Substance use

Substance Use

Many people use various substances alcohol and habit-forming activities to cope with difficult feelings like stress, anxiety, fear, uncertainty, boredom, and isolation. It’s a common response to trauma, grief, or other difficult experiences. However, these forms of recreational use can cause problems when people rely upon them too much or too often. 

Some signs that you may need to think about making changes to the way you use recreational substances or activities may result in:
  • Feelings that recreational substances and activities are the only way you manage stress, fear, uncertainty, and other uncomfortable feelings
  • Reliance on recreational substances and activities is your only strategy for you to relax or unwind at the end of the day
  • You often indulge more in recreational substances and activities than you intend
  • Your relationships with family, friends, or coworkers have become strained due to substance use
  • You have a hard time stopping once you’ve started
  • You miss work or other obligations as a result
  • You find yourself in unsafe situations, like driving under the influence
Not sure where you stand? Take the Alcohol Reality Check at to help you understand your relationship with alcohol or other substance overuse patterns.

Recreational substance use can cause problems when people rely upon it too much or too often.

Looking for More?

Indulging a little more than usual right now doesn’t automatically mean that you have a substance abuse problem. It may be a sign that you need extra help and support right now, and there are many people and resources available to help you out:
  • 24 Hour Help and Crisis Lines: The Addictions Foundation of Manitoba has a comprehensive list of 24-hour, province-wide help lines to provide support and community connections for mental health, substance use and addictions.
  • Manitoba Addictions Helpline: Free, confidential information and referrals to local service providers and support groups. Call toll-free at 1-855-662-6605 (toll-free) or email For general information on addictions support, programs and resources, visit the Addictions Foundation of Manitoba website at
  • Care for All in Education Hub: Contact our Team of Wellness Support Specialists to help connect you to substance use assistance programs and counseling in your community by calling 1-877-602-1660, by sending an email to: or sending your inquiry through the Contact Us menu of the Hub.
  • Your Family/Employee Assistance Program: Contact your workplace F/EAP provider to see how they can help you.

If Drinking Affects You at Work

If your alcohol use is part of an alcohol use disorder that you are seeking treatment to resolve, it’s treated as a health problem. In Manitoba, employers can’t discriminate based on any disability, which includes a mental illness or substance use disorder. Your employer has to try to make reasonable changes to help you if you disclose or say that you have a disability, such as allow you to take time off for treatment. However, it’s also reasonable for employers to set guidelines that keep everyone safe, such as prohibiting intoxication at work. If you belong to a union, they may have a disability management program or a staff member who can help you. Ask your steward if you need help contacting your union.


To Learn More

Learn More about Alcohol Use: For more on making healthier changes to your alcohol use, download the Centre for Addictions Research of BC workbook “Stuff to think about..and ways to make changes”, a comprehensive online learning tool with information person-centred information on finding support, making changes, harm reduction strategies and resources for more help.

Web Resources

For more information, we have compiled a list of resources to help you cope up with anxiety during these difficult days.


Knowing Your Limits with Alcohol

A Practical Guide to Assessing Your Drinking


Addictions Helpline

8:30am – 4:30pm, Monday – Friday: 1-855-662-6605



Integral Recovery

by John Dupuy
Brings Integral Theory to addiction treatment, offering a more holistic vision of recovery and powerful practices for achieving it. This book is for everyone who is suffering from the disease of addiction or who cares about someone who is:

The Easy Way to Stop Drinking

by Allen Carr
Offers a simple and painless step-by-step solution to anyone who wants to escape from dependency on alcohol without feeling deprived. 

Re-wired: A Bold New Approach to Addiction and Recovery

by Erica Spiegelman
Centered on the concept of self-actualization, Rewired will guide you towards not only physical sobriety, but a mental, emotional, and spiritual sobriety by learning to identify key principles within yourself, including authenticity, honesty, gratitude, and understanding a need for solitude.

The Gifts of Imperfection: Let Go of Who You Think You’re Supposed to Be and Embrace