When we think of St. Patrick’s Day, many of us think about a green beer drinking fest. But, in fact, St. Patrick’s Day was once a religious holiday that celebrated the patron saint of Ireland. The Irish went to church and celebrated their culture; traditionally, pubs were closed on that day.
Unfortunately, March 17 has now become one of the biggest drinking days of the year, when binge drinking (sucking down 4 to 5 drinks in a row in roughly two hours) is celebrated and even encouraged. Many bars host parties from morning till night.
For those of us in recovery, St. Patrick’s Day feels anything but lucky. In fact, it can be an extremely challenging holiday and downright dangerous if you don’t steer clear of the alcohol-laden festivities.
Binge Drinking: What’s the Harm?
Even if you’re not in recovery, downing pints of green beer or doing shot after shot of Irish whiskey is beyond unhealthy. In fact, this type of heavy drinking damages your brain, especially if you’re younger than age 25. This is how old you are when your brain stops developing and growing. Binge drinking can impact the frontal cortex of the brain, an area involved with judgment, thinking, memory and feeling. It can also lead to alcohol poisoning and increase your chances of developing an alcohol use disorder later in life.
5 Ways to Have Sober Fun on St. Patty’s Day
You can still have Irish pride (especially if you’re one of the 33.3 million Americans who claim Irish ancestry) without jeopardizing your health or your recovery. There are plenty of shenanigan-free ways to celebrate! Here are a few to consider:
- Go green. Encourage your loved ones and sober peers to get dressed up in different shades of green – from head to toe!
- Do a St. Paddy’s run. If your local area doesn’t host a walk or run on St. Patrick’s Day, organize your own. Gather a few sober buddies and recovery peers and get moving.
- Guzzle some green juice. Gather some friends and try different green juices or smoothies to toast the holiday in a healthy way. Or, work together to create your own shamrock shake with healthful ingredients like almond milk, fresh mint, avocado, banana, spinach and vanilla.
- Get cooking. Organize a potluck and ask everyone to bring some traditional Irish fare, including corned beef and cabbage, Irish soda bread, Irish stew, potato soup and potato cakes. Or just turn some of the foods you eat every day green – for example, green eggs and ham, green hummus (just add basil), avocado toast or pasta with pesto sauce.
- Read an Irish legend. Wind down with a few Irish myths and legends. Gather some recovery peers and take turns reading the stories that have been passed down from generation to generation.
Celebrating Life Without Alcohol
At Spearhead Lodge, we strive to give our clients the life skills and spiritual practices necessary to enjoy a life free from drugs and alcohol. To learn more about the many ways recovery can benefit you or someone you love, call us today: 866-905-4550.