We like to think that a holiday which is at the core meaningless to most Americans wouldn’t have an effect on us when we are new to sobriety. However, the way that addiction and alcoholism intricately influence the brain is complex. We do feel nostalgic for St. Patrick’s Day indulgences and that is normal because our brains associate happy memories of pleasure with drugs and alcohol. Even if our previous St. Paddy’s Days ended in a green-covered disaster, our brains still remember the euphoric effects which came with any drinking or drug use on that day.
Abstaining from any and all events or celebrations which might remind us of our addiction is a recipe for boredom in life. Recovery is not about running away from life but running toward it- even when we are decked out in a ridiculous green costume. Participating in the hilarity of celebrations like St. Patrick’s Day is even more fun when you are sober. You remember more of it. You are present for more of it. You get to witness the heavily intoxicated people make mistakes, get sick, and act in ways that you no longer act because of your choice to stay sober. Grab your best green farb, throw some shamrocks on, and get ready to eat some corn beef hash because you can still rage on St. Patrick’s Day without getting drunk or high.
Thankfully, Portland is full of amazing events for St. Paddy’s celebrations, including the Shamrock Run. Men at Tree House Recovery focus on their fitness as a primary part of their treatment program. Getting your treatment or sober living mates together for a St. Patrick’s Day Run is a great way to enjoy the holiday while participating in an activity which positively contributes to your recovery. On March 18, Portland celebrates 40 years of the Shamrock Run at Tom McCall Waterfront Park. The run admits 3,000 for the half marathon and 1,000 for the 1k. As to be expected from our beloved Portland, running, walking, or dancing are accepted.
In typical Portland fashion, there will be alternative events to attend, like a city wide scavenger hunt- a great way to bond with sober peers. To dive deeper into the irish culture, your best bet is heading to a Portland staple: McMenamins. Over the top, McMenamins will have live Irish music, Irish Dancers, Bagpipe players, and much more. The food at a McMenamins location is always good. You can expect that their Irish food specials for the day will be especially delicious.
Staying Sober Through St. Paddy’s
Your primary purpose in recovery is to stay sober, no matter what. Temptations will be strong on St. Paddy’s Day so long as you are giving that temptation power. Keep in mind that there is safety in numbers. Don’t go to these events alone. Gather a crew of fellow leprechauns and enjoy Portland’s weirdness together. Hold each other accountable and check in regularly. If you have cravings, talk them out. Everyone with you will understand. Take a few deep breaths and remember that cravings are part of addiction, but don’t have to lead to relapse. Throw yourself into having fun and party like an Irishman- a sober one, that is.
Thankfully, there is a way to heal. If you have found yourself trapped by the cycle of addiction, there is hope. Tree House Recovery in Portland, Oregon, shows men how to find freedom from addiction. Creating sustainable recovery through sustainable change, our programs help men reclaim their lives mind, body, and spirit. Call us today for information: (503) 850-2474