Sober St. Patty’s Day

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It’s March, and it’s action-packed: Women’s History Month, Disability Awareness Month—National Reading Month! It’s also the month of a famous holiday filled with pride (and drinking): St. Patrick’s Day.

The nature of this Irish American holiday is clear to everyone who knows about it. On St. Patty’s Day, it’s a given that alcohol will take center stage. If you’re in recovery from alcohol addiction, the month of March may be triggering or—at the very least—tricky to plan around. Read on to learn more about managing your sobriety during St. Patrick’s Day, along with the holiday’s potentially helpful history and the true meaning of celebrating Irish culture, freedom, and independence.

Why is St. Patty’s Day So Centered on Alcohol?

The reason that things like green beer and many other St. Patty’s-inspired alcoholic beverages are consumed in excess is because the holiday falls on Lent, a period of time in the Catholic tradition that requires abstinence from what the Church considered as often over-indulged pleasures. While the holiday was solidifying, people started viewing St. Patrick’s Day as a day of rest from Lent demands, specifically abstinence from substances and other pleasurable activities.

However, St. Patrick’s Day origins actually have nothing to do with alcohol, celebrating a day-off from your typical duties, or even letting off steam. It was created for religious purposes, to honor Saint Patricius (Latin for father figure) after he became a priest, and the Catholic Church mandated that all businesses–even bars and pubs–be shut down for the celebration as a sign of respect to him and the priestly tradition.

The holiday took on a deeper meaning around the late 1790s, when the Irish Rebellion against British rule took place in Ireland. As Britain associated itself with the color blue, Irish rebels began donning green while fighting against the crown, and the color was later transferred to St. Patty celebratory garb.

While the Irish didn’t defeat the British in the Rebellion, they still created a significant break from past tradition and British political power—promoting Irish independence, autonomy, and pride. Therefore, St. Patrick’s Day isn’t really about debauchery or letting loose; it’s about being independent and in control of your own life. If you look great in green, all the better.

So, what better way to celebrate St. Patty’s Day than by choosing to exercise independence and control over your life? And what better way to have control over your life than by committing to sobriety? Substances, in this analogy, are like the British Empire, moving in and usurping your brain chemistry so that it becomes very difficult to make choices that support your health and happiness.

How to Maintain Sobriety During St. Patrick’s Day Celebrations

While the following tips don’t just apply to St. Patty’s Day, use them to stay in control and independent on Friday, March 17th.

  • Avoid Plans Directly Involving Drinking
    It may seem obvious, but attending huge beer fests, big parades, or pub and bar events on St. Patrick’s Day is going to be extremely stressful for anyone who’s focused on a sober goal. Instead, schedule a date with sober friends in an alcohol-free location.
  • Lean on The Network
    If you completed the recovery program at St. Gregory’s, you have the amazing opportunity to build a community during group, family, and outpatient therapy. Call your sober friends, fellow alumni, or your counselor. Support, conversation, and a few laughs can help you stay on track this month.
  • Not all Chill Pills Are Actually Pills
    Take a chill pill during St. Patty’s Day: spa time, yoga time, meditation time, a simple coffee date, or a relaxing gathering at yours or another sober friend’s house is the perfect medicine for St. Patty’s Day nostalgia. There’s no need to hide yourself away from the world (unless some alone time is just what you’re craving).

Contact St. Gregory’s Recovery Center This St. Patrick’s Day

Entering treatment for substance use disorder never detracts from your ability to celebrate your independence—or that of Ireland’s for that matter. Contact our Iowa facility today to learn more about maintaining your sobriety during triggering times.

Researching Iowa addiction specialists? To learn more about programs offered at St. Gregory Recovery Center, call and speak with someone today, at (888) 778-5833.

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