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5 Tips for Staying Sober During the Calgary Stampede


It’s the final weekend of the Calgary Stampede and while this annual rodeo means lots of fun for most of the city, it can be a hard time for those in recovery.  With plenty of beer gardens, parties and late night hours, the Stampede has been described as ‘Cancun on spring break with western wear’.  This party atmosphere has been increasingly examined by the media; CBC reached out to our Calgary clinic for comment on how it effects those with addiction.

So how can you enjoy the final weekend of Stampede without compromising your recovery? Here are some expanded tips from our clinicians:

1. Stay Connected

Stay in touch with others in recovery. Talk to them about the upcoming events and your feelings around them. These are people who understand you, what you’re going through and can help support your through it.

2. Take Care of Yourself

Since this could be a very triggering time, it’s essential that you practice self-care. Get plenty of rest, some exercise, meditate, eat three healthy meals a day. Be mindful of feelings of anger, loneliness or longing and take action to address them.

3. Create New Ways to Celebrate

The same old places and events can trigger negative urges, so plan some new ways to enjoy the Stampede. This may mean staying out of the party tents or off the midway, and going to more of the animal demonstrations.

4. Have an Escape Plan

There is nothing wrong with having a planned exit time from any gathering. Having your own transportation is key; no need to wait around for your ride in a situation you don’t feel comfortable in. You can plan exactly how long you’re staying at an event, and have a sober friend check in with you at your planned exit time.  Or, have a list of sober friends you can call if you’re at an event and you feel triggered.

5. Respect Your Fear

There’s nothing wrong with having a little healthy fear around a party focused event like the Calgary Stampede, especially if you’re new in recovery. Respect that fear, and stay away if you need to. There’s also nothing wrong with taking a year off – your sobriety is more important than your worries of missing out.  You can always enjoy the Stampede next year, when you’re a little more stable in your recovery.

Remember that we’re hear for you.  Should you have trouble with substance abuse during the Stampede you can always call our Calgary office at  587-350-6818.