone is going to want to spend St. Patrick’s Day drinking or engaging in substance use. If you are lucky enough to have people around you—such as friends and family members who are supportive and respectful towards your recovery journey—consider reaching out to them ahead of St. Patrick’s Day to see if they would like to make plans with you. This way, you can still socialize and spend the holiday with people you care about without ever having to put yourself in a compromising situation that threatens your recovery.

Consider Cooking an Irish Meal

Instead of heading to the pub, consider spending St. Patrick’s Day in the kitchen cooking a traditional Irish meal. There are countless recipes to choose from, whether it be an Irish stew, corned beef, shepherd’s pie, or a bread pudding. While you can certainly cook for just yourself if it suits you, you could also make it a dinner party. By setting up some simple decor and cooking enough to feed a small group of people, you may find that you not only enjoy a simple social evening but also end up discovering some new favorite recipes. 

Attend a St. Patrick’s Day Parade 

If you have free time during the day, you may consider stopping by a St. Patrick’s Day parade. They are held in many cities across the country, and there is bound to be one happening near you. This is a great way for people of all ages to enjoy music, get dressed up, dance, enjoy floats, and get into the spirit of the holiday. 

Learn a Traditional Irish Dance

Step-dancing and traditional jigs are a significant part of Irish culture. In celebration of the holiday, you may consider taking an Irish dancing class with a couple of friends. If you would rather learn from the comfort of your own home, there are plenty of tutorials that you can watch for free online while enjoying traditional Irish music. 

Celebrate With Children

Some things are even more exciting when you view them through a child’s eyes. If you have special children in your life—such as godchildren or grandchildren—consider doing something to make the day memorable for them. The opportunities are endless. Some examples include: 

  • Making some green St. Patrick’s Day punch
  • Hiding gold coins around the house for them to find
  • Preparing a meal with all green foods
  • Doing shamrock-themed crafts
  • Watching a St. Patrick’s day themed movie 
  • Make green slime
  • Search for four-leaf clovers 
  • Make St. Patrick’s Day cards to give to family members and friends 
  • Dress up in green and get outdoors to walk the dog, go to the park, or ride bikes

Don’t Forget to Plan Your Exit Strategy 

As hard as you may attempt to avoid it, you may find yourself in a social situation on St. Patrick’s Day where someone is consuming alcohol or engaging in drug use. Or perhaps past memories of engaging in substance use on this holiday may lead to triggers. It is essential to plan for these things ahead of time to avoid being caught off guard. In the event that someone offers you a drink at a party, prepare ahead of time how you will respond to them and whether or not it is best for you to simply decline, exit the conversation, or leave the party altogether. 

If you find yourself experiencing urges to engage in substance use on this day, be sure to take the necessary steps to safeguard your sobriety. This may mean setting up an emergency meeting with a substance use counselor, talking to a trusted friend, speaking with a sponsor, or attending an extra 12-Step meeting.  

Remember that just because you are in recovery does not mean that you cannot still enjoy St. Patrick’s Day and indulge in Irish culture and traditions with all your loved ones. 

While St. Patrick’s Day is a holiday designated to celebrate Ireland’s unique culture and heritage, this day has been heavily associated with substance use throughout the years. For those who are in recovery, celebrating at the pub is not an option. This does not mean they cannot still enjoy the holiday in other ways. Prior to St. Patrick’s Day, you may consider rallying your support system. This includes those close to you that respect your recovery journey and can spend the day with you. Some ideas of sober activities for St. Patrick’s Day include cooking an Irish meal, attending a parade, or learning a traditional Irish dance. If this day brings about temptations for you, be sure to reach out to a trusted friend or set up a meeting with a substance use counselor. If you are currently struggling with a substance use disorder, our team at The Kimberly Center can help. Call (855) 452-3683 today to learn more. 

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