Drinking On St. Patrick’s Day, Green Around the Gills

March 12, 2014 Alistair McHarg

In the world of mental illness and mental health there is a strange border territory where victims and criminals mingle, cause and effect chase one another round and round the barn, and responsibility is almost impossible to assign. I am speaking, naturally, of drug and alcohol abuse.

In the eyes of some, drug and alcohol abusers are simply victims of their own hard-wiring, guiltless as the man who, strolling down a city sidewalk one fine spring morning, is crushed to death when the rope being used by non-union piano movers to transport a Baldwin upright into a 4th floor cold water walk-up apartment casts aside its amateurishly tied knots and surrenders to gravity.

In the eyes of others, dipsomaniacs and drug abusers are merely self-destructive whackadoomians intent on beating the reaper to his work. There is little sympathy to be found among the members of this chilly community.Why do Irish people drink?

But no matter where you stand, sit, or fall on this thorny subject, the arrival of St. Patrick’s Day presents challenges to rival any other holiday on the calendar because it is, quite unapologetically, a love song to intoxication, a libation celebration.

While we may observe that Emerald Islanders have added much to world culture, rigorous honesty compels us to point out that it was done in spite of, not because of, alcohol. So where does this leave us? How shall we respond to the boisterous parades and headlong descent into intoxicant-induced stupor?

I believe we should respond with sympathy. Please do not misunderstand; I cannot condone this behavior. As a dipsomaniac in recovery myself it is essential that I do nothing to glamorize the scourge that is alcohol. But, though I may have suffered mightily at the hands, and claws, of hideous monsters driving me to drink, I never had to face one terrifying entity the Irish live with every day.

Leprechauns. Even writing the word gives me chills. How creepy can you possibly get?

So this St. Patrick’s Day, try to be a little understanding as the green beer flows and behavior grows increasingly pugnacious and irrational. We all have demons, yes. But ask yourself this; if you saw leprechauns every morning, would you be strong enough to face them on your own?

APA Reference
McHarg, A. (2014, March 12). Drinking On St. Patrick’s Day, Green Around the Gills, HealthyPlace. Retrieved on 2024, July 19 from

Author: Alistair McHarg

March, 12 2014 at 6:53 am

Hi Alistair! It's true,a little understanding and sympathy can go a long way. My dad was an alcoholic,and he loved St. Pat's day, the parades,green beer and all. He tried AA a few times but didn't have much luck at it. He did eventually quit drinking and smoking much to the cost of his lungs and COPD. As for leprechauns, I don't mind them too much, it's the banshees I worry about-all that screaming and death 'round the corner thing. Have a great week, and stay safe during these blizzarding storms that are out there today.

In reply to by Anonymous (not verified)

Alistair McHarg
March, 12 2014 at 2:40 pm

Not easy having a dipsomaniacal parent; my sympathies.

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