The notion of St. Patrick’s Day has come a long way from its inspirational origin. What began as the story of a man overcoming adversity, has turned into an excuse for people to consume copious amounts of alcohol while adorning themselves with shamrocks, leprechauns, and of course, an abundance of green.
The real St. Patrick was in fact a British-born man who was kidnapped by Irish pirates at the age of sixteen. He was shipped to Ireland and enslaved for the next six years. During these tribulations, young Patrick managed to not only learn the language and culture of his abductors, but was also able to strengthen his faith and connection to God.
When Patrick was freed from slavery, he made his way back to his family in Britain, but his heart was elsewhere. He began having visions of returning to Ireland in order to spread a message of love and redemption. Ultimately, Patrick did just that. He was able to create unity among the warring clans of Ireland and changed the course of a nation. Unfortunately, this amazing story of St. Patrick’s strength and faith has been lost to today’s current celebration of wearing green and binge drinking.
Holidays can be a difficult time for recovering alcoholics, particularly holidays that seem to revolve around drinking. A solution is to remember St. Patrick’s Day for what it really is: a story of overcoming adversity. The one thing that can never be taken away from a person is their ability to interpret their own circumstances. The same events that lead one to destruction, can lead another to redemption.
This year, take a page out of St. Paddy’s book: rather than focusing on your sobriety in relation to the “partying” going on around you, focus on the empowering fact that you have come so far on your journey. Celebrate the steps you have taken to overcome adversity in order to improve your life and the lives of those around you.
Enjoy A Sober St. Patrick’s Day: Alternative Ways to Celebrate
Although St Patrick’s Day has long been associated with a day (sometimes a full weekend) of heavy day drinking and festivities revolving around alcohol and drugs, there are many sober ways to celebrate Ireland’s amazing history and culture. Whether you’re Irish or not, you can have a fun and festive weekend with friends and family. Here are some ideas:
Don’t risk getting pinched (by a “leprechaun”)! Throw on some green, and show your appreciation and respect for Ireland and Irish history. From the Irish flag to the symbolic shamrock, the color green became synonymous with Irish culture, and out of Irish folklore came the belief that wearing green made one invisible to leprechauns (mischievous mythical creatures, hence the pinching).
Cook an Irish meal and enjoy it with friends and family. Check out this website for some favorite St. Patrick’s Day recipes like corned beef* and cabbage, Irish stew, coddle, colcannon, Irish soda bread and Carrageen Moss Pudding.
*Corned beef is actually an Americanized tradition. Traditionally, the Irish ate Irish bacon on March 17th. When they first migrated to the U.S. however, the Irish worked as lower class citizens and the tradition became less affordable and unsustainable. Jewish immigrants ate corned beef instead and it became a lasting American-Irish tradition. Here are some delicious corned-beef inspired recipes to enjoy today!
Check out events all over the world (like this one) where people are coming together to celebrate St. Patrick’s Day without alcohol. Further proof that booze is totally unnecessary to have a great time while honoring the Irish patron saint.
Pay homage to the Irish saint with a random act of kindness. Here’s a great website to get you inspired.
Celebrate the day with a healthy activity such as yoga, a long walk, or meditation. Or, enjoy a festive green smoothie!
Remember If You’re Struggling, You’re Not Alone
Holidays like this one can be difficult for recovering alcoholics and addicts. Remember that you are never alone in recovery. Attending a 12-step meeting can be a great way to meet other alcoholics and surround yourself with others who are on the path to recovery. Remember St. Patrick’s struggle to overcome adversity, and how he was able to share his message of strength, faith, and resilience with others. By sharing your story and your struggles with another recovering alcoholic or addict, you are honoring St. Patrick and your own recovery, and inspiring others to do the same.