What I’m Doing Instead of Drinking This St. Patrick’s Day

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Monica Drake

| 5 min read

There are many reasons why you may not be drinking this St. Patrick’s Day. Maybe it’s for health reasons. Maybe you struggle with addiction. Maybe you’re pregnant or trying to conceive. Or maybe you just don’t like the way alcohol makes you feel.
I know for people with anxiety, like me, it’s common to use alcohol to cope with stress and to feel more comfortable in social situations. I was guilty of this during Christmastime. I was drinking more than usual to cope with the recent death of my godmother and trying to still be “fun” at Christmas parties. I could feel myself starting to get dependent on alcohol, which I knew wasn’t healthy.
That’s because, in the long run, drinking to inhibit your anxiety is a vicious circle: Drinking to feel less anxious, feeling more anxious because you've been drinking, and then drinking more to stop feeling anxious about drinking. So, it’s important to occasionally take a break from alcohol for the sake of your physical and mental health – and to consider cutting it out completely if it impacts your everyday life.
But, for those who kicked off the new year with an alcohol break, you may find it challenging to stick to your resolve during the biggest beer-drinking holiday of the year. So, what can you do if you still want to celebrate St. Patrick’s Day while abstaining from alcohol? 
If you still want to go out with your friends, sometimes it helps to just give your hands something else to do. Often, I struggle at parties because I don't have a drink in my hand to sip when there's a lull in the conversation. But there are plenty of mocktails and non-alcoholic beers that can give your hands something to do. Ask the bartender to put some green food dye into your non-alcoholic drink so you're still part of the Irish fun. Even better, bring an accountability partner with you who will stay sober and make sure you don’t succumb to peer-pressure.
There's also nothing wrong with avoiding outings at bars, which is what I’m planning to do for probably the first time since I turned 21. Prioritizing your own health is what's most important. I will still be dressed head to toe in green while eating corned beef and cabbage – with a Shamrock Shake from McDonald’s instead of a glass of green beer or whiskey. My husband and I also enjoy watching the movies “P.S. I Love You” and Disney’s “Luck of the Irish” on St. Patrick’s Day. Some other good Irish flicks include “Once,” “Brooklyn,” “Waking Ned Devine,” “The Departed,” and “The Quiet Man.” 
Irish festivals will also be held throughout Michigan this year. These family-friendly events include plenty of things to do that don’t involve drinking, such as parades, live music, dancing, crafts, and, of course, lots of food. For a list of St. Patrick’s Day events happening around the state, visit Pure Michigan.
If you’re still struggling not to drink, remind yourself why you’re doing what you’re doing. Excessive alcohol use can lead to high blood pressure, heart disease, stroke, liver disease, digestive problems, a weakened immune system, memory problems, and mental health problems like depression and anxiety. At the very least, remind yourself of the money you will be saving on your bar tab.

More events you can enjoy without drinking:

  • The 21st annual Corktown Races will take place Sunday, March 10, starting and finishing at Roosevelt Park in Detroit.
  • The Grammy-nominated, Irish-American group Cherish the Ladies will be performing at the West Michigan Symphony at Frauenthal Theater in Muskegon on Friday, March 15.
  • Premier Pet Supply will be offering St. Patrick’s Day themed pet portraits at their Troy location on Sunday, March 10 and at their Detroit location on Saturday, March 16. 
  • The 51st annual Bay City St. Patrick’s Day Races will take place Saturday, March 16 and Sunday, March 17.
  • The historic Players Playhouse in Detroit will be hosting a St. Patrick’s Day concert and fundraiser, featuring the band the Balduck Mountain Ramblers, on March 16.
  • Bring your kids to Leprechaun Day at Canterbury Village in Lake Orion on March 16, featuring a scavenger hunt, bounce house, magic shows, and Irish dancers.
  • Sugar Shack Bakery will be hosting a St. Patrick’s Day Cookie Decorating Class on March 16 at Yours Truly Event Venue in Ypsilanti.
  • The 19th Annual St. Patrick's Day Celebration at the Grand Ledge Opera House takes place March 16 and will feature performances by the Glen Erin Pipe Band, the Hubbardston and McCartney Irish Dancers, and the Hayes Intermediate Choir.
  • Enjoy winter activities, like skiing, biking, snowshoeing, ice skating and more, during Celts and Kayaks on March 16 at Crystal Mountain in Thompsonville.
  • The Lucky Leprechaun Glow Skate at United Skates of America in Lincoln Park will take place at noon March 17 and then the St. Patrick’s Day Skate event with all-you-can eat pizza at 6 p.m. that night.
  • Join the Northern Lights Irish Dancers for a Community Ceili – a traditional Irish folk dance – on March 17 at the Up North Arts/NLDA Building in Cadillac.
Opinions expressed in this blog belong solely to the author and do not necessarily reflect the opinions or beliefs of Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan or its subsidiaries and affiliates.

Photo credit: Courtesy of Monica Drake.

A Healthier Michigan is sponsored by Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan, a nonprofit, independent licensee of the Blue Cross Blue Shield Association.
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