Melissa Mancini & Ioanna Roumeliotis · CBC News · Posted: Apr 10, 2021| Last Updated: April 10
Allison Garber says from the outside it looked like she had it all together.
The communications business owner and mother of two may not have looked like a problem drinker. But she says she found herself willing the clock to hit 5 p.m. every day so she could open a bottle of wine and pour a glass. Then “not so patiently” waiting for her kids to go to bed so she could have a few more.
Garber decided she had a problem with drinking in 2018 and sought help. She’s been sober now for more than two years and is thankful her recovery came before the pandemic did.
“I am so glad that I was not still stuck on this train where I viewed alcohol as a reward for getting through a tough day,” she said. “[The pandemic] just amplified everything. It has amplified how we use alcohol as a form of self-medication, as a form of self care.
“And that message is reinforced almost everywhere you go. You’ve had a long day, pour yourself a glass of wine.”
Drinking among women has increased steadily in recent years. In 2018, the Report on the State of Public Health from Canada’s chief public health officer identified alcohol use in women as one of the most pressing concerns of our time. The report highlighted that from 2011 to 2017, deaths attributed to alcohol increased by 26 per cent among Canadian women, while alcohol-related deaths in men increased just five per cent.
The pandemic has led to soaring alcohol sales and some Canadians are reporting increased binge drinking. A Statistics Canada survey released in January shows many Canadians are not just pouring themselves a single glass. Almost one in five who responded to the survey said they consumed five or more drinks — the equivalent of a bottle of wine — on the days they reported drinking alcohol in the previous month.
The agency says this is higher than before COVID-19 hit.
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