Op/Ed by Marie Garceau: Keep Your Sobriety Intact on St. Patrick’s Day

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Marie Garceau

St. Patrick’s Day is upon us, and the weekend will likely bring big celebrations at bars, pubs, and communities. It’s no secret that St. Paddies Day is associated with heavy drinking, green beer, and brutal hangovers.

It can be challenging for anyone new to sobriety or someone who overcame drug or alcohol addiction if they want to celebrate St. Patrick’s Day. However, being sober doesn’t mean you stop having fun. You can still celebrate the day and keep your sobriety intact. Fortunately, there are practical tips and helpful information you can use to make this happen.

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 for stopping drinking; remind yourself of those reasons and hold yourself accountable.

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.

The health benefits of sobriety are numerous. Along with improving your sleep and physical and mental health, there is an essential societal gain. Being sober on St. Patrick’s Day or any day removes all chance of impaired driving.

Unfortunately, when heavy drinking is promoted or advertised, it may lead to increased instances of drunk or drugged driving. According to the California Office of Traffic Safety, there were 95 alcohol-related traffic deaths in Newport Beach in 2021 and 541 DUI arrests. Most of the deaths occurred in individuals ages 21 to 34.

If you are celebrating St. Patrick’s Day sober, take steps to protect your sobriety and look out for one another. If you are consuming alcohol, drink responsibly, know your limits, and do not drink and drive.

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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