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Local professional talks coping mechanisms during Alcohol Awareness Month

ALPENA, Mich. — April is alcohol awareness month, and the topic may need a little extra attention this year. On April 1, CNN reported that alcohol sales were up 55 percent the third week of March, as compared to the same week in 2019.

While this is mostly because people were stockpiling to prepare for stay at home orders, Outreach Advocacy Coordinator for Hope Shores Alliance, Jen Baker, says consumers and those in recovery should be aware of the coping mechanisms they’re using during this time.

“With a circumstance like this, which is traumatic, and no one knows really how to deal with that well. For some people it might look something like that they’re drinking more. But if we’re talking about helping people to cope in a healthy way, it’s a lot about what works for each person individually.”

Baker says a drink every now again isn’t the worst thing, but there’s a line to be aware of when it comes to knowing what’s unhealthy verses what isn’t.
She adds people in alcohol or substance abuse recovery should be especially careful to find alternatives since social support groups are not accessible right now. That may include disconnecting from media and electronics.

“Simplifying things and removing the technology a little bit, I think that’s definitely a struggle for people right now because we’re so connected and there’s so much news coming at us with varying different perspectives and there’s a lot of anxiety around all of the unknowns right now, so sometimes unplugging can be key.”

Baker says even during the pandemic, there are still resources available. and Northern Michigan Substance Abuse Services are still offering help virtually.

Disconnecting from media by getting in touch with your spirituality, playing board games and practicing deep breathing are just a few additional ways to cope with limited social interaction. If you know someone who needs additional help or support, be sure to reach out to them by phone or online.