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6 Sober Ways to Celebrate St. Patrick's Day

By The Fix staff 03/16/21

This year, change the focus of the holiday from drinking to cultural appreciation.

Image: 
Woman in outdoors, garden area, sips tea
A perfect day: In nature with a cup of Irish Breakfast Tea Photo 139214897 © Michele Jackson | Dreamstime.com

St. Patrick’s Day is supposed to be a day of cultural celebration for the Irish and their descendants. And yet, the patron saint of Ireland likely wouldn’t recognize the celebrants who down green beer and get drunk in his name.

This year, with the world still under quarantine precautions to prevent the spread of COVID-19, St. Patty’s Day will look a lot different. If you’re in early recovery or have recently left treatment, that’s great news for you, since you won’t be the only one spending March 17 sober.

Wondering what to do to honor your heritage and have some fun, while staying safe and sober? Here are 6 ideas.

1. Cook Up an Irish Feast

Drinking is out, but eating is the perfect way to celebrate St. Patty’s day. Why not try your hand at a traditional Irish dish, like corned beef and cabbage? The great thing about this St. Patty’s Day go-to is that it’s simple: just pop everything in a slow cooker, then enjoy. If you haven’t tried cooking corned beef and cabbage before, don’t be intimidated. There are plenty of tutorials and recipes online.

2. Sip Some Tea

There’s something soothing about sitting back with a warm drink, and we could all use a little comfort this year. Irish culture loves beer, that’s true, but they also love tea. Taking a cup of tea — with or without a sweet snack — is the perfect way to slow down for a few minutes and catch up with friends or family (even if that conversation has to take place over Zoom). For a truly authentic experience opt for Irish Breakfast Tea with milk. The best part about a tea party? You can make it as fancy as you like!

3. Look Up Your Heritage

Lots of people claim to have Irish heritage, especially on St. Patrick's Day. But do you know the truth of your genealogy? These days it’s easier than ever to find out, with websites that test your DNA or simply allow you to work on tracing your family tree. Take some time this St. Patty’s day to learn more about your family history, whether your roots extend to Ireland or not.

4. Let the Leprechaun In

Leprechauns — the magical mythical men of Irish lore — have long held people’s imaginations. So, it’s no wonder that some parents and teachers have started incorporating a naughty leprechaun into their St. Patty’s day celebrations. If you’re feeling frisky, let “a leprechaun” play tricks on your children or roommates. When they spot green milk or chocolates sprinkled all over the house, enjoy watching their smiles.

5. Go Green

Ireland is famous around the world for its lush landscape. Why not celebrate the holiday by spending some time outdoors? If you have a yard of your own, take steps to get it ready for spring. If not, head to your favorite outdoor park or hiking area. Depending on where you live, you might not be seeing green yet, but chances are you can find some signs of spring.

6. Step Into Irish Dance

If it’s too cold to get outside, you can still get your heart pumping. Look up Youtube videos of Irish Dance, and see if you can step up to the plate. After you’ve laughed and got your workout in, settle in to watch the professionals of Riverdance. The iconic Irish dance show is celebrating its 25th anniversary this year, and is available for streaming online.

Holidays can highlight the challenges of early recovery. If you’ve spent most of your St. Patrick's days drinking too much, it can be difficult to acknowledge the holiday in a different way. During 2021, however, you have a big benefit going for you: everyone is celebrating their favorite holidays in different ways. You’re not alone, but one of millions of people reevaluating their traditions on March 17.

Use that to your advantage. This year, you can redefine your St. Patrick’s Day in a way that still lets you have fun, while also maintaining your health and sobriety.

Sunshine Coast Health Centre is a non 12-step drug and alcohol rehabilitation center in British Columbia. Learn more here.

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