Tips for St. Patrick’s Day Sobriety

On March 8, 2024 by Marie Garceau

The green time of year is upon us again where everyone seems to become a little bit Irish. While it has moved far from its traditional customs, St. Patrick’s Day continues to grow in popularity, taking on new appropriations in a global context.

One thing that never changes is the excessive amount of food, drink, and lively celebration. Whether at a pub, bar, restaurant, club, or community, a St. Patrick’s Day celebration is likely nearby.

The excessive consumption of food and alcohol can be traced back to Catholics taking a day off from Lent to take a break from their fasting. To this day, copious amounts of alcohol are consumed. Suppose you are sober, new to sobriety, or overcoming alcoholism; being around excessive drinking can be challenging.

Fortunately, there are practical tips you can use to maintain your sobriety on St. Patrick’s Day and reap the individual and societal benefits of being sober.

Initially, choosing sobriety on this day has a significant societal benefit. You’re removing all chances of driving while impaired. Unfortunately, there is a greater risk on St. Patrick’s Day because of excessive drinking.

In 2020, in Merced County, there were close to 250 DUI arrests, and 61 people lost their lives in an alcohol-related traffic collision. Locally, in Los Banos, there were 75 DUI arrests that year and 20 people lost their lives because of alcohol-related traffic collisions, according to the California Office of Traffic Safety.

You can still have a good time and be sober on St. Patrick’s Day. Consider enjoying the experience without alcohol, and don’t risk your sobriety. Some of the following pointers may help.

Remind yourself why you are sober, and don’t do it alone. You can still have fun and celebrate but do it with other sober people. Everyone has their reasons why they stopped drinking; remind yourself of those reasons and hold yourself accountable. 

Know your triggers; it doesn’t matter if you are a recovering addict or have removed alcohol from your life. Be cautious around possible triggers that pose a challenge. Most people in this situation choose to skip the bar and find something fun to do or go to a sober celebration.

Keep a non-alcoholic drink or mocktail in your hand. People will not bother you to ask if you want a drink if you already have something to sip on, like a mocktail. This also leads to planning how to say no. You will encounter social pressure if you go to a bar on St. Patrick’s Day. It’s unavoidable. It’s wise to practice ways to refuse alcohol.

Finally, if all else fails, take a walk outside if you feel overwhelmed. The most straightforward solutions are usually the best. Remove yourself from any situation you know will lead to relapse. This is also why it’s essential to be with a sober friend or loved one; there is accountability and someone to lean on.

Marie Garceau has been working in the field of substance use and addiction recovery for over a decade. She works at DRS and primarily focuses on reaching out to the community and spreading awareness.

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