Sober for St. Patricks Day? You aren’t alone

It’s St. Patrick’s Day and the bars are open with the green beer flowing.
But if this is your first major well-known alcohol drinking day, you can feel, at best … feeling left out.
And at worst, prime for a relapse.
Andrew Shanks is five years sober and is also the manager of O’Hanlon’s on Scarth Street in Regina.
The social aspect of a day like St. Patrick’s Day – especially on a Friday – might be a lot for recently sober people to deal with.
“You can either choose to just sit it out and ignore it, or you can face it for what it is, and it might suck especially if it’s your first time doing it,” Shanks said. “But after you get past it, you realize, ‘Ok I just did my first birthday sober, I just did my first St. Patrick’s Day sober…’”
He said, then it builds up mental endurance so previously big social drinking days don’t become a big deal.
Shanks remembers what it was like when he chose to give up drinking. He said he wasn’t doing it for anyone else, and he has no judgement towards anyone that drinks – Shanks does run a busy bar in Regina. Shanks said he still has a wide majority of friends who do drink.
“I acknowledge the fact that drinking is fun. I’ve been sober five years and I’ll be the first to tell you that drinking is fun,” he said. “(But) I got to a point where I was having more bad experiences with it that good experiences with it. So I kind of had to sit down, weigh out my pros and cons, and figure out, am I still having fun with this or am I thinking I’m having so much fun with this but now it’s not so much fun anymore.”
He said he was temperamental and not really feeling like himself when he drank. He chose to not drink, without help form other organizations, though that might not necessarily best for everyone.
Many places like O’Hanlon’s offer non-alcoholic offerings as well, so you don’t have to miss out on the taste of beer while hanging out with friends, while still maintaining sobriety.
And there are benefits to sobriety as well, from some potentially unexpected places.
“Mentally, and physically there’s a ton of benefits,” Shanks said. “I engulfed myself in the fitness world, and taking care of myself. I started eating better.”
Shanks said he found that when he drank, he didn’t want to eat. Now, he can actually enjoy the culinary world once again.
“It’s such a simple but important aspect of life. When I got that, I (realized) I was lucky enough to be able to afford food on my plate, but I neglected it for so long because I was just too hungover or just not doing it…
“I’m just so grateful that I have that opportunity in my life.”

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