Whether you find yourself at a nice friendly gathering, or in a pub full of like-minded strangers, alcohol can sometimes be the unifying factor that makes St. Patrick’s Day so enjoyable. Though holidays like this one can give us an excuse to let loose and celebrate, it also leaves us susceptible to drinking beyond our limits.

March 17th can be potentially used as an excuse to drink more than one normally would—sometimes resulting in catastrophic consequences. According to Alcohol.org (n.d.), St. Patrick’s Day is the third “Booziest Holiday” in the United States, with 36% of men associating the holiday with drinking. To put things into perspective, approximately 13 million pints of Guinness are consumed worldwide on this Irish holiday—not including other types of green drinks offered on this special day.

On St. Patrick’s Day, every 46 minutes there is an alcohol related accident that claims a life and of those fatal car crashes, 75% of them involve a driver two times over the legal drinking limit.

The CDC reports that binge drinking and similar behaviors are associated with a host of health problems, including but not limited to:

  • Unintentional injuries
  • Intentional injuries
  • Sexually transmitted diseases
  • Liver disease
  • Neurological damage
  • Alcohol poisoning

Not many people may know this but staying sober is more of an Irish tradition than you think. In fact, up until a few decades ago, businesses and pubs were closed on St. Patty’s, since it is a religious holiday. Now, you may be thinking—how in the world can I stay sober on a day like this?!? While it is tempting to give into the drinking activities, there are so many other things to do that day!

  • Patty’s Day weekend is the 70th Annual Albany St. Patrick’s Day Parade on March 14th, 2020. Irish pipers, step dancers, and organizations will march through the City of Albany! The parade starts at 2PM on Quail St. and Central Avenue and will continue on to States Street and Green Street.
  • On the same day, in Lake George, Duffy’s will be hosting the Sham “Rock” the Block event—including traditional live Irish music, Celtic games, Irish food, arts and crafts, children’s activities, etc.!
  • Shaker Rd Fire Department is hosting a Corned Beef and Cabbage Dinner Fundraiser on March 17th, 2020 from 4-7pm (or until sold out).

If the party scene is for you but want to stay sober, here are a few tips!

  • Be the designated driver/offer to be the sober one—by doing so, the pressures to drink will not hinder your ability to have a good time.
  • Find a buddy who will be sober with you—having someone who will be there with you while everyone else is intoxicated makes things a bit more bearable.
  • Host your own party—throw a green themed or Irish-themed party. The choice to include alcohol is yours, since it is your own home!
  • Instead of attending the event, work at the event—you’ll be too busy working to drink alcohol.

For those of you that decide to enjoy a bar crawl with friends, Harding & Mazzotti, LLP will be offering free cab rides from 12PM to 12AM on March 17th , 2020—more info at https://www.albany.com/event/free-st-patricks-day-cab-rides-home-69922/.

By: Hilary Paredes, MHC Intern