Why we should consider celebrating St. Patrick’s Day sober

March 3, 2020

St. Patrick’s Day lands on a Tuesday this year, and even in the middle of the work week, millions of Americans will flock together to see the parades, participate in green traditions and most pertinently, get totally wasted.

Getting drunk on St. Patrick’s has with the holiday become as synonymous as love letters on Valentine’s Day. In fact, a study conducted by SCRAM systems suggests that St. Patrick’s Day has become the fourth most popular drinking day in the United States. This has resulted in a significant spike in alcohol-related crashes and DUI’s on the holiday.

I’m not trying to scare you away from your St. Patrick’s plans, but I can’t help but notice the strange dialogue surrounding binge drinking and holidays.

I have to say as a well-seasoned (and legal) college student, I have had more “meh” experiences with alcohol than anything else. A small buzz, a small headache. A big buzz, a big headache. Repeat. Yet since I turned 21, at every social gathering, event or celebration, I am not only offered drinks but encouraged to get trashed. It’s not like a single glass of watered-down vodka cranberry will add to the event at all. And when I have participated, it was posted on social media — as if we had the best night of our lives. It’s two dimensional and perpetuates the idea that alcohol not only enhances these experiences but is essential to them.

Okay, so here is the point that I am trying to make: alcohol should not be the marker of whether something was a “good time.”

For me, the scales start to tip in the direction of unhealthy encouragement when it becomes binge drinking.

Turning a blind eye to binge drinking because it’s a holiday is an incredibly irresponsible practice. According to the CDC, “binge drinking is the most costly and lethal type of alcohol use in the United States.” Yet, somehow, it’s totally accepted in most social groups.

I want to reiterate that it’s okay to drink and even be drunk. But just because a day is considered a holiday, doesn’t make it a good reason to throw your knowledge about safe drinking practices out the window.

If you are drinking heavily, stay with a group of people you trust. Make sure that if you or your friends are drinking, a designated driver is confirmed beforehand. Do not take drinks from strangers. Finally, and maybe most importantly, know your limit! This year, hundreds of Americans will suffer from alcohol poisoning the week of St. Patrick’s. You don’t have to be one of them.

Even more central to my point is you don’t have to drink at all if you don’t want to. There are so many ways to have fun on St. Patty’s without green beer, I promise.

Locally, you can attend the Colorado Springs St. Patty’s Day Parade or participate in the lucky leprechaun 5k. You could also go to clubs and dance with your friends soberly.

Whatever you decide to do, instead of relying on the “luck of the Irish,” make sure you have a safe game plan for your St. Patty’s Day celebration.