8 Things to Do Other than Drink on St. Patrick’s Day

St. Patrick’s Day is one of the days of the year where the cultural habit is to celebrate by raising a glass – or 10. Unfortunately, rates of driving while under the influence tend to increase on March 17 as well, resulting in a total of 276 lives lost in drunk driving accidents on St. Patrick’s Day between 2009 and 2013.

Additionally, many in recovery from alcohol and drug addiction cite the holiday as one of their triggers. When you are in the habit of drinking to celebrate or using drinking as the medium of relaxation when spending time with friends, it can be uncomfortable to seek out new ways to enjoy yourself, remember the day, and connect with others.

The good news is that there are a number of ways to spend March 17 this year that do not involve alcohol or drugs of any kind. Take a look at the list below and find the right one for your sober St. Patrick’s Day this year:

Things to do other than drink
  1. Find a sober St. Patrick’s Day eventWhile there are no shortage of bars and restaurant handing out discounted green beer and cocktails, there are also a number of venues that will be hosting St. Patrick’s Day events that are sober. The 12-Step or recovery community is a great place to start, especially if you just want to spread the word that you are looking for something interesting and sober to do on March 17. There are also a number of nonprofit, grassroots, and religious organizations that will be hosting events that celebrate the day without the focus on alcohol.
  1. Create a St. Patrick’s Day prank tradition at home or with friendsIt is often a tradition among little kids to set the stage for “leprechaun pranks” on St. Patrick’s Day, but the fun does not have to be relegated to the preschool set alone. Set up a fun prank for your coworkers, friends, and family (think mischievous mayhem and lots of mess), leave a note from a “leprechaun” taking credit, and then sit back and enjoy the show. To keep it fun, step up and clean up the mess once the prank has unfolded.
  1. Host your own sober St. Patty’s Day partyWho says you have to rely on anyone else to celebrate the day and stay alcohol-free? You can host your own green-themed, Irish-themed, or leprechaun-themed party. Have fun with decorations, green appetizers and nonalcoholic beverages, and make sure all your guests know that there is no alcohol involved.
  1. Have a movie marathonYou may find that the movie theaters are empty on St. Patrick’s Day – or there may be a movie showing that fits the theme of the day that interests you. On the other hand, you may opt instead to stay home and create your own movie marathon. Pick all Irish directors, Irish films, Irish documentaries, or watch all of the Leprechaun movies one after the other. Invite some friends, and make green popcorn and green nonalcoholic drinks to keep it festive.
  1. Make a big Irish dinnerCorned beef and cabbage is the classic Irish American favorite on St. Patrick’s Day but there is no reason to limit yourself to this menu. Branch out and try a shepherd’s pie with lime poke cake or a green velvet cake for dessert and mint shakes. Go simple and make an Irish beef stew with some Irish soda bread, and enjoy the leftovers over the weekend. You could also invite people to your dinner or make it a potluck, asking guests to bring their favorite green appetizer, dessert, or nonalcoholic beverage.
  1. Run a marathon or half-marathonAcross the country, in cities large and small, there are half-marathons and marathons happening on St. Patrick’s Day. Focus on health and recovery rather than alcohol by putting on your running shoes and getting moving – even if you walk most of the way.
  1. Take a tripIf you would rather avoid the whole St. Patrick’s Day thing in general, head out into nature and leave all of civilization behind. St. Patrick’s Day falls on a Thursday this year, so if you do not have to go into work on Friday, you can plan a long weekend of backpacking or car camping a few hours away, or just head out to the nearest local nature spot for a little exploring.
  1. Take on a home project or artistic explorationIf you would rather not hit the road or if you have to work on Friday, spend your St. Patrick’s Day at home tackling a project you have been meaning to do. Build a bookshelf, do some spring gardening, clean out the garage or your closet, or create an art piece you have been thinking about. If you end up staying up late and are less focused at work the next day or even a little late, you will not be the only one – the day after St. Patrick’s Day is one of the most popular days of the year to call in sick.

What fun, sober activities do you have planned this St. Patrick’s Day? How have you managed to avoid the drunken crowds on St. Patrick’s Day but still have a good time? Share your experiences – and your tips – for celebrating without getting drunk or high in the comments below.

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