The Culture Of Drinking On St. Patrick’s Day And Staying Sober In Recovery
Millions of people drink (namely beer) on St. Patrick’s Day every year, which began as a day to celebrate the patron saint of Ireland, St. Patrick. People in recovery from drug or alcohol addiction can pursue sobriety by participating in non-alcohol-related activities and getting outside support.
St. Patrick’s Day is one of the biggest drinking holidays of the year. While it’s intended to be a celebration of St. Patrick, a patron saint of Ireland, it’s morphed over time into a day largely centered on drinking beer and spirits.
If you or someone you love are in recovery from drug or alcohol addiction over the festive holiday, you may need to take certain precautions to avoid relapse.
Fortunately, you can enjoy the holiday sober. Here, we’ll discuss the prevalence of drinking on St. Patrick’s Day in the U.S. and provide tips on how to remain sober and focused on recovery.
Why People Drink On St. Patrick’s Day
St. Patrick’s Day falls during the season of Christian Lent, a 40-day season of fasting to prepare for Easter.
Every year on March 17th, Christians began gathering to celebrate the anniversary of St. Patrick’s death in the year 461 AD.
On this day, the restrictions of Lent were lifted and people celebrated by drinking alcohol, eating meat, dancing, and more. This is what spurred the consumption of alcohol on St. Patrick’s Day, a tradition that’s continued to this day.
In America, many people have dubbed Boston as hosting the first St. Patrick’s Day celebration in 1737 when Irish immigrants gathered to celebrate.
From there, non-Irish Americans began to adopt the practices of the holiday, making it into what it is today.
The Scope Of Drinking On St. Patrick’s Day
St. Patrick’s Day is the third most popular day for drinking in the U.S., next to drinking on New Year’s Eve and Mardi Gras, the most popular drinking holiday.
However, it’s the most popular day for drinking beer. According to one survey, there’s a 174% increase in beer sales on St. Patrick’s Day compared to the rest of the year, and a 153% increase in the sale of spirits.
The survey also found that:
- the average number of drinks consumed on St. Patrick’s Day is 4.2
- more than 13 million pints of Guinness beer are consumed on the holiday
- 32% of men binge drink on St. Patrick’s Day
Staying Sober In Addiction Recovery Over St. Patrick’s Day
With so many people donning green clothes and accessories to head out to the bars for a night of alcohol-focused merriment, it can be difficult to get through the day without seeing people drinking.
Social media makes seeing these scenes more accessible than ever, as people post pictures and videos of parties with drinking on apps like Instagram and TikTok.
Though the culture of drinking can be all-consuming, it doesn’t have to be. Whether you plan to spend the holiday in or go out with friends, you can stay safe and focused on recovery.
Here’s how you or your loved one can stay sober this St. Patrick’s Day:
- Find people you trust: If you choose to go out and celebrate with friends on St. Patrick’s Day, choose people who know your recovery journey and can help to keep you accountable.
- Learn about the tradition: If you are a practicing Christian or simply want to know more about the roots of the holiday, spend time learning about the history of St. Patrick’s Day and connect with the traditional aspects of the celebration.
- Go to a parade: You can enjoy the family-friendly aspects of St. Patrick’s Day like a parade, celebrating the day without needing to drink.
- Enjoy Irish foods: Traditionally, St. Patrick’s Day was celebrated with ham and cabbage; however, Irish Americans began a tradition of corned beef and cabbage in the 1700s. Invite friends over and make a traditional St. Patrick’s Day meal together.
- Create a plan: Make a plan for how to handle triggers or difficult situations involving alcohol if you decide to go out. You might choose one person who is aware of this plan and can help you to exit quietly if need be.
Find Alcohol And Drug Addiction Treatment In Massachusetts
Our addiction treatment specialists recognize the difficulty of staying sober on major drinking holidays in the U.S. such as St. Patrick’s Day.
To keep yourself or a loved one safe and on track with recovery, consider reaching out to us to learn about our treatment programs.
We offer a range of programs, including access to drug and alcohol detox in Massachusetts, outpatient treatment, inpatient rehab, and more. Call us today to learn more about your options.
Written by Spring Hill Editorial Team
©2023 Spring Hill Recovery Center | All Rights Reserved
This page does not provide medical advice.
- History.com — History of St. Patrick’s Day https://www.history.com/topics/st-patricks-day/history-of-st-patricks-day
- Wallet Hub — 2022 St. Patrick's Day Facts https://wallethub.com/blog/st-patricks-day-facts/10960