Confessions

A Priest’s Guide to Confessing Your St. Patrick’s Day Sins

How to fess up to last night’s transgressions, even when you’ve got a killer hangover

Its St. Patrick’s Day, which means a tide of green-clad frat bros have probably already kicked down your front door and puked in your shoes. This survival guide is designed to get you through the worst day of the year in as few pieces as possible.

You screwed up, big time. You’re not quite sure how things got off the rails last night, but now it’s the morning after St. Patrick’s Day and you’re left in the scummy wake of your previous night’s transgressions. While it might be tempting to run away from your problems — or drown your sorrows in more booze — that’s just going to make things worse. Instead, make things right for all of your St. Patrick’s Day sins with some advice from a couple of priests (at least, for those sins that you actually remember committing).

Telling Your Roommate That You Ate All Their Pizza

“Just explain to them that you were hungry, and that they weren’t there and yet their pizza was, so you ate it,” says Rev. George E. Baker, pastor at St. Mary’s Church in Obernburg, New York. Don’t just stop there though, as it’s important to make up for your sins. With this in mind, Baker recommends that you promptly give a call to GrubHub and order your buddy a new pizza.

Telling Whoever You Share a Bank Account With That You Threw Up In an Uber

“Lies have a way of catching up with you, so I feel that honesty is the best policy, especially when it comes to your partner,” says Baker. “Also, spouses aren’t stupid. If you come into the house smelling of puke, and they later find a huge bill taken out of your bank account, it won’t take long for them to figure things out.” For this one though, it’s probably best to fess up early in the day, before your significant other discovers that $300 detailing fee.

Admitting To Your Significant Other That You Drunk-Texted Your Ex

“You’ve got to blame this one on the booze,” says Rev. Jonathan Toborowski, pastor of the Immaculate Conception Church in Annandale, New Jersey. While it’s never good to text your ex while you’re drinking, it’s a temptation that a great many people give in to. If you made the mistake of scrolling through your contacts and texting a “hello” to that old girlfriend you swore you’d never speak to again, the best thing to do is admit how drunk you were to your current significant other and accept that they’re probably not going to be very happy about it for a while.

It’s not enough to just say “sorry” and hope it blows over in a week, though: Toborowski recommends that you also remove that number from your phone and let your partner know that you’ve done so. “The safest bet is to take the number out of your contacts list so that you remove the possibility of it happening again. Which is a good guideline for any sin — to remove the temptation,” says Toborowski.

Telling People About Your New, Wicked Cool Tattoo

Who you’re going to have to come clean to on this one is going to depend on where on your body you got your new ink — telling your spouse about your Richard Nixon back tattoo, for example, might be a little different from explaining to your employer why you got a Post Malone face tat. Regardless, Toborowski says you shouldn’t feel ashamed. “I tend to think that, generally, if someone can be convinced to do something while they’re drunk, then somewhere deep inside they really wanted to do it. So don’t try to explain it away as a mistake — instead, just admit that it’s something you’ve actually wanted.”

Or, if you made the mistake of misspelling a foreign language tattoo, you may just need to come clean to a tattoo removal place as quickly as possible.

Telling Your Boss That You Responded To Emails While You Were Shitfaced

For this one, Toborowski says that it might make sense to hold back and wait for the consequences before spilling your guts. It might blow over if it’s a minor offense, and Toborowski adds that “some people are better thinkers with a little buzz on,” so maybe that drunken email was a good thing.

But, if you’ve checked your sent messages and you’ve realized that you replied all with a drunken tirade, Toborowski says, “you’ll just have to be honest to your boss and admit you’d been drinking.” Feck.

Telling Your Landlord That You Put a Hole in Your Wall

“This is a case where a white lie might be alright,” Baker says. Since it’s going to come out of your security deposit anyway, Baker says to, “say that you had a niece or nephew over and they were playing a bit rough and a ball hit the wall or something. That’s probably better than explaining that you put your friend’s head through the wall.”

