Mallory Welsh, LCSW

Saint Patrick’s Day is just around the corner and it happens to fall on a Saturday this year. Saint Patrick’s Day in Chicago can be a fun event to be part of as the city brings everyone together turning the river green and playing Irish music at the local restaurants. It can also be a holiday heavily focused on drinking copious amounts of alcohol. While some may consider themselves to be social drinkers and can enjoy having a beer or two to celebrate Saint Patrick’s Day, others may feel pressure from their friends to knock back several beers in one sitting. It can also be especially challenging to say ‘no’ if you have once struggled with keeping your drinking under control and/or currently identify as being in recovery.

How can I enjoy Saint Patrick’s Day without feeling pressured into something I do not want to do? No need to stress—below is a simple guide on how to enjoy Saint Patrick’s Day!

  • Boundaries! Practice saying ‘no’ to others that don’t support your interests on Saint Patrick’s Day.
  • Practice Self-Compassion. Be kind to yourself. Accept yourself for whatever stage you are in regarding drinking an alcoholic drink or a non-alcoholic drink.
  • Attend the Chicago River Dyeing. It is quite the treat to see the entire river turn green before your eyes!
  • Attend the Parade. It is directly after the dyeing of the Chicago River and you can hear live Irish music.
  • Go for a Boat Tour. See the city before or after the river dyeing; it can be very relaxing!
  • Attempt a 5K! There are a variety of different organized 5Ks over Saint Patrick’s Day weekend. You can also create a new tradition and start one with your close friends.
  • Try that New Restaurant. Go somewhere you have been wanting to try with close friends. Just make sure to make a reservation.
  • Plan an Exit Strategy. If you do find that going out to a restaurant turns into your friends throwing back numerous drinks while you are sipping on sparkling water, have an exit plan. Maybe as easy as saying, “Oh I have to get going, it is that time of the day when my dog needs their walk!” Having a prepared exit plan can relieve some of the stress in the moment.
  • Host a Get-Together. If being around a large group of people does not appeal to you, having a small group of close and trustworthy friends can be a fun way to spend the day. Pull up an Irish playlist and cook some traditional Irish foods.
  • If you are currently in recovery and think this day could be a trigger for you, schedule some time to attend a 12-step group meeting prior to Saint Patrick’s Day. 12-step groups can provide emotional support to individuals feeling uneasy about this holiday approaching.
  • Sober Saint Patrick’s Day Party. Sometimes 12-step groups organize sober parties for people currently in recovery. If you or someone you know is struggling to find a party that isn’t filled with alcohol, going to a party that is 100% alcohol-free is a great way to surround yourself with like-minded individuals.

Reflect on what could be the most fun for you. Whether it is going for the run, going out to eat with friends, seeing the parade, cooking Irish food at home, or attending a sober party, do exactly what you think will provide you the most joy this Saint Patrick’s Day!

If you are currently struggling with any forms of addictions, it may be a good idea to connect with one of our skilled counselors at Symmetry Counseling today. You can contact them at 312-578-9990 to set up an appointment.