Some holidays are more difficult than others for recovering alcoholics; St.Patrick’s day is often one of those holidays. It was once celebrated as a day to honor the Patron Saint of Ireland, it has evolved into an “all you can drink” party that has little to do with Ireland or St.Patrick at all.

In most American cities the holiday takes over and the parties spill out of the bars and into the streets. Chicago Taxi drivers now charge a hefty fee for anyone that  throws up in the cab, this is not an unlikely occurrence on St. Patrick's Day. There are green shamrocks as far as the eye can see and the sounds of bagpipes blow long into the night. Starting early in the morning and going strong into night, St.Patrick's Day is a holiday centered and focused on one thing; the consumption of alcohol.

Where are the recovering alcoholics during this time? Many recovering alcoholics despise this day for the obvious reasons. It is one of the few days out of the year they can have a hard time trying to avoid this type of behavior. While it can be difficult to maintain a positive outlook on this day, impossible it is not. There is no reason a recovering alcoholic should feel worried, scared or intimidated on this day. Here are some helpful tips to stay sober and enjoy your St. Patrick's Day:

  • First and foremost, you don’t have to surround yourself with the mayhem. Plan accordingly ahead of time to leave the hotspots during this time. If you live in an area of your city that is a hotbed for bars, plan a day trip outside of that area and return once the festivities die down. In most cities spring is just starting to blossom. Celebrate by going to a forest preserve or nature sanctuary far secluded from any bars or parties.
  • If leaving isn't an option for you, try to avoid the crowds as much as possible. This means staying in and enjoying time at home. Plan ahead by getting all your grocery shopping done and making sure you have no reason to travel through the seas of people.  You can celebrate by making a traditional corned beef and cabbage dinner and watching The Commitments.
  • Find a sober St.Patricks day party. Keep an eye peeled for sober activities at meetings and clubs in the weeks leading up to the holiday. If you’re willing to venture through your city this is a great option for any recovering alcoholics. Most Alano clubs or AA groups have sober gatherings on holidays, and there is no better way to keep from drinking or being triggered than surrounding yourself with other sober friends.
  • Stay busy. Make a list of things you need to do and knock it out while everyone else is wasting time. By staying busy and proactive you will not only be taking your mind off of the drinking. You will be congratulating yourself and patting yourself on the back over what you’re getting done on a day most people don't remember. Make a list of ten things you want to accomplish and stay busy.
  • Keep on living your life like it’s any other day. Not all recovering alcoholics are triggered or feel uncomfortable around drinking or partying, and not all of us feel the need to change our way of living over other people just because we are sober. If this is the case, do what you would do any other day to stay sober and be grateful you no longer need to live that way.

New Hope Recovery Center is a substance abuse and addiction treatment facility located in Chicago, IL. If you know someone who needs professional help with addiction, please call for more information 1-888-707-4673.

Want more information about how to handle holidays when you are sober? Check out our Journal for related articles or see below: 
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