Remember happy hour? Before the pandemic, thousands of Calgarians would log off for the day and head to their local bar with coworkers or friends to unwind from the day over a cocktail or pint. This after-work socializing is an accepted part of society, and for many – harmless. But studies show, and Alberta’s Chief Medical Officer of Health has warned, that happy hour has now made its way into our homes, and alcohol consumption is on the rise in our province since the pandemic began.
If you were to seriously ask yourself about your alcohol consumption over the past year, would you say that it is affecting your home life, your work, your finances or your health? If it is, you’re not alone.
The past year has added undeniable new stressors into our lives. Working from home in cramped quarters with family members or young children, facing job instability or added responsibilities, and the threat of an invisible virus have many Calgarians looking for ways to help them cope. Alcohol may seem like the perfect antidote to numb the senses and take a break from thinking about it all, but it is a slippery slope for many.
At EHN Sandstone in Calgary, we know that the first step to living a fulfilled life that you deserve is acknowledging what might be holding you back. If you are ready to take back happy hour, we have compiled five recommended strategies on how to live alcohol-free. As always our team is here to connect you with support and resources by calling 866-295-8981.
1. Talk to your friends or family
A great first step in examining your relationship with alcohol is to reach out to someone you trust, such as a family member. Sharing your feelings, concerns and worries with someone who loves and cares for you may offer a new perspective. Our family program at EHN Sandstone offers education to your loved ones, so they can effectively support you in your recovery if you decide to seek treatment. If your family is unable to provide the support system you need, confiding in a close friend or colleague will help you to feel less isolated in your struggles. No matter how dark these times may feel, you do not need to go through this alone.
Journaling can be an extremely powerful tool in dealing with mental health, trauma, and dependencies. By releasing your inner thoughts in a comfortable and private way with a pen and paper, journaling may help you to identify the areas of your life that you are unhappy with, reflect on how your drinking makes you feel, understand your triggers, root causes, and more. It takes great strength to confront these issues, but getting these feelings off of your chest and into a journal may be your first step to sobriety and a happier, more fulfilling life.
3. Do your research
Spending some time researching and reflecting on whether your behaviour may need professional treatment will give you a clearer understanding of what exactly you are struggling with, as well as all the resources available to support you. The EHN Sandstone blog or EHN Canada blog are great places to start, with helpful information on the link between mental health and addiction, choosing an inpatient treatment centre, and more.
4. Locate resources in your community
Addiction creates and feeds off of isolation, so community and connection are fundamental parts of recovery. Many communities, including Calgary, have sober-living support groups in place that welcome newcomers, such as Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) or SMART Recovery. These groups invite individuals from all walks of life to come together in person and online to support one another through recovery and in maintaining sobriety. They are free of judgement and provide proven tools and techniques for leading thriving, empowered, sober lives.
5. Talk to a professional
If you have exhausted these approaches, or if they don’t sound like the right fit for you, EHN Sandstone is here to help. Upon calling EHN Sandstone, you will be greeted by one of our friendly Admissions Counsellors who will discuss your personal situation and make recommendations tailored to your needs. Our residential treatment center is discreet, and our team of healthcare, mental health, and addiction treatment professionals will be there every step of the way to support you through your recovery journey from admission to aftercare.
If you are struggling to control your alcohol consumption, we understand and are here to help you. To speak with one of our admissions counsellors, call us today at 1-587-350-6818.