If you want to enjoy the festivities surrounding St. Patrick's Day while avoiding alcohol, here are four ways to stay safe and sober on March 17th.
Cook an Irish meal
When St. Patrick’s day rolls around, it’s a good time to get out your vegetable peeler and Dutch oven and create a warm, hearty meal.
Cooking a special Irish meal for St. Patrick’s Day is a family-friendly activity that 31 percent of Americans surveyed say they’ll invest time in for the holiday, reports WalletHub .
The most common meal Americans associate with the Irish holiday is corned beef with cabbage and roasted vegetables.
The ingredients are inexpensive, and the outcome is perfect for a March evening. However, the origins of the “traditional” meal are far from the cozy atmosphere we associate them with today.
In centuries past, many people in Ireland couldn’t afford beef and ate cheaper salted pork. The taste for corned beef came after Irish people started coming to the New World, reports the Smithsonian Magazine .
Once in the country, "they realized the cheaper cut of meat in America was actually brisket,” according to Catholic history . “They cooked the brisket the same way they once made their bacon and corned beef was born.”
Go to a St. Patrick’s Day parade
Get out your green face paint and parade-side chairs; this is one tradition you can't miss and you'll enjoy without a pint in hand.
St. Patrick's Day parades are almost as old as the country itself and the perfect ways to see colorful floats and dance to loudspeaker music, Ferris Bueller-style .
In fact, "The first recorded St. Patrick’s Day parade was held not in Ireland but in New York City in 1762, and with the dramatic increase of Irish immigrants to the United States in the mid-19th century, the March 17th celebration became widespread," according to History.com .
Today, South Boston is known as St. Patrick's Day central, says National Geographic , owing to the high population of Massachusetts residents who claim Irish ancestry (nearly 25 percent). Their yearly St. Patrick's Day parade takes place on the Sunday closest to March 17 with thousands of green-clad revelers taking to the streets.
You can look online to find lists of St. Patrick's Day parades and to find a parade route near you.
Search for a pot of gold or plant a clover garden
If you have kids, hide some gold chocolate coins then organize a pot of gold scavenger hunt. You can also buy potting soil, ceramic pots and clover seeds to make a shamrock garden. If you've got the luck of the Irish, in a few months, you might find a four-leaf specimen.
Be a designated driver
Choosing to avoid drinking on St. Patrick’s Day doesn’t just give you more time to do fun activities and save money, it also decreases your risk of accidents and serious health issues.
Excessive drinking is responsible for many premature deaths each year. In fact, data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports that excessive drinking was responsible for 1 in 10 deaths among working-age adults aged 20-64 years in 2014.
Being sober on holidays also means you don't need a designated driver, but you could offer to be one for friends or family members you know might be tempted to drive while impaired. You'll need to be extra vigilant on the roads around St. Patrick’s Day, as even with many DUI laws in place, alcohol-related driving fatalities are common.
Support for sobriety
Although the holidays are a time for celebration, if you or someone you know is struggling with an alcohol addiction, you might not feel like taking part in the festivities.
Pacific Bay Recovery understands the challenge of watching a friend, family member or loved one struggle with addiction. We are here to help.