Laura Sciarpelletti · CBC News · Posted: Sep 11, 2023 1:00 AM MDT
Retrieved from https://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/saskatchewan/alcohol-pandemic-problematic-1.6957266?_cldee=iB2pLKoOR5kQwa7YBQYisJ1z61So5FJ_qp8yBE3rYp2T1-Y29Oxgs91Zg-_i6OHq&recipientid=contact-e551c9199c4ce8118147480fcff4b171-50b1b90fb8e3421b9c49e46cc5c61ef4&esid=f3b03f03-6a51-ee11-be6f-000d3a09c3d2
The COVID-19 pandemic was a time of unknowns. It brought confusion, anxiety, fear, boredom, isolation and a lack of structure.
Experts believe this perfect storm led to a widespread increase in problematic drinking and alcoholism.
Brit Chevrier of Bethune, Sask. — nearly 60 kilometres northwest of Regina — found herself drinking more alcohol during the pandemic.
“I had always used alcohol as my primary coping mechanism,” said Chevrier.
Chevrier considered herself to be a “grey area drinker.” She said this is typically a person who has a career and family, is financially stable and does not seem from their outside appearance to be struggling.
“Over time, their issue with their drinking becomes more prevalent and they start to question whether it’s actually serving them or not.”
Drinking was not serving Chevrier. In fact, drinking amplified her concerns about the pandemic and the future.
“I didn’t understand at the time, but a great deal of my anxiety and my stress came from my drinking, as opposed to the limiting belief that I had at the time that my drinking was helping my anxiety issues and helping with my stress.”
Coming out as sober
Chevrier said the culture of alcohol was stronger than ever during the pandemic.
Every social media platform featured pandemic drinking games, tips for cocktails to have with friends over Zoom and alcohol-centred creative content and trends. Magazines featured jokes about “wine o’clock” and drinking during Zoom meetings, and featured art depicting people drinking in lockdown.
But ultimately the vacation did end, the isolation did end. And I wonder where that left a lot of people because it certainly had a negative impact on my own drinking.”- Brit Chevrier, Sober Flatlander
“I think that we all in unison within our community and within the media and our society started to lean in a little bit more on alcohol for that reason. Because it was a scary time and we didn’t really feel like we had many options other than to just hold on and live day by day.”
Chevrier said she believes this promotion of drinking was meant to lighten people’s mental load and thinks content creators outside of the alcohol industry had good intentions.
“But ultimately the vacation did end, the isolation did end. And I wonder where that left a lot of people because it certainly had a negative impact on my own drinking,” she said.
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