Since around the ninth or tenth century, people in Ireland have been observing the Roman Catholic feast day of St. Patrick on March 17.1 Ironically, it started as a religious holiday to celebrate St. Patrick’s death but has become a national day of drinking and partying.
Binge Drinking and St. Patrick’s Day
It is believed that the connection between drinking alcohol and the holiday is because St. Patrick’s Day falls during the Christian season of Lent. Irish families would traditionally attend church in the morning and celebrate in the afternoon.1
Did you know that binge drinking is consuming four or five drinks in two hours?1 That is because binge drinking is when you drink enough alcohol to bring your blood-alcohol content past the legal limit for driving.2
On St. Patrick’s Day, binge drinking is encouraged as many celebrate the holiday by consuming large amounts of alcohol and partying throughout the day, even starting early and finishing late at night. There are many negative effects to binge drinking but for some, it can fuel their already existing drinking problem or worse, lead to death.
Short-term effects of binge drinking include3:
- Poor motor control and slower reaction times
- Shorter attention span
- Low blood pressure
- Slower breathing
- Having “blackouts,” or gaps in your memory
- Higher risk of being a victim of a crime
- Miscarriage or stillbirth in pregnant women, or fetal alcohol spectrum disorders in their babies
- Alcohol poisoning, which can lead to vomiting, seizures, a coma, and death
Some long-term effects of binge drinking include3:
- Weight gain
- Trouble sleeping
- Mental health issues
- High blood pressure
- Damage to the brain and other organs
- Memory loss
- Weakened immune system
- Heart disease
- Liver problems
- Higher chances of breast, throat, esophagus, or colon cancer
Tips and Tricks for Staying Sober on St. Patrick’s Day
1. Don’t be alone
It is important to find company in someone you love and trust, someone who may celebrate the holiday with you without drinking alcohol. They can be a sort of distraction to keep your mind busy. We have listed this as number one because it can be the most effective way to avoid drinking. Much like the second point on this list, it is important to be with someone who is also not going to enable your addiction. A former addict or your sponsor (if you have one) may be good options for company in your time of need.
2. Find a drinking or substance abuse support group meeting
There are many resources for people in recovery. Meeting with like-minded individuals and sharing experiences can help. People who are battling the same issues may be exactly what you need to stay sober on St. Patrick’s Day and beyond that. Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) and Narcotics Anonymous (NA) are two very popular options that can be easily searched for in your area. You may also want to attend some kind of religious setting to help combat your addiction(s) such as the church, synagogue, or mosque.
3. Have a sober party
Invite your friends and have a good time. Having fun doesn’t require alcohol so continue doing the things you love to do to keep recovering. Some ways to have a sober party would be to control exactly what food and drinks are consumed there. Invite people who are completely willing to give up alcohol for the night. Create a theme for your party such as an ugly sweater party, anything but clothes party, toga party, a 70’s throwback party, and more. Include fun activities for your party. These activities could include watching a movie for a viewing party, incorporating fun games such as an egg toss, red rover or tug of war, having a board game night, throwing a BBQ, and much more.
4. Go outside
Find your local state park or neighborhood park, go to the beach, visit the lake or just walk around your neighborhood. Make healthy choices that get your mind off drinking. Going outside has proven to have many health and mental benefits. Going outside can lower blood pressure, reduce stress, improve mood and focus, it can help you heal quicker and support good aging.
5. Take a vacation
Get out of town and most importantly get out of your head for a little while. Pick a place that may not celebrate the holiday and avoid other temptations that could lead to drinking. Rest, relax, and reset your mind to help you recover from your addiction. Even if you may not be addicted to drugs or alcohol, taking a vacation is the perfect way to replace the “high” you may experience from using.
6. Seek help
If you or someone you know is struggling with alcohol consumption, seek help. While binge drinking often occurs sporadically or on holidays like St. Patrick’s Day, engaging in this pattern of behavior long-term can lead to alcoholism. At this point, not only can one’s physical health suffer, their mental health and relationships with loved ones suffer as well.
If you need help, our drug and alcohol treatment centers offer an array of services and techniques to help you quit drinking and adjust to a sober lifestyle. From nationwide detox programs to manage withdrawals to substance-specific treatment programs, our drug addiction treatment centers offer everything you or a loved one needs to get and stay sober.
Cause of Binge Drinking
The Connection Between College Binge Drinking and Eating Disorders
- History - History of St. Patrick’s Day
- WebMD - Binge Drinking
- NIH -
- Britannica - Lent
- Sharp - 5 ways being outdoors can make you healthier and happier