Sober on Saint Patrick’s Day: 5 Tips to Help

Individuals on the road to recovery from substance use disorders (SUDs) may find staying sober on Saint Patrick’s Day challenging. The holiday is widely recognized as a day of drinking and partying for many, leaving those susceptible to relapse with seemingly tough choices. Since GateHouse Treatment is more than aware that the best route to a healthy recovery is one free of triggers, we gathered some tips to help you enjoy the day without feeling pressured or giving in to temptations. Here are some of the best strategies we’ve found for maintaining sobriety during holidays such as Saint Patrick’s Day because holiday sobriety is a must for anyone in recovery.

Why Maintaining Holiday Sobriety Is Pivotal

No matter where someone is in recovery, steering clear of relapse triggers and temptations will always be a priority. However, social pressures and traditions make sobriety significantly harder to manage when holidays such as Christmas, New Year’s Eve, or Saint Patrick’s Day occur yearly. Studies by the CDC have found that December, January, and March are the most dangerous times of the year for drug-and-alcohol-related deaths, with nearly 91,000 deaths reported in December alone since 1999.

While most imagine celebratory substance use to be the leading cause of these upticks in data, several variables that could contribute to relapse during the holidays come into play. One of the leading factors comes from holiday stress, which affected more than 84% of people surveyed by the American Addiction Centers. Many reasons, such as gift-giving, family strife, financial strain, or seasonal depression, can bring on these stressors. For many, the temptation to turn to alcohol and other substances to relieve stress can easily prompt a relapse.

While less seasonal stress is associated with St. Patty’s Day, traditions centered around consumption mean the threat of relapse still exists. As stated, the holiday is celebratory and gives people all the reasons they need to drink heavily without deference. For individuals in recovery, attempting to enjoy any festivities without a desire to join in ALL the revelry seems impossible. But have no fear – there are plenty of ways to enjoy the holiday while sticking to your values.

How to Stay Sober on Saint Patrick’s Day

1. Prepare Yourself Mentally – A well-thought-out plan can go a long way in preparation for risky holidays such as St. Patty’s Day. Before the day arrives, take some time to reflect on your situation and the critical steps you’ve made so far. Focus on the reasons you chose sobriety, your goals for the future, and the confidence you’ve gained. Reinforce these beliefs and be ready to continue them throughout the day. Positive thinking is of the utmost importance when you know there will be temptations in the future.

Once these positive reinforcements are secured, take some time to prepare for logistical things you may experience throughout the day. Are you going to a party where most attendees will drink? It never hurts to have an “out.” Create a backup plan, so you know what to do if things get uncomfortable. Ensure that your priorities remain first, especially when temptation is almost certain to creep your way.

2. Create a New Tradition – Holidays are home to many traditions, and Saint Patrick’s Day is no different. If you wish to socialize safely and healthily, consider teaming up with friends and family for an inaugural event that will carry on for years. Establishing traditions is a fantastic way to spend quality time with those you care about while staying occupied throughout the day. Some exciting ideas to consider include the following:

  • Form a Saint Patrick’s Day Run – Gather some friends together and exercise by going for a run or joining a pre-made event such as a 5k or half marathon. Not only will you feel great and productive, but you may get a laugh out of people dressed as leprechauns or dyed green going for gold.
  • Host a Sober Party – Who says you can’t party without alcohol? A sober party works well to bring close friends and family together without any chance of risk. The best part is you are in control when you host such an event. You can choose who you invite and set your ideal ground rules.
  • Partake in an Annual Dinner – St. Patty’s Day is a great time to check out your local establishments, allowing you to unwind and enjoy fantastic food. With the right crowd, an annual trip to a nice restaurant can be a tradition for decades.
  • Coordinate a Movie Marathon – Relaxing on the couch with close friends? What’s cozier than that? If you wish to skip the craziness accompanying St. Patrick’s Day, get in your comfy clothes and toss on some of your favorite films with popcorn in hand. If you want to take it to another level, you can watch movies that fit the Irish occasion. How about a film like The Untouchables or In the Name of the Father?

3. Find Ways to Avoid All Temptations – No one’s saying you must attend a party or head to a bar on St. Patty’s Day. There are many fun ways to enjoy the day without triggers. Consider looking up local activities free from temptations, such as a book reading from an Irish author, a restaurant showcasing an Irish band, or others in a similar realm.

Always remember this notion on St. Patty’s Day and any other holiday: if you don’t want to go out, don’t! You are not obligated in any way to attend an event, no matter how enticing it may seem. Don’t let fear of missing out (FOMO) drag you down. Feel free to stay home and find something that interests you so that you can enjoy your day as you desire.

4. Reach Out to Your Lines of Support– There is no wrong time to reach out to the people who support you in your daily endeavors toward recovery. St. Patty’s Day can be a great time to contact your sponsor for much-needed support and advice if you feel particularly vulnerable. You can also attend an AA meeting to participate in festivities in a safe and comforting environment. If you feel inclined, visit a close friend or family who can help reinforce your values. Never feel like you may burden another by seeking help when needed.

5. Seek Professional Intervention– There is no denying the challenging nature of resisting urges and temptations on holidays like St. Patty’s Day. If you feel like you may succumb to relapse, or unfortunately do so, don’t hesitate to find the help you need. Relapses frequently happen in the recovery process, but it’s crucial to acknowledge these circumstances and promptly get back on track. If you believe interventional help is required, such as a detox program or a re-structured treatment plan, don’t wait. The advantage of resources provided by GateHouse Treatment is the ease of accessibility. We are available 24 hours a day, seven days a week, for anyone who needs to reach out for help.

GateHouse Treatment is Here to Support Your Recovery Journey

Don’t let holidays give you unnecessary stress. Remember to make holiday sobriety your #1 priority on St. Patrick’s Day. If you need any help along the way, GateHouse Treatment has you covered. We offer various intervention services, such as partial hospitalization, outpatient programs, medication-assisted treatment, and others, to provide a healthy and sustainable recovery.

For more information regarding our treatment options or services, call us at (855) 448-3707 or visit our website.

Corey Rando

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