7 Ways to Celebrate a Sober St. Patrick’s Day
To most people, St. Patrick’s Day is regarded as a time to embrace the spirit of the Irish, celebrate wildly, and of course, drink lots of Irish whiskey and green beer. The last part is especially true in the secular sense of the holiday, and many people, who likely are not even Irish, get excited for the day just for the excuse to get drunk. For a recovering alcoholic or anyone else who wishes to stay sober, this is a holiday that can feel filled with frustration, fear, and temptation.
Contrary to popular belief, there is more to St. Patrick’s Day than heavy drinking and wild partying, especially if you want to celebrate it in a way that is true to its heritage. As the season of green is fast approaching, the luck of the Irish can be with everyone, regardless of whether you drink or not. Pull out your four-leaf clover decorations and embrace the day with these 7 ways to celebrate without drinking a drop of alcohol.
1. Attend a Parade
Cities across the country celebrate St. Patrick’s Day by hosting parades. These are an excellent way to get into the spirit of the holiday and are not built around drinking in any way. Indeed, heavy drinking might even get a person sent away from the parade by police, denying them the opportunity to enjoy it.
Watching a parade is an excellent excuse for you to spend time with friends and family during the day, and parades provide entertainment for all ages. Kids will enjoy chasing free candy and other goodies tossed into the crowd, meanwhile adults can sit back and relax as they behold a colorful collection of floats and musical acts.
2. Cook a Traditional Irish Meal
Food brings people together and is an excellent way to celebrate a cultural holiday like St. Patrick’s Day. Instead of going out to the bar or a restaurant, put on your chef’s hat and pick out a recipe for Irish stew, boxty, coddle, or barmbrack. If you are unfamiliar with these iconic dishes, that makes the adventure even more exciting since you will have much to discover. Who knows, Irish cooking brings its own unique flair to the table and you might just find your new favorite dish.
3. Listen to Irish Music
Traditional Irish songs are lively and exciting, the type of music that practically demands that you stand up and dance along or at least tap your foot to the beat. Listening to them is an excellent way to get into the spirit of the holiday by channeling your inner Irishman or woman.
Finding Irish music is an easy task, particularly as the holiday approaches. Streaming services like Spotify and Pandora build playlists each year, and YouTube is an excellent free source for videos and performances. If you live in an area with a decently sized population of Irish immigrants and descendants, there may even be a group performing live music that you can see.
4. Learn an Irish Dance
Ireland is known for developing an iconic style of dancing called Irish step dancing, which is composed of jigs, reels, and other elaborate footwork often while wearing intricate and colorful costumes. You can find demonstrations online or at local events on St. Patrick’s Day. These dances are fast paced and exciting to watch, regardless of a person’s age or music tastes. If you are feeling especially bold, you might even take the day to try and learn one of the dances for yourself.
5. Celebrate with Irish-Themed Foods or Drinks
Perhaps the most iconic of these is the McDonald’s Shamrock Shake, but it is by no means the only option. Countless restaurants offer their own special Irish twists to the menu, which can be anything from a true traditional dish to merely coloring one of their popular menu items green. If you have an itch to unleash your inner cook and create an adventure in the process, consider looking up a recipe for a holiday themed treat that you can make yourself.
6. Go for a Run
If running is a hobby of yours or finishing a race is a bucket list goal, St. Patrick’s Day is an excellent opportunity to join a 5K race. These races are hosted all around the country on St. Patrick’s Day and are not your average competition. Instead, many participants choose to spice up the day with a dash of Irish flair. Runners frequently choose to dress as leprechauns, dye themselves green, or carry a pot of “gold” (usually candy to toss to the crowd) with them.
In the event that you do not want to run, it is still plenty of fun to cheer on the participants from the sidelines. Many people even make a day of it by bringing their lawn chairs and favorite foods as they gather with friends.
7. Spend Time with Sober Friends
What matters most about a holiday is that it brings together friends and family for an enjoyable time. You can spend St. Patrick’s Day doing whatever activity you want without having to drink. The fun of the day does not come from alcohol, but from the company you choose to share it with.
Always Be Prepared
If you are newly sober or find yourself struggling on a holiday like St. Patrick’s Day, it is always important to have a plan in place to help get you through the day. While the activities we discussed are sure to keep the day exciting, protecting your sobriety is most important. To help stay on track in your recovery efforts, remember the basics:
- Get to a recovery meeting | No matter where you are, whether it be close to home or traveling, you can always find a meeting nearby.
- Call your sponsor or other support group | If you are having a tough day, do not hesitate to reach out to those that have helped you thus far. After all, that’s what they are there for.
- Spend time with sober friends | All of the activities we discussed today can be enjoyed with other sober people you have met along the way. More than likely, they are hoping to find something to do that doesn’t involve drinking as well.
- Set boundaries | If you do find yourself at a party where alcohol is present, bring someone with you as a means of support. Before going, have an exit plan in place if things get too overwhelming.
Get Help Today for Alcoholism and Addiction
If you or someone you love is struggling with substance abuse, do not wait any longer to receive help. At Brookdale Premier Addiction Recovery, we can provide you or your loved one with the necessary tools to begin the healing process and discover a life…recovered.