Sober St. Patrick’s Day | 7 Tips For Managing Alcohol Recovery

Manish Mishra, MBBS

Medically Reviewed By: Manish Mishra, MBBS

on March 17, 2023

Many Ohio residents celebrate St. Patrick’s Day by drinking a lot of alcohol. That’s why the holiday can be stressful when you’re recovering from alcohol use disorder. Luckily, there are many ways to enjoy the day while sober, from cooking Irish food to hosting alcohol-free parties and running St. Patrick’s Day-themed marathons.

Every year, St. Patrick’s Day celebrates Irish culture and the legacy of St. Patrick, patron saint of Ireland. Many people observe the holiday by binge drinking. 

If you’re recovering from alcohol use disorder, you might think you need to skip St. Patrick’s Day altogether. However, there are many ways to commemorate the day while staying sober. Here are seven.

1. Spend Time With Sober Friends

With its extreme emphasis on alcohol, St. Patrick’s Day might leave you feeling isolated and bored. Boredom is one of the most common causes of relapse. That’s why you should reach out to sober friends. 

Whether you go out to celebrate or just relax at home, these friends will help you have fun without sacrificing your sobriety. 

If your sober friends are busy, attend a recovery support group, such as Alcoholics Anonymous. There, you can connect with other people trying to make it through the day without alcohol. 

2. Prepare For Triggers

For most people in recovery, St. Patrick’s Day brings numerous triggers. A trigger is anything that reminds you of alcohol and makes you want to drink. For example, you might get triggered if you see people drinking at a St. Patrick’s Day event or on social media. 

You can’t avoid all triggers. However, you can prepare for them by making a list of helpful coping strategies. Some of the most popular strategies include:

  • deep breathing
  • meditating
  • listing the reasons you gave up alcohol 
  • journaling
  • exercising
  • spending time in nature
  • reaching out to supportive loved ones 

3. Eat Irish Food

One of the best ways to celebrate Irish culture sans alcohol is to eat traditional Irish food. Many restaurants honor St. Patrick’s Day by serving Irish dishes. Also, if you’re feeling adventurous, you could try cooking an Irish meal yourself. Some of the most popular Irish dishes include:

  • Irish stew, which typically consists of potatoes, carrots, and lamb or beef
  • barmbrack, a fruit bread originally associated with Halloween
  • boxty, a potato pancake
  • coddle, a potato and sausage stew

To make the cooking experience more fun and festive, ask a sober friend or two for help.

4. Learn An Irish Dance

Dance plays an important role in Irish culture. The most popular type of Irish dance is Irish step dance. Performed solo or in groups, it involves keeping your upper body stiff while moving your feet quickly and intricately. 

This year, connect with Irish culture by following a step dance tutorial. Along with taking your mind off alcohol, dance boosts your physical and mental health. The healthier you are, the less likely you are to relapse. 

If you’re not ready to try the steps yourself, just enjoy watching some online performances. You could also attend an in-person performance or competition, which many towns hold around St. Patrick’s Day. 

5. Host A Sober St. Patrick’s Day Party

If you’re worried you won’t find any alcohol-free events on St. Patrick’s Day, try hosting one yourself. 

Make an Irish music playlist, decorate with green shamrocks, cook Irish food, and serve non-alcoholic drinks. While you could offer standard drinks like soda and juice, your guests may also enjoy festive options such as green milkshakes, green mocktails, or lemon-lime punch.

Make sure all your guests know the party is alcohol-free. Your sober friends will appreciate the opportunity to celebrate Irish heritage without fearing a relapse. 

6. Attend A St. Patrick’s Day Parade

Many cities and towns in Ohio host St. Patrick’s Day parades. These family-friendly events let you soak up Irish culture without feeling pressured to drink. Bring some sober friends and enjoy Irish-themed music, floats, and marching bands. 

Some people at these parades may drink. If you get triggered by the sight or smell of alcohol, leave the event immediately. If you’re early in your recovery, you may want to skip in-person parades and watch them online instead. 

7. Join A St. Patrick’s Day Marathon

Check if your town is hosting any St. Patrick’s Day marathons. 

These festive events allow you to strengthen your health instead of damaging it with alcohol. If you haven’t run in a while, consider walking the marathon or cheering from the sidelines. If you push yourself too hard, you may increase your risk of relapse. 

Also, keep in mind that some people celebrate the end of a marathon with alcohol. That’s why you should bring a sober friend and leave right away if you get triggered. 

If you or someone you love struggles with alcohol, please reach out to Ohio Recovery Center. Our board-certified healthcare providers offer a variety of substance abuse and addiction treatment options to help you or your loved one stay sober.

  1. National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism — Handling urges to drink
  2. National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism — Understanding Alcohol Use Disorder
  3. National Library of Medicine: MedlinePlus — Alcohol Use Disorder (AUD)

Written by Ohio Recovery Center Editorial Team

© 2024 Ohio Recovery Center | All Rights Reserved

* This page does not provide medical advice.

Prefer Texting?
We've got you covered.

Receive 24/7 text support right away.
There is no obligation and you can opt out at any time.

Sign up for text support

Receive 24/7 text support right away.
There is no obligation and you can opt out at any time.
Let us walk you through the treatment process. We're here to help.
For 24/7 Treatment Help:
100% Free & Confidential. Call (419) 904-4158