With St. Patrick’s Day approaching and the next day marking the start of March Madness, this can be a heavy drinking time. In a survey of over 1,000 Americans’ drinking habits per holiday, St. Patrick’s Day was third for most drinks consumed. Only Mardi Gras and New Year’s Eve came before it.
This year will likely look different due to COVID-19. But even if you’re celebrating quietly, it’s helpful to plan ways to prioritize your sobriety.
Make Sure You Have a (Non-Alcoholic) Drink, Too
A simple thing that has helped me at events throughout my sobriety is making sure to have a drink on hand. If you want to get festive on St. Patrick’s Day, you could make that drink green (lime juice, green tea, green Gatorade, even just adding food coloring to a seltzer). The important thing is having something to hold when everyone else has a cup in their hand.
Shift Your Attention
If the focus is on drinking at your gathering, try to find distractions. You could help with set up and clean-up. This often takes a fair amount of time and energy and helps the party run smoothly—a win-win for everyone. You might also suggest an activity like board games or online trivia, so that there’s more for you to do than watch people drink.
Lean On Your Support System
When you’re worried about your ability to stay sober, your support system is extra important. Reach out to a supportive person (or people) in your life beforehand to let them know you might be needing extra care that day. Ask if they can be “on call,” which simply means that if you are struggling, they will pick up the phone.
Know When You Need to Leave
Recovery is your priority, so if you don’t think you can stay sober at this event, it’s okay to leave. Even if you are just celebrating with your household, leaving could look like retreating to your room.
Once away from the event, you can focus on self-care—meditate, journal, call a friend. This doesn’t mean you can’t try again next year or next holiday; it just means that you prioritized your recovery over this particular party. It can be disappointing to feel like you’re missing out, but find strength in the knowledge that you took care of yourself and stayed sober.
If you are struggling with a substance use or mental health disorder, there is help and hope. Amatus Recovery Centers offers high-quality treatment for addiction and mental health disorders in facilities across the country. Our staff—many of whom are in recovery themselves—will help you learn to cope with challenges without using drugs or alcohol. Call an admissions specialist at 410-593-0005.