For those who can’t drink: Sobriety tips for St. Patrick’s Day

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Achieving sobriety is different for each person. Many individuals have overcome drug or alcohol addiction, while others have made personal life choices to abstain from alcohol or drugs. Maintaining this sobriety can also be challenging.

Days like St. Patrick’s Day can test a person, especially someone new to sobriety. However, there are practical approaches that you can take to manage the day successfully.

Being sober does not mean giving up on fun. You can still celebrate St. Patrick’s Day without compromising your sobriety.

For instance, remind yourself why you are sober, and don’t do it alone. You can still have fun and celebrate but do it with other sober people. Everyone has their reasons why they stopped drinking; remind yourself of those reasons and hold yourself accountable.

Marie Garceau

Know your triggers; it doesn’t matter if you are a recovering addict or have removed alcohol from your life. Be cautious around possible triggers that pose a challenge. Most people in this situation choose to skip the bar and find something fun to do or go to a sober St. Patrick’s Day celebration.

Keep a non-alcoholic drink or mocktail in your hand. People will not bother you to ask if you want a drink if you already have something to sip on, like a mocktail. This also leads to planning how to say no. You will encounter social pressure if you go to a bar on St. Patrick’s Day. It’s unavoidable. It’s wise to practice ways to refuse alcohol.

Finally, if all else fails, take a walk outside if you feel overwhelmed. The most straightforward solutions are usually the best. Remove yourself from any situation you know will lead to relapse. This is also why it’s essential to be with a sober friend or loved one; there is accountability and someone to lean on.

Along with the numerous health benefits associated with sobriety, such as better sleep, weight loss, less anxiety and depression, and more mental focus, there is a significant societal benefit. Being sober on this day or any day removes any chance of impaired driving.

Unfortunately, days that promote heavy drinking may lead to more instances of drunk or drugged driving. Connecticut has consistently ranked in the top three to five states with the highest number of impaired driving fatalities each year. Data from 2021 has shown that 38% of traffic fatalities involved a driver with a BAC of .08% and 28% with a BAC of .15% or higher.

If you are celebrating St. Patrick’s Day, plan ahead and take the necessary steps to protect your sobriety. Have fun and look out for one another. It is one day a year and does not have to cost you all the work you have achieved.

Marie Garceau has been working in the field of substance use and addiction recovery for over a decade. She works at DRS and primarily focuses on reaching out to the community and spreading awareness.

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