It’s Not Always Easy Being Green: Staying Sober this St. Patrick’s Day

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This weekend, the Chicago River will flow green and people dressed in green across the country will flood the streets, bars, and restaurants for St. Patrick’s Day. The holiday, originally celebrated in honor of the patron saint of Ireland, has become a drinking holiday for many Americans. It can be easy for nondrinkers and those in recovery to feel excluded and uncomfortable during the holiday weekend. So here is Gateway’s guide to activities that do not involve alcohol and some tips in case you find yourself among the pint glasses:

Stay in and enjoy your favorite indoor activities.

Whether you prefer Netflix, Hulu, or Amazon Prime, there are plenty of streaming options to choose from. Marathon a new series or re-watch a classic film from the comfort of your own home. For a list of what is available for streaming this weekend, click here.

If sports are more to your liking, then, as you probably already know, you’re in luck—March Madness . College basketball is now at the forefront of the sports world with games playing nearly every minute of the day. Even if your ride or die team failed to make it into the tournament or is already out, there are plenty of exciting matchups and Cinderella stories waiting to happen. For the schedule of all this season’s games, click here.

Read a new novel or re-read your favorite one. For a list of books everyone should read, across different genres, click here.  If you’re in the mood for fresh books with the potential to become classics, here is a link of New York Times’ best sellers released this past weekend.

If you prefer something more hands-on, look no further than the DIY board on Pinterest to find tons of crafts to keep you busy through the weekend—and even through the remainder of the month.

Focus on any of your hobbies, whether it’s playing an instrument or baking. Whatever you decide to do, dedicate time this weekend to something you thoroughly enjoy.

If you start to feel cabin fever…

Use this weekend to see the newest movies in theaters. Blank Panther has shattered world records and received glowing reviews. If you’ve already seen Black Panther or classic superhero movies aren’t your thing, there are plenty of other options now showing, including A Wrinkle in Time and Tomb Raider. Click here for a complete list of movies currently playing.

The time for New Year’s resolutions may be over, but it’s never too late to make a new resolution or to revisit one you made in January. Heading to the gym or a fitness class is a sure way to get your body—and your mind—feeling good. Exercise is proven to signal the release of dopamine, which makes you feel happy.

Surrounding yourself with people who are also not drinking is the surest way to resist temptation. Even if you are not drinking, simply seeing alcohol can lead to cravings.

However, if you find yourself somewhere where other people are drinking, remember to keep your mind and hands occupied. Try to find a sober friend who will accompany you so you have additional support and someone to talk to. Mingle with other guests but shy away from areas where alcohol is located, like bars. Hold a cup of a non-alcoholic beverage, like a carbonated drink or seltzer water mixed with juice. This reduces the likelihood someone else will make a drink for you or ask if you want something to drink.

Always remember you know yourself best, and if you feel uncomfortable, it is okay to leave. Trust your instincts.

There is no wrong way to celebrate St. Patrick’s Day, and regardless of what everyone is doing, you should take the time to do what is best for you this weekend.

About Gateway Foundation Alcohol & Drug Treatment Centers
Every year Gateway Foundation Alcohol & Drug Treatment helps thousands of adults and teens get their life back on track and gives renewed hope to those who care about them. With 50 years of treatment experience, our specialists take the time to understand of the specific needs of each individual. We then develop a customized treatment plan with recommendations for the most appropriate care based on an individual's substance abuse and mental health history. As the largest provider of alcohol and drug abuse treatment in Illinois, Gateway has 11 treatment centers throughout the state. Gateway outpatient and residential substance abuse treatment programs are not one-size fits all, but unique treatment plans that give an individual the highest chance for a successful outcome. With insurance acceptance and a track record of success, Gateway Treatment Centers help thousands of individual’s successfully complete treatment each year, and find the hope they need to live again.

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