Are you sober and are wondering how to have a sober St. Patrick’s Day? Here are some tips on how I’ve stayed sober over the years, some fun sober St. Patty’s activities you can do, craft ideas for the kids, and the actual history of St. Patrick and his day.
Did you know that the origins of drinking beer, especially green beer, actually has nothing to do with St. Patrick or Ireland?
Table of Contents
My History with St. Patrick’s Day
This may be an unpopular opinion but as a sober person, I dislike St. Patrick’s Day to my core. At least, the St. Patrick’s Day everyone celebrates, I have nothing against St. Patrick and the actual history of this day but the excuse to drink in excess and be an idiot is what I despise.
I didn’t dislike St. Patrick’s Day until I stopped drinking.
Part of my distain may be due to the fact that St. Patrick’s Day 2012 is the last day I had a drink. Oddly enough, it had nothing to do with it being St. Patrick’s Day. It was simply a Saturday, I was home alone, and so I drank in excess, as I always did back then on weekends if I was alone.
The next day, I woke up hungover and thinking I was going to die of alcohol poisoning. Even though there was a hospital in the city I lived in, I didn’t trust myself driving in the state I was in so I called my boyfriend who had just gotten back from a weekend trip with his brothers. I felt so bad calling him but he was the only one I knew who would help me.
He drove the 15 minutes from his house to mine to pick me up and bring me to the ER. I quite honestly expected him to just drop me off and have me figure out a way home. I felt so ashamed of what I had put my body through that I felt that was what I deserved.
However, he’s not like that. He went in with me and stayed with me the whole time. I’m so glad that he did. I feel that as horrible as it all was, that him being there and hearing what the doctor said to me about my drinking really helped us both better understand what was going on.
The doctor told me I’m an alcoholic, which apparently was in my medical history from less than a year prior when I went to a psychologist, and that it’s not my fault but that if I didn’t stop drinking I would likely die.
Wow. That hit me hard.
Luckily, I didn’t have alcohol poisoning and the saline IV that I was hooked up to helped clear out the alcohol from my system.
Once I was released, my boyfriend drove me back home where I proceeded to pour out all of the alcohol I had in the house, right in front of him. I knew I had to be done, for good.
It was an oddly warm day in Minnesota on March 18, 2012 so afterwards we went for a walk and talked about the future and how we could ensure I didn’t drink again.
I talk more about this in my 10 Years Sober post, including what I did to stay sober especially those first 30 days, what I used as a replacement drink, and more.
I should also mention, that the boyfriend I am referencing stopped drinking around me and only drank twice after that before he stopped drinking for good 3 months later.
That boyfriend is now my husband and father of our three little boys.
How to Celebrate a Sober St. Patrick’s Day
Once I became sober I just ignored St. Patrick’s Day for the first 10 years. It worked quite well.
However, I’ve realized over the years, now that I have kids especially, that I can’t ignore it anymore. My kids shouldn’t have to miss out on the holiday just because it bothers me since it glorifies drinking, at least the adult version of it.
Sober St. Patrick’s Day in NYC
If you live in NYC or relatively close, you can join in on the annual Sober St. Patrick’s Day Celebration where they reclaim the day! I honestly just found out about this while researching for this article and wow! This is so incredibly cool!!
This is an event in which to participate you have to buy tickets ahead of time. They have Irish music, dance, storytelling, Irish books, information on recovery, refreshments, and even a noon mass (which is optional).
I’m honestly just so excited that this is a thing. I live in MN so very far from NYC but so happy for all of those who get to participate in this wonderful event!
By doing a quick search on Facebook I found a Sober St. Patrick’s Day event in Minnesota as well! Just search “Sober St. Patrick’s Day” in Facebook and it’ll show you ones near you or you can enter those words plus “near me” in your favorite search engine and it’ll give you some options as well!
Celebrate Irish Heritage at Home
Chances are that unless you’re at a sober St. Patty’s day celebration like the one above, that you are likely going to come into contact with a bunch of belligerently drunk people on St. Patrick’s Day. This can be an annoyance for anyone without a drink in their hand but especially someone who is newly sober or just sober in general.
The best way to avoid this is to either gather with sober friends or just hang out at home for a sober St. Patrick’s Day event!
Cooking Traditional Irish Food
Instead of heading to booze soaked events, you can stay home and celebrate what St. Patrick’s Day is actually about. You can do this by cooking a traditional Irish Meal such as Shepherd’s Pie, soda bread, fried cabbage, and more!
Kara of the blog The Pioneer Woman has a great blog post about 25 Traditional Irish Foods to Celebrate St. Patrick’s Day with some amazing recipes. She always has great recipes and these sound delicious!!
Listen to Irish Music and Learn an Irish Dance
Have you let yourself dance since you stopped drinking? I know, I know, you only danced when you were drinking, but seriously – try it out!! It’s so fun! Don’t worry about not doing it right and making a fool of yourself, just have FUN!!!
There are some great YouTube videos that will show you how to learn an Irish dance including Irish Step Dancing, an easy Irish Jig Step, and more! I’ll share some links below. All of these videos are less than 5 minutes long.
After you watch at least one of the videos above a few times to get used to the moves, put on some Irish music! There are a lot of great Irish Dancing Music playlists you can listen to.
Always Have a Non-Alcoholic Drink in Hand
One of the BIGGEST things that has helped me is always having a non-alcoholic drink in hand when I’m at social events. Whether you do decide to brave the drunk crowds and go to a traditional St. Patrick’s Day celebration or stay home with some sober friends and celebrate, having a NA drink in hand will help.
There are plenty of fun drinks you can make and dye green for St. Patty’s Day or even just sparkling water or tea will do! I tend to keep things simple and not make fancy mixed NA drinks but if you are inclined to, head over to Scottsdale Recovery’s website where they have a lot of fun ideas and non-alcoholic St. Patrick’s Day drinks.
Sober St. Patrick’s Day Crafts
Kids love any holiday, at least my kids do, and St. Patrick’s Day is no exception. There are some fun crafts that we’ve done with our kids that they really enjoy. Honestly, I made the rainbow craft on my own last year without the kids knowing…all that to say, you can craft just for yourself too 🙂
Last year I made the rainbow and pot of gold with my Cricut that is pictured below. This year we cut out shamrocks with the Cricut and made Shamrock People! Both of these could be done without a Cricut, we just used the Cricut since we have one.
I made our project public on Cricut so you can see, edit, and cut out the project on your own Cricut!
If you’re looking for more St. Patrick’s Day activities for kids, click the button below to head to the blog Indy with Kids who has a lot of great St. Patrick’s Day activities!!
Learn about St. Patrick’s Day
To be honest, I knew that there was an actual St. Patrick at some point, he must have lived in Ireland at some point, and…somehow this equated to everyone wearing green on St. Patrick’s Day and people binge drinking.
That’s about all I knew.
Now that I’m sober and trying to reclaim the holiday I wanted to learn more. Apparently, St. Patrick didn’t always live in Ireland. He was actually kidnaped by pirates when he was 16 and brought to Ireland to work. Eventually he escaped and made his way back to his parents in Britain, though he ended up going back to Ireland to teach others about Christianity and help build churches.
The whole drinking in excess and drinking green beer is something that the actual St. Patrick had nothing to do with. That tradition was one started in America, according to this St. Patrick’s Day in America article. In fact, according to the History Channel, Irish laws prohibited pubs from being open on holy days, including March 17th. It wasn’t until 1961 that drinking in Ireland on St. Patrick’s Day became a common occurrence after they had seen people in America enjoying the holiday in such a way. They don’t dye their beer green though, that’s for sure.
National Geographic Kids has a great article about this, in a kid friendly way (they don’t mention the pirates) if you’d like to teach your kids more about the holiday. I’ve also included links to the History Channel including the History of St. Patrick’s Day and St. Patrick’s Day in America.
Rethinking St. Patrick’s Day
To be honest, as always, the reason I started writing this blog post today is because I wanted to share how much I despise St. Patrick’s Day as a sober person.
However, I’ve learned a lot while researching for this post and now that I know it’s not actually all about beer and getting drunk, I actually like the holiday but just am frustrated with the American tradition of having to make every holiday all about alcohol.
This particular frustration is nothing new to me, but it does help reframe my thoughts around St. Patrick’s Day which is kind of cool.
I hope you learned something about St. Patrick’s Day and that you have a wonderful Sober St. Patrick’s Day!
As a mom of identical twins and a son two years older, I have gained invaluable experience in the realm, and chaos, of parenting. With a Master's Degree and Education Specialist Degree in School Psychology, I spent years as a school psychologist, helping children navigate through their educational and emotional challenges. Now as a stay at home mom and professional blogger, I combine my areas of expertise to help you in your parenting journey.