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It is really just social drinking?

There are social situations that some people attend specifically to get drunk, do drugs or both. Places like bars, clubs, vape lounges and parties.  And music festivals. Over the weekend, there were 17 overdoses at the Calgary music festival Chasing Summer.  Ten men and seven women were taken to the hospital over Friday and Saturday. Some are in stable condition, some were in serious but stable condition and one woman was in life-threatening condition. While we can’t speculate on what happened in these specific cases, we do know that certain social situations may highlight and/or magnify a possible problem with addiction.  So how do you know if you have a problem?

1. You choose social situations that allow you to drink or do drugs.

You’re always urging your friends to meet for drinks instead of coffee.  Friends who don’t do drugs have fallen by the wayside; you’d much rather hang out with those who smoke pot like you do.  And forget going to any dry event. You consistently choose to spend your free time in situations where you can freely drink or use drugs, and are less and less interested in people who don’t do the same.

2. You drink or do drugs at times when most other people are sober.

You might be the only one who cracks a beer before noon at the cottage or the only one having mimosas at brunch.  Maybe you like to get high before going to the movies or you drink at work. Fairly often, you’re the only one drinking while everyone else is sober.

3. You use recreational drugs to self-medicate.

You drink to deal with your anxiety or your depression instead of seeing a doctor.  Instead of dealing with painful memories, you get high. Your prescription pain medication says twice a day but you frequently use three or four times that amount.  Anytime you have an emotional or physical problem, you reach for your favourite substance.

If any of this feels familiar, it might be time to seek some help.  We’re here to help our patients get into recovery, and back to enjoying life with a clear mind. You can call us anytime at 1-800-683-0111, or you can email us at [email protected]. You can drop into any one of our clinics in Calgary, Toronto, Vancouver, Victoria or Seattle and see a counsellor.

Seek help before it gets to an overdose. You can still go to music festivals – you might even remember the show this time around.