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Staying Sober This St. Patrick’s Day

If you’ve struggled with alcohol addiction in the past, it can be challenging to resist temptation at times. 

One of those times might be St. Patrick’s Day. Staying sober is important year-round for those in recovery, but a day where drinking culture is celebrated and heavily participated in can be triggering.

Don’t let this one day set you back on your recovery journey. Here are some ideas for celebrating and getting into the holiday spirit without touching alcohol.

What is St. Patrick’s Day?

In the modern world, St. Patrick’s Day is a celebration of Irish culture that focuses on drinking and indulging in traditional Irish food and drinks.

People often use St. Patrick’s Day as an excuse to get drunk and dress up in a fun green costume. But in ancient times, St. Patrick’s Day was a feast held to honor the life and death of Saint Patrick, the patron saint of Ireland. At its core, St. Patrick’s Day celebrates Irish heritage and culture.

As such, you don’t need to get drunk to celebrate! You can still partake in popular traditions like preparing Irish cuisine, dressing up, and inviting friends over for a sober party.

Try St. Patrick’s Recipes at Home

This St. Patrick’s Day, try to resist the temptation to go out to a bar. No matter what specials or events are happening, no deal is worth the progress you’ve made. Either stay home or go somewhere alcohol won’t be as abundant, such as a sober friend’s house. 

Staying home can be a lot of fun! Instead of paying upwards of $10 for a green-colored drink, you can make your own green-colored food and drinks in the kitchen. 

Desserts are easy to color and extremely yummy! Try making mint chocolate chip cookies, green velvet layered cake, key lime pie, or leprechaun bark!

You can also research some traditional Irish recipes and modify them to create your own versions. Doing so helps you connect with the roots of the holiday while staying on course with your sober journey. 

Make a Non-Alcoholic Mocktail

If non-alcoholic mocktails are not triggering, you could make a few to share with friends on St. Patrick’s Day. 

You can easily find festive versions of non-alcoholic mocktails online and buy the ingredients from a local store. Mocktails can be just as delicious, if not more so, than traditional cocktails, so be sure to stock up! Your friends will be asking for more after their first sip!

Practice Your Distraction Techniques

St. Patrick’s Day is a common day for a relapse. It’s a time of year when everyone is expected to be drinking, and this can be very hard for someone recovering from alcoholism. You might not even be aware you're drinking something with alcohol in it until it’s too late. 

As part of your addiction treatment, you should be equipped with distraction and coping techniques to implement when your triggers and cravings become too much. These strategies can carry you through tough times. Such techniques might include:

  • Doing a crossword puzzle
  • Listening to music or a podcast
  • Playing a sport or exercising
  • Playing video games
  • Spending time in nature
  • Talking to a loved one about something unrelated, like your favorite TV show

Employ these techniques throughout the day, as many times as you need them. Be sure to use them until your initial craving for alcohol has passed, and then give yourself a moment to breathe afterward.

Your day doesn't need to be packed with activities to distract you, but having your headphones or a little puzzle book nearby can be helpful just in case you need them.

Contact Your Support Network

If you’ve gone through any kind of recovery therapy, such as residential treatment or group therapy sessions, reach out to the support network you gained. There is no shame in reaching back out for help.

As a precaution, you could also attend an Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) meeting. If you’ve made friends through these meetings, you might even want to get together with them to celebrate the day safely.

If the pressure to remain sober becomes overwhelming, contact a family member or friend. Tell them what you’re feeling and how close you are to reaching for a drink. Sobriety is no joke, and a person’s willpower should not be overestimated on a day like St. Patrick’s Day. 

For Help With Alcohol Addiction, Contact JHRC

Alcohol addiction can be incredibly nuanced. Everyone’s journey is different. However, those who are doing their best to stay sober often share common triggers. 

One of the most difficult holidays to conquer is St. Patrick’s Day. When all of your friends are at a bar and asking you to join them, it can be challenging to politely decline or plan something healthier for yourself to engage in.

If you find yourself struggling to stay sober around St. Patrick’s Day, contact Jackson House Recovery Centers (JHRC). We can help you to break the cycle of addiction at a time when temptation is high and you feel powerless to resist. Whether you want to schedule a consultation or simply ask a few questions, we are happy to help. 

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