St. Patrick’s Day and Binge Drinking

St. Patrick’s Day is an enjoyable holiday for people of all ages. This holiday is full of traditions, including wearing green, pinching others who are not wearing green, turning the Chicago River green, wearing Shamrocks and, of course, binge drinking to excess. St. Patrick’s Day and binge drinking always seem to go hand-in-hand. Learn the history, sobering statistics, and how you can enjoy a safe and sober St. Patrick’s Day.

Understanding St. Patrick’s Day and Binge Drinking

St. Patrick’s Day first began to honor Saint Patrick on the anniversary of his death. Since this anniversary falls during the Catholic tradition of Lent, in which most indulgences are restricted, St. Patrick’s Day is seen as the one exception to the rule. Since it is the one day that Lent “doesn’t apply”, drinking and eating to excess has become a tradition on St. Patrick’s Day that has carried over beyond religions.

What is Binge Drinking?

For men, binge drinking is defined as consuming five or more drinks within about two hours and, for women, it’s defined as consuming four or more drinks within about two hours. About 1 in 6 U.S. adults reported binge drinking in 2015, and not all people who binge drink suffer from alcohol use disorder. However, excessive alcohol use is the fourth leading preventable cause of death in the United States.

Statistics on St. Patrick’s Day and Binge Drinking

Binge drinking presents its own set of dangerous risks, and on St. Patrick’s Day, these can rise to larger numbers. Some sobering statistics on St. Patrick’s Day and binge drinking include:

  • Every 46 minutes an alcohol-related accident claims a life on St. Patrick’s Day
  • Approximately 276 people died in drunk-driving accidents on St. Patrick’s weekends
  • 75 percent of fatal car crashes involve a driver two times over the legal drinking limit
  • St. Patrick’s Day is the 4th most popular drinking day during the year, behind New Year’s Eve, Christmas, and the Fourth of July
  • 69% of car accident fatalities after midnight – the morning of March 18th – involve a drunk driver
  • According to a Brown University addiction study, St. Patrick’s Day is the #1 day of the year for the introduction of binge drinking to high school & college kids

Enjoying a Sober St. Patrick’s Day

The good news about St. Patrick’s Day is that it can still be an enjoyable holiday for people who are in recovery, are sober, or otherwise choose not to binge drink. If you are looking for some ways to enjoy a sober St. Patrick’s Day and binge drinking is not your thing, here are some ideas:

  • Create a family tradition. Showing your children that St. Patrick’s Day isn’t all about how many bottles of Guinness the adults can chug will set them up with healthy habits for a lifetime. The good news is you can make this holiday all your own — put on a St. Patrick’s Day-themed movie, bake some cookies, wear green, and enjoy!
  • Say “No”. Don’t chance a possibly tempting situation and run the risk of a relapse. If you are invited to a function or party that you’re not comfortable attending, don’t feel like you have to. Feel comfortable saying “no” to plans and as much as possible in advance.
  • Head to a meeting. Is the thought of a sober St. Patrick’s Day too tempting? It might be best to skip the holiday this year and surround yourself with as much sober support as possible to get through it, including heading to a meeting instead of a celebration.
  • Celebrate other Irish traditions. Drinking culture isn’t the only Irish-American tradition. There are many other wonderful Irish traditions that date back thousands of years, so take part in some of those! This can include cooking up some traditional Irish recipes, such as corned beef and cabbage, watching documentaries about Ireland’s history, or learning some Gaelic phrases.
  • Find a sober meetup. Check out this site for some places to get together with other like-minded people to enjoy St. Patrick’s Day sober-style.

About Cliffside Malibu

Navigating holidays while sober can be a challenge for some — and this doesn’t just go for the end-of-the-year holidays. All holidays throughout the year, such as St. Patrick’s day, can present their own triggers and challenges for many individuals. It can be difficult for some, but luckily, there is always help available if you find that your St. Patrick’s Day binge drinking has gone too far, or if you’ve found yourself in a relapse situation.

Since no two addictions are the same, we develop individualized treatment plans for every client at Cliffside Malibu. We are committed to providing evidence-based treatment through a continuum of care model across a range of levels of care, including medically supervised detox, residential treatment, day treatment, and outpatient services. Our program includes family therapy and holistic therapy, as well. Whether an individual is suffering from substance abuse and/or alcohol addiction, our programs are structured to create a supportive environment where healing can begin.

In addition to world-class treatment, Cliffside Malibu offers luxury accommodations, a serene environment, five-star dining, and plentiful amenities. We understand that addiction treatment is a rigorous process. Therefore, we provide for your comfort and relaxation at every turn, allowing you to rejuvenate, and meet the demands of treatment with your greatest energy and attention.

For more information on Cliffside Malibu, visit