February 14, 2018 | Posted in:Uncategorized

Guest post – Many people — and not just the Irish — use St. Patrick’s Day as an excuse to go overboard on booze — around 13 million pints of Guinness worldwide. Surveys show that it comes in as the fourth most popular drinking day of the year after New Year’s Eve, Christmas and Fourth of July. Not only does binge drinking propose a health hazard, but more than one in three drivers involved in a fatal car crash have a blood alcohol content over the legal limit, making it one of the most fatal driving days of the year. So, whether you’re avoiding alcohol because you’re in the midst of rehab (or a recovering addict), or you simply want to be safe and responsible, there are risk-free ways you can celebrate the luck of the Irish that still enjoyable.

Throw an Irish-inspired dinner party
Gather a group on like-minded friends who also want to opt out of drinking and focus on eating — not drinking. To keep it festive, prepare traditional Irish dishes such as corned beef and cabbage, Irish stew, soda bread and bread pudding accompanied by a green mocktail or beverage like Green River soda. Don’t skimp out on creating a beautiful tablescape to make it feel more like a special dining experience.

Decorate to boost your mood
Whether or not you throw a party, adding touches of decor can boost your mood and help you get in the spirit — much like the effect of Christmas decorations. There’s no need to schuck out a bunch of money, however. If you have kids, use it as an excuse to have a DIY St. Patrick’s Day decor party where everyone pitches in to create green and shamrock-inspired items such as garland, banners, table decor and wreaths. A string of green twinkle lights can go a long way, too.

Have an Irish film fest
Pop the popcorn and turn your average movie night into an Irish film fest. When it comes to movies that take place in Ireland, there are plenty of good ones to choose from. Start with classics such as The Quiet Man and The Wind That Shakes the Barley before transitioning into modern-day flicks like The Commitments and Leap Year.

Jam to some Irish tunes
Many bars have live entertainment on St. Patrick’s Day and while that’s great, a beer-infused bar may not be the best environment if you’re avoiding alcohol. Instead, opt for your own at-home concert by playing upbeat traditional music such as “Skibbereen,” “Finnegan’s Wake,” and “The Fields of Athenry.” Classic bands to consider include the Clancy Brothers, The Dubliners and, The Wolf Tones. When you’re ready to transition into something more modern, there’s favorites like U2, Van Morrison, The Pogues and The Cranberries.

Making a list of what you feel lucky for in your life is a lot like having a gratitude session. Take some time for self-reflection — maybe you feel lucky you randomly met your husband, you landed your dream job, or simply that you are able to put food on the table every day.

Along with the realization that St. Patrick’s Day started as a deeply religious holiday and not an all day drinking fest, relish in the fact that you won’t be hungover the morning after. While you don’t have to necessarily avoid parties and parades where alcohol is present, you’re more apt to have fun if you choose an activity that is not connected to booze — especially if you’re a recovering alcoholic. Celebrating sober is actually easier than you think if you have a game plan.

Photo Credit: Pixabay

Toronto-based psychotherapist and coach, specializing in helping people with mood disorders, anxiety and depression

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