It is St. Patrick’s Day, and around the world nearly 33 million adults will be hitting the local bar scene, ready to toast one another with cold glasses of stout and beer tinged with green dye. This age-old festival—with its ever shrinking religious undertones—seems to be known above all else as a celebration that can only be complete with a bottle of booze. For the newly sober alcoholic, this may be yet another reminder of lost conviviality and companionship. Experience shows that in recovery this feeling of loss need not apply.
In America, millions of people identify as alcoholic. Many of those will look past the drinking games with hardly an upward glance. For people without an active program of recovery, the idea of floating through the holiday unscathed seems impossible. Some may vow to shut themselves up for the evening in order to avoid temptation. Still others will be unable to follow through with promises to stay sober at all; the obsession that they will somehow avoid the repeated behavior of alcoholism will return full force.
Our sobriety doesn’t have to rely on tricks or luck. Alcoholics can walk in freedom through active engagement in a program of recovery.
While no one would suggest that a client exiting treatment should stroll into a restaurant hosting a liquor laden St. Patty’s day feast, the need to expend all energy avoiding alcohol shifts as the alcoholic progresses along the journey of recovery. Fear of such gatherings is replaced by a genuine desire to pour into activities that fulfill us as spiritual and emotional beings. When we begin to engage in recovery, relationships are restored, new friendships with responsible adults flourish and our world view changes. This is not simply because we have decided to run away from the darkness of addiction, but because we have made a sincere effort to run towards the blessings of recovery.
Those willing to reclaim their lives come to learn that they need no longer be trapped by a fearful aversion to all circumstances which include drinking. Rather, alcoholics in recovery can walk in freedom because they have been renewed by an experience that is far more compelling than that of their old life. It is wildly important that those seeking help understand that sobriety need not be contingent merely on luck or hopeful thinking. Today, sobriety can be lived out in the fruitful pursuit of activities that fuel and inspire the spirit.
We hope that you have a very happy (sober) St. Patrick’s Day!