Ensure a Sober St. Patrick’s Day
St. Patrick’s Day is right around the corner. Although the day’s origins are based in a celebration of all things Irish, in the U.S. it has become synonymous with drinking and partying. For someone in recovery living in Massachusetts – one of only two places in the world where it’s recognized as a legal holiday (Suffolk County, Massachusetts and Savannah, Georgia) – it’s gravity is inescapable. The cultural onslaught is unavoidable. Everywhere you look it’s green beer this, Irish whiskey that, Irish car bombs, even T-shirts espousing the “Drink me I’m, Irish” culture. As someone trying to live a sober lifestyle, you may want to hide away for the day. But there is good news: The holiday isn’t about drinking, and you can “show your Irish” without a Guinness pour. Here are some tips to enjoying St. Patrick’s Day when living in recovery:
- Spend it With People You Trust
O.K. So this first one is good advice all the time. It’s a critical element to pretty much every 12-step group or recovery program. But for St. Patrick’s Day the importance of finding support for yourself and helping support other addicts gets notched up a few levels. There is strength in numbers, so you feel less awkward if you’re not the only one staying sober. Plus, you get to be support for someone else, (even if it’s just by being together).
The environment you spend it in depends on your own level of comfort. Maybe you’re not ready yet to hang out in a local bar – even if you are with a bunch of sober friends. If so, be prepared to turn down invites to those things you know will make you uncomfortable or put you in a situation where you may make an impulsive decision that puts your recovery at risk.Maybe some of the suggestions below will provide good alternatives in those cases…
- Flip It To the Sober Side
Part of successfully living in recovery is maintaining your health and keeping good-natured (most say they’re intertwined).So, if the world is going to push booze on St. Patrick’s Day, give it right back to them with a little humor. Be creative about the healthy and sober ways to show your Irish Pride. Here’s a link to a “Kiss Me I’m Sober” Irish T-shirt. Or, How about a Sober St. Patrick’s Day mug when you drink your coffee?
- Support Your Recovery and Others’ with a Sober Irish Celebration
Have your own drug and alcohol-free St. Patrick’s Day celebration! This can be at home, or if you don’t live in a place where that’s possible there are places that support sober living, like 24 South, where you can rent an alcohol-free hall to throw your own bash.
Invite your sober friends and family. Be sure to stress that there will be no alcohol served. Make some Irish food, plan some games, hire a DJ or a live band! It’s Massachusetts so the weather probably won’t cooperate, but if it does you can even go to the local park, have a cookout, get a green kickball or Frisbee!
- Patronize Establishments that Support Sober and Drug-Free living
St. Patrick’s Day isn’t about drinking. It’s about celebrating all things Irish. Plenty of groups, and some other social establishments get it and provide sober celebrations of St. Patrick’s Day. Check with your local support group for activities near you like this one:
Drug and alcohol-free dance party twice a month, special weekend event March 16 and 17th 2018. Donation Sliding Scale, $10-15.
St. John’s Episcopal Church, 74 Pleasant St. Arlington, MA
About 30 minutes from Lowell, MA
About 13 minutes from Medford, MA
About 20 Minutes from East Boston, MA
About 20 minutes from Sommerville, MA
- Go to a Support Group Meeting
Even if your local support group doesn’t throw a sober party for St. Patrick’s Day, it is important to attend a meeting to bolster your commitment to sobriety — and support others in theirs. If you cannot get to a meeting for some reason, be sure to get some support from sponsors, sober friends, family, or sober housemates.
- Plan an Easy Exit From Problematic Situations
Despite all your efforts, you can sometimes find yourself in a situation that devolves into something that makes you uncomfortable or puts your recovery at risk. If so, remove yourself from the situation. Be prepared with an exit plan. If you’re in a situation where you can just leave, do so. If you’re in a situation where you need to give an explanation, have one prepared. You may be at a point where you are comfortable saying you are in recovery or you’re an addict. Or you may be in a situation where you’re not comfortable with that. If so, plan a little bit ahead with an excuse why you may have to leave early. Planning ahead will take the pressure off the moment and let you escape an uncomfortable situation. The goal is to create a safe space around you for your recovery.
So, go, have a fun, safe, and sober St. Patrick’s Day, without the Shannanigans and Malarky, but with the luck o’ the Irish!