Shocking St. Patrick’s Day Statistics

38294707_sSaint Patrick’s Day, or the Feast of Saint Patrick is a cultural and religious celebration held on March 17th, the traditional death date of Saint Patrick (c. AD 385–461), the foremost patron saint of Ireland. Unfortunately, this holiday is traditionally overshadowed by the drunken celebrations that take place across the country.

For instance, St. Patrick’s Day ranks 4th among the calendar’s most popular drinking days, behind New Year’s Eve, Christmas and the Fourth of July. Additionally, 75% of fatal car crashes on St. Patrick’s Day involve a driver who is 2 times over the legal drinking limit. If you have an addiction to alcohol, any holiday can garner an excuse to overindulge, often leading to tragic (or often just downright embarrassing) results.

And I don’t mean to be a downer. I’m all for enjoying family and heritage, but I also work with families and groups that find themselves in the aftermath of addictions and sometimes all it takes is one day or evening of partying to devastate a family’s sense of trust and safety. So the holidays can’t be an excuse and celebrations cannot mask addictions and their effects.

If you have battled alcoholism and are on a path to becoming or staying sober, you can still enjoy the holiday without slipping into old patterns. Here are just a few suggestions:

  • First, you don’t have to become a part of the madness of St. Patrick’s Day partying. Many cities have sober celebrations, such as New York and Philadelphia. You can visit http://www.soberstpatricksday.org/ to find where to enjoy the alcohol-free activities in your city.
  • Plan ahead by getting all your grocery shopping done and making sure you have no reason to travel through the sea of people who may get out of hand. You can celebrate by making a traditional corned beef and cabbage dinner with the family (or by yourself) and watching The Commitments.
  • Most AA groups have sober gatherings on holidays, and there is no better way to keep from drinking or being triggered than surrounding yourself with other sober friends.
  • Stay busy. Make a list of things you can do and knock it out while everyone else is wasting time. By staying busy and proactive you will be able to congratulate yourself for what you’re getting done on a day most people don’t remember. Make a list of what you want to accomplish and stay busy.
  • Keep on living your life like it’s any other day. Not all recovering alcoholics are triggered or feel uncomfortable around drinking or partying, and not all of us feel the need to change our way of living just because we are sober. If this is the case, do what you would do any other day to stay sober and be grateful you no longer need to live that way.

These are just a few ideas but if you have some of your own not mentioned here, let me know in the comments below. Your idea may be just the one to make a difference in someone else’s life – one day at a time. Holidays should enhance closeness with our family members and friends, not end up pushing others away because we exercised destructive entitlement.

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