Saint Patrick’s Day is traditionally celebrated with plenty of food and drinks, however, for recovering alcoholics, this holiday can be particularly difficult. Being surrounded by people who are drinking and in a festive atmosphere can be a challenge to navigate, but it is possible to make the most of the day while maintaining sobriety.
Recovering Alcoholics Need to Plan Ahead
If you know that Saint Patrick’s Day will be an especially tricky day for you, it is important to plan ahead. Make sure that you have an activity or two lined up for the day that does not involve drinking or being around other people who are drinking. Consider what activities or events you may attend that involve alcohol and decide if they are worth your energy and emotional investment. If there’s an event that feels too risky, don’t go! Whether you go out for dinner with friends or family members who do not drink or plan on seeing a movie in the evening, having a plan can help keep your focus off of alcohol.
Alcoholics Anonymous meetings are always available, and it may be helpful to attend one on Saint Patrick’s Day. This will provide the opportunity to connect with others who understand your struggles and offer support when things get tough. It can also help put things into perspective and remind you why sobriety is so important to maintain.
Avoid High-Risk Situations
It may be tempting to go out and participate in all the festivities, but this could easily lead to trouble if not managed correctly. Avoiding high-risk situations such as bars or parties where there will likely be lots of drinking going on can help ensure that your sobriety remains intact throughout the day. If possible, try to stick with friends and family members who also don’t drink so that you won’t feel tempted by those around you.
Take Care of Yourself
Feeling emotionally drained or overwhelmed? Make sure that you take care of yourself first and foremost by engaging in self-care activities like getting plenty of rest, eating healthy meals, exercising regularly, listening to music, meditating, writing in a journal, and so on. These activities will not only help you stay focused on your recovery goals but also could help reduce stress levels during this potentially difficult time of year.
Have an Accountability Partner
Having someone who understands your journey and knows not to offer you any alcohol can be invaluable when going out into a social setting where there will be drinking happening around you. This partner can also provide moral support if things get too overwhelming and help keep you focused on achieving your sobriety goals.
Have an Exit Plan
If you do attend a celebration where drinking is occurring and the environment starts feeling too overwhelming, have a plan for getting out quickly without drawing attention to yourself or creating awkwardness among your friends or family members who may still be drinking. This could involve having a designated driver ready or having access to transportation such as Uber or Lyft that allows you to leave without anyone being aware that you are leaving due to wanting to avoid alcohol consumption.
Know When Enough is Enough
If at any point during these festivities, either mentally or physically, you start feeling like things have gotten out of control and/or uncomfortable then it might be time for some self-care and reflection. By walking away from whatever activity is causing these feelings, you will be able to prevent any unwanted relapse from occurring due to emotional stress brought upon by external pressures associated with Saint Patrick’s Day celebrations which could lead back down into addiction territory again.
Connect with Your Support System
It is important to connect with your support system before, during, and after Saint Patrick's Day. Ask a trusted friend or family member if they can be available in case you need someone to talk to or just need someone to spend time with so that you don't feel alone in your struggle. Knowing that someone has your back can be invaluable during times like these when temptation can be great.
Take Care of Yourself Physically
Taking care of your physical health is essential for maintaining sobriety year-round but especially on days like Saint Patrick’s Day. Make sure to get plenty of sleep and eat healthy food because both will help keep your body strong and energized throughout the day. Exercise also releases endorphins which can lift your mood naturally without having to rely on alcohol or other drugs as a crutch.
Recovering Alcoholics Should Celebrate Soberly
Celebrating soberly doesn't mean sacrificing fun entirely! Find creative ways to celebrate without relying on drinking; perhaps going out for ice cream instead of meeting friends at a bar, planning an outdoor adventure rather than going out clubbing, watching movies all night instead of attending a party, etc. Whatever activity it may be just remember that it doesn't have to involve alcohol or other substances in order for it still be enjoyable!
Surviving Saint Patrick's Day as a recovering alcoholic requires preparation and discipline but it is possible! Having an actionable plan in place before the day arrives can help make navigating these tricky waters easier while staying connected with support systems such as Alcoholics Anonymous provides invaluable resources when things become difficult. With proper planning and guidance, any recovering alcoholic should be able to get through this holiday successfully!
Soberman's Estate is a residential men's addiction treatment center that provides discreet, individualized, sophisticated recovery and wellness services for adult men that want to recover from substance use disorders, and or other behavioral issues such as trauma, anxiety, depression, stress, or other addictions.