When you’re in recovery there a few holidays that pop up every year that make it difficult to go out and remain sober. New Years, the Fourth of July—these are the types of holidays where everyone in the country drinks, parties, and basically crams all the alcohol we used to drink in a week into a single evening. And this upcoming Tuesday March 17th is the granddaddy of all drunken holidays: St. Patrick’s Day. What may have started as a celebration of the spread of Christianity in Ireland has turned into a night of bar hopping, booze, and annoying people who take that rule about pinching people who don’t wear green way too seriously. Ironic, since Christianity apparently espouses a little thing called temperance. Every year the bars are packed with normies guzzling green beer and whiskey. This year, the city of Chicago is even performing their annual celebration of dyeing the Chicago River green.
All of this celebration may be great for the rest of the world, but for people who are working a program of recovery from drugs and alcohol it can be a difficult and even dangerous night to try and go out. So we’ve put together a quick list of tips to help you stay sober and have fun while still celebrating all things Irish.
- Go out with friends you trust
This is probably a good idea for anyone, sober or otherwise. But for people in recovery it’s especially important. The foundation of any 12-step program is finding support and helping other alcoholics. So find a group of friends who are also sober and you can all go out together. You’ll feel less awkward if you’re not the only one staying sober and who knows, maybe someone else in your group will need just as much help as you staying away from temptation.
- Agree to be a designated driver
If you are going out with people who drink, try and pick a bar that requires you to drive. Agreeing ahead of time to be a designated driver not only gives you a good excuse if people ask why you aren’t drinking, it also gives you a concrete reminder that others will be affected if you decide to go for that first drink.
- Try doing something else that’s Irish
After all, St. Patrick’s day isn’t just about drinking. It’s about celebrating all things Irish, so go out and try something new. There’s Irish music and dancing and there’s also a whole world of Irish cuisine to try. Sure most of them involve potatoes or fatty meats, but you can just tell people you’re carbo loading.
- Always have an out
One key to staying sober is being able to identify situations that put you at risk and leaving when you feel uncomfortable. So it doesn’t matter what your reason is, but if you do find yourself in an awkwardly tempting situation and you feel like you might take a drink, come up with a reason to leave. There’s probably a chair in a meeting that’s just waiting for you to come and fill it.
- Find a sober St. Patrick’s Day party
Whenever these sorts of drinking holidays come around, most major cities host a sober party for the recovery community in the area. They’re easy enough to find online and usually a much safer way to have fun on St. Patty’s day while staying sober. Plus there’s bonus: if you go to a sober party there’s very little chance that someone will puke on your shoes. Can the same be said at some bar? We think not.
- Don’t go out
This is kind of the most obvious way to stay sober and safe on St. Patrick’s day so we decided to save it for last. While it may not sound exciting there are plenty of ways to still have fun. Invite over some friends, binge watch some Netflix, and remember this year, St. Patty’s is on a Tuesday and when all your coworkers are hungover at work you’ll be the one handing out aspirin.