Blog The holiday season is often synonymous with joy, festivities, and gatherings with loved ones. However, for those in addiction recovery, the holidays can pose
Tips for Surviving St. Patrick’s Day Without Alcohol
Every year, bars and restaurants serve millions of glasses of beer and pints of Guinness on St. Patrick’s Day. Some establishments even dye their beer green to make things more festive. If you’re trying to stop drinking or attempting to stay sober, the emphasis on alcohol can make it more difficult to enjoy the holiday. Fortunately, there are many ways to celebrate without consuming alcoholic beverages. Follow these tips to survive St. Patrick’s Day without a drop of alcohol.
Focus on Family
Instead of heading to a crowded bar, spend St. Patrick’s Day cooking traditional foods and spending time with your family members or other loved ones. Corned beef, Irish soda bread, shepherd’s pie and cabbage-based dishes make the perfect spread for an alcohol-free St. Patrick’s Day celebration.
While you cook, swap stories with older family members or listen to traditional Irish music. You won’t miss the alcohol, and you may even start a new tradition that you can embrace for years to come.
Attend a Performance
Not everyone spends St. Patrick’s Day drinking. In fact, many performers look forward to the opportunity to show off their step-dancing skills or sing their favorite Celtic tunes.
To abstain from alcohol on the big day, plan ahead. Check your local events calendar for performances featuring Irish music and dance. You may even get a chance to sing along with your favorite performers or show off some steps of your own.
Having trouble finding Irish music or dance events? No worries. Check local theaters to see if anyone is doing a play by an Irish playwright. While you’re watching a play by George Bernard Shaw or Samuel Beckett, you won’t even have time to think about what’s going on at your local bar.
Have an Alcohol-Free Party
Just because you have a party doesn’t mean there has to be alcohol. In fact, your friends may breathe a sigh of relief if you invite them to an alcohol-free party. They won’t have to worry about drinking too much, finding a ride home or getting an upset stomach due to overconsumption.
If you decide to throw a St. Patrick’s Day party, be sure to let invitees know that you don’t want any alcohol on the premises. Anyone who wants to contribute can bring soda, iced tea, lemonade or another non-alcoholic beverage.
To keep your mind off drinking, be careful not to fall into the trap of serving “mocktails.” A mocktail, or a mock cocktail, is supposed to taste similar to its alcoholic counterpart.
If you’re just beginning your recovery, doing things that remind you of your previous drinking habits can trigger a relapse. Mocktails may not have alcohol in them, but they look and taste like alcoholic beverages. Sipping one can take your mind right back to when you were drinking, making it more difficult to maintain your sobriety.
You may want to avoid activities such as billiards and darts, as these games are linked to bars and other places that serve alcohol. Charades and board games are fun alternatives not typically associated with drinking.
Attend a Support Group Meeting
St. Patrick’s Day is one of the most difficult days of the year for people recovering from substance use disorders. If you attend a support group meeting, you may find a room full of people who want to focus on their sobriety rather than participating in activities that could trigger a relapse.
Alcoholics Anonymous is one of the most well-known support groups, but there are several alternatives available if the 12-step approach doesn’t work for you. For example, Secular Organizations for Sobriety helps people recover from addiction without participating in programs that have a religious component.
Attending support group meetings has several benefits. For example, when other people share their stories, you may take away important lessons that you can apply to your own life. Additionally, people who are further along in their recovery may share some of their coping strategies, giving you the tools you need to avoid drinking on St. Patrick’s Day and beyond.
Host a Mini Film Festival
If attending a play isn’t your thing, keep yourself occupied by having a mini film festival at your house. To celebrate St. Patrick’s Day in style, look for films shot in Ireland. Some of the most famous Irish movies include Wild Mountain Thyme, Belfast and The Secret of Kells. If you can’t find any of these films, look for movies featuring the following Irish actors.
- Colin Farrell
- Saoirse Ronan
- Liam Neeson
- Cillian Murphy
- Pierce Brosnan
- Gabriel Byrne
Since most movies last for at least 90 minutes, make sure you have plenty of food on hand for your guests. Popcorn, fresh fruits and vegetables, crackers and pretzels are all good options.
Check Out a Local Parade
Most cities have laws prohibiting people from drinking in public areas. If your city is one of them, attending a parade is a great way to celebrate the occasion without having any alcohol. You get to hear traditional Irish tunes and watch performers sing, dance, march and twirl flags as they traverse the parade route.
Just make sure your viewing location isn’t in front of a bar or pub. You don’t want to be tempted to walk inside and order a drink instead of watching the parade go by.
Focus On Your Sobriety
If you just started your recovery or are struggling, don’t feel pressured to participate in St. Patrick’s Day festivities even if they are alcohol-free. You may benefit from taking the day to focus on your sobriety and remember why you’re so committed to abstaining from alcohol. Has your work suffered due to your drinking habits? Have you been arguing with your loved ones about how much or how often you drink? Maybe you have health problems associated with alcohol consumption.
Staying away from alcohol and skipping events can help you address these problems, making it easier to maintain employment, build positive relationships and enjoy your favorite hobbies. Focusing on these benefits is a great way to spend St. Patrick’s Day and avoid relapse.
If you need someone to talk to on St. Patrick’s Day or any other day of the year, Topsail Addiction Treatment has compassionate staff members available 24 hours per day. Call (978) 475-0002 to get support.
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