St. Patrick’s Day 2018 falls on Saturday, March 17th, bringing a celebration of Irish culture to communities across the country in the form of parades, music and dance performances, food festivals, and gallons upon gallons of alcoholic beverages. In fact, St. Patrick’s Day is the fourth most popular holiday for drinking in the U.S., following behind New Year’s Eve, Christmas, and the 4th of July. Approximately 13 million pints of Guinness will be consumed during the festivities worldwide.
Rather you view St. Patrick’s Day as a culturally significant day of fun and revelry or just another cash grab holiday perpetuated by the industries that profit from it, if you’re in recovery it can be a dangerous, trying day. If you’re struggling to stay sober this St. Patrick’s Day, remember these 7 reasons to stay true to your recovery:
#1. It’s Never Just One Drink.
Alcoholism is a disease waiting for the opportunity to reclaim control of your life. While it is entirely possible to have only one drink as part of the St. Patrick’s Day celebrations, alcoholism ensures it won’t stay that way. Addiction will sneak in, silently influencing your mind to convince you that you are still in control even as you slowly slip back into active alcohol abuse. One drink for St. Patrick’s Day becomes “only on the weekends” then “just a few throughout the week to take the edge off” and further down until you’re fully enthralled once again.
#2. It’s Not Worth Losing Everything You’ve Gained.
Recovery is a daily journey that requires commitment to maintaining your sobriety. Each day that you remain dedicated is a victory- St. Patrick’s Day isn’t worth throwing away all you’ve gained along the way. With the positive coping mechanisms and life skills you gain through comprehensive addiction treatment, you no longer need the crutch of alcohol to enjoy life or get through its challenges. Make yourself proud by waking up clear minded and sober Sunday morning.
#3. Don’t Perpetuate a Stereotype!
While Ireland has a more liberal view of alcohol consumption than the U.S., perpetuating the stereotypical connection between Irish people and over-drinking causes more harm than good. It’s fine to appreciate a culture other than your own or celebrate your heritage; it’s another to over exaggerate a negative trait for an excuse to party and make poor decisions. If you want to spend St. Patrick’s Day taking part in the celebration, do so in a way that honors Ireland’s rich history and culture.
#4. There are More Fun Ways to Celebrate!
St. Patrick’s Day is celebrated with parades, performances, and food all over the country! Get a taste of Ireland with a plate of bangers and mash, or haggis if you’re more adventurous. Support the arts by attending a Irish folk music show or seeing a riverdance performance. There’s more that’s come out of Ireland than Guinness- go learn about it!
#5. Your Pockets will Thank You Later
Did you know Americans spend about $40 on average on St. Patrick’s Day? Considering that not everyone celebrates, the individual costs are likely far more staggering. Alcohol impairs your judgement and ability to reason, so it’s easy to end up spending money meant for paying the bills without thinking twice. Instead of splurging on alcohol, why not put that extra money toward something that last longer than a few drinks ever will? Or save it for a rainy day- your future self will thank you.
#6. The Consequences Could be Life-Altering
Speaking of poor decisions, drinking can affect more than your bank account. DUI charges spike across the country around St. Patrick’s Day, leading to steep fines, court cases, and potential jail time. Worse than that, the decision to drive under the influence could cost you or someone else their life. Even if you have a designated driver or use a services like Uber, other bad choices could completely derail your life, too. With alcohol consumption comes lowered inhibitions and altered moods which could lead to physical altercations or even sexual assault. While sobriety isn’t some magical protection against everything that could go wrong on any given day, having a clear mind improves your ability to make mindful decisions.
#7. It’s a Great Day for Self-Care
If you have an earnest concern that St. Patrick’s Day will be triggering for you, it’s okay to take the day to be with yourself. Self-care is an important aspect on any long-term recovery journey, especially when you’re feeling vulnerable to potential relapse. Use this Saturday to spend time with supportive people in your life, engage in your favorite positive hobbies, or giving back to others. Binge watch your favorite Netflix series, start a book, do something active- you don’t have to focus on St. Patrick’s Day at all if you don’t want to.