Although I was raised on kielbasy and pierogies, I have many Irish-through-marriage relatives.

One was my sweet Uncle Mickey McAndrew whose sensitivity planted a tender spot in my heart for the Irish.

And there was the kind, nonjudgmental spirit of my mother-in-law, whose maiden name just happened to be O’Brien. Next, add to the mix a son-in-law who was proud to be from the O’Connell clan.

Consequently, my children and grandchildren have Irish green and Polish red flowing through their veins.

In her book, Alcoholism: The Genetic Inheritance author Kathleen Whalen Kennedy soberly reminds us, “You inherited your mother’s eyes…Your father’s smile… And your grandfather’s drinking problem.”

F Scott Fitzgerald who penned The Great Gatsby and was a distant cousin of Francis Scott Key testified, “First you take a drink, then the drink takes a drink, then the drink takes you”. He died at the age of 44 from a heart attack brought on by years of alcohol abuse.

Many Nobel Prize winners for literature were rumored to have drinking problems. Among them, was Eugene O’Neill the son of Irish immigrants. It has been recorded his father suffered from alcoholism; his mother from an addiction to morphine, prescribed to relieve the pains of the difficult birth of her third son, Eugene.

Brendan Behan regarded as one of the greatest Irish writers and poets of all time described himself, as “a drinker with a writing problem.” He boasted, “I only drink on two occasions—when I’m thirsty and when I’m not.” Behan died at the age of 41 from complications of diabetes, jaundice, kidney and liver complains-aggravated by his renowned bouts with drink.

These facts are not meant to dampen your St Patty’s Day celebration. But now that you know, and before you take that last one for the road, consider your liver, respect your family, and call Uber.

Me, I’ll pass on the green beer and enjoy a green shamrock milkshake instead.

May your thoughts be as glad as the shamrocks. May your heart be as light as a song. May each day bring you bright, happy hours that stay with you all the year long. – Irish blessing