Telling Your One Phone Call That You’ve Been Arrested For Streaking

“It depends who you’re calling,” says Toborowski. “If it’s a friend, they may never let you live it down, assuming they haven’t been arrested with you. So for them, you may want to find another reason why you’ve been arrested.” If you’re calling your parents or even your spouse, however, Toborowski says that you may want to fess up with that old standby: “Everyone else was doing it.”

Telling Your Insurance Company That You’ve Wrecked Your Car

“They’re ready for it, that’s the business they’re in,” explains Toborowski. He compares this one to going to confession: “A lot of people try to find a creative way to say what they’ve done, but I always say that you don’t have to worry about me, God is just working through me and there’s nothing he doesn’t already know. In a way, working with an insurance company is similar — the accident has already happened, so don’t worry about coming up with a way to ‘sell’ it, just call them and tell them what happened. Especially considering there are cameras everywhere now, so they may find out the real story anyway.”

Telling Your Priest That You Got Blasted on St. Patrick’s Day, Despite Giving Up Booze for Lent

In a situation like this, Baker says, “If you make a private vow or promise that you’re not going to touch alcohol for those 40 days and you divert from that, you have to hold yourself accountable and put the onus on yourself. So if you come to confession and admit to being gluttonous, I might recommend for you to do some charitable works, or to donate food or money to a good cause. I’d also recommend that you do some of your own private prayers to God. Basically, I try to convey to people that I’m just an intermediary, and though I can forgive them of whatever sins they’ve committed, the onus is on them to complete the sacrament and to do something to show their penitence.”

Also, Baker says that it’s important to do what you can to avoid these sins in the future. Just to come to him and confess and then to commit the same sins over and over again kind of misses the point of confessing, he points out, as you’re supposed to learn from the experience.

Telling Your Friend That You’ve Shared Their Darkest Secret

“That’s a big one,” says Baker. Violating the trust of a close friend is something you should never take lightly, and the consequences for doing so will likely be severe. To offer a comparison, Baker says that if he were to violate the trust of someone who had confessed their sins to him, he would be excommunicated from the church. Similarly, if you blab about how your best bud once made out with his cousin to a bunch of your friends, that friend of yours may never forgive you for it.

Baker adds that he’s seen this happen to friends who never reconcile over it, and usually the person who broke that trust is more haunted by it than the person who had the secret. Regardless, you’ll have to face the music on this one and tell your friend what happened. You can explain that you were drunk, but it’s important that you take full responsibility for your actions, and maybe, over time, you can regain that person’s trust.

Telling Your Significant Other That You Drunkenly Made Out With a Bartender

For a serious transgression like this, Baker says that you want to go to your spouse, sit them down and be as honest and conciliatory as you can be. While you shouldn’t wait long on this, he does recommend that you first come to terms with what the consequences might be. Might this mean you’ll be thrown out for a couple of weeks? Could it mean a divorce or separation? By knowing your spouse, you might have a good idea of what these consequences will be and to prepare yourself for that. At no point, though, does this mean to chicken out. Baker explains that being honest with your partner is paramount, especially if you’re married.

After you’ve told them what’s happened, accept the consequences and do what you can to reconcile the situation. Baker adds that going to a pastor or a relationship counselor of some kind may help you sort through this difficult period.

Finally, Baker explains that if you’re able to make things right in your relationship, you’ll have to know your limits going forward. “I’d follow the philosophy of Descartes to ‘know thyself.’ Part of that is understanding your limits. So if you know that you can have three drinks and be just fine, yet when you have four or five you begin to lose your inhibitions, it’s important to know your boundaries and respect them.”

Fessing Up To Any Other Sins You’ve Just Remembered

For any other transgressions that may suddenly come to the surface of your hazy memory, it’s generally best to just be truthful. Toborowski shares a bit of advice on this: “I had a lawyer friend once tell me that the truth never changes. You can tell me a story now or you can tell it to me ten years from now, and it won’t change. Lies however, you have to come up with them, then you have to remember them, and you have to remember who you told what. Because of that, the truth is always the easiest to remember.”

Even when it comes to that bartender.