At four years sober, looking back I can see how my whole life revolved around alcohol.
St. Paddy’s Day is, of course, a huge drinking holiday. All I needed in the past was alcohol to make it a success.
So much so, that it was my first night out just 6 weeks after my first daughter was born 17 years ago.
On March 17, 2005 I got out of my nursing pajamas and into my kelly green to hit up an Irish pub with a friend while hubs stayed home alone with the baby for the first time ever.
I loved it.
I was impressed with my hot mom body (don’t hate me).
I had a skinny waist, brand new boobs, and insatiable desire for a night out of the house. I was ready to hit the scene and show it all off.
I was thrilled when the opportunity spontaneously arose. I leapt into that pub, chugged my green beer, and announced to everyone that I was (gasp!) a new mom.
I was just begging for attention, and on an absolute high.
“Look at me, doing it all! A new Mom, still cool enough to party! I have a brand new baby at home!”
How impressive it was of me to be out and about already.
I was having a life and being a Mom, as soon as baby girl was 6 weeks old.
I was quite pleased with myself, telling all the younger gals in the bathroom, someday they could be like me too! It's the best! I have never wanted to leave a party and this time was no different. I did not want this good time to end.
After just a few hours my body had other ideas.
It told me it was time to go. Immediately.
I got home and pumped and dumped for the first time.
In my imagination, I thought having a baby would finally be the thing to make me want to stay home and magically turn into some sort of pure matronly role model.
How disappointing that the party girl was still there inside me, begging for more.
I wrote about my first St. Paddy’s Days sober, you can read them here:
Even when I was no longer drinking, I was still surrounding my Irish holiday around bars and alcohol. As if that is the only way to have a good time. I was doing the same things, just having a different drink. I even dragged my kids around for our previous traditions. Seeing Irish dancers (in a bar), eating corned beef (in a bar), going to parades (known for drunken antics).
At 4 years sober I am a different person. I have no desire to wait in line to get into a bar. If an Irish pub is not full on St. Patrick's Day, is that even a place you want to be? Once you get in, if the crowd is having a rowdy "good time" you are sure to be spilled on immediately. Being around people who are over indulging is not a fun time for me anymore. I am not sure it ever was. I just never knew any other options so I forced myself to follow suit. I never even considered other ideas.
As a sober person there is more celebrating, not less. It looks so much different.
By the time St. Patrick’s Day arrives, I’ve already had two Shamrock Shakes, and a decadent Lucky Charms Cookie the size of my hand. I still wear my green. I connect with my family out of state and we share our OOTD (outfits of the day) on the family group chat, along with our Wordle scores. I have completed a big work project and set aside time in my schedule for a sunny afternoon run. A beautiful hawk was circling above in teh sky and I was in absolute awe, as Whitney Houston was singing in my airpods. When I return I give myself a rest while I finish a book (love that feeling). I am taking the night off from making dinner and have my favorite snack foods (bacon wrapped jalapenos) to savor. I filled out a March Madness bracket for the first time ever. My plan is to stay home, tuck in with and cuddle up with my husband, our teenage daughters, sweet dog, and watch basketball. The brackets participants range from my, youngest 4 year old niece, to my inlaws well into their 70’s. We enjoy lots of heated competition and smack talk.
These simple pleasures and connections bring me more joy than drinking ever did.
This weekend is also my birthday weekend. I have plans for a rooftop dinner in the city with girlfriends, an 8K Shamrock Shuffle Run, completing my 75Hard Challenge, and enjoying my first steak of the year at a fancy local steakhouse. I bought myself my first real hiking backpack for my hiking trips coming up this spring and summer.
My celebrations are not the rip roaring drunken escapades of years past. I am not meeting any random new best friends in the bathroom. I am not hearing the bagpipes. I am not waking up with regret.
I am happy.
I am content.
I am at peace.
I am not destroying myself in the name of St. Patrick.
This year, St. Paddy’s Day is also just a Thursday. I like Thursdays. I always work to have a good Thursday. I don’t need a holiday to spark joy. I wake up with joy. And guess what? Tomorrow I will too.
Happy St. Patrick's Day and have a great March 18th too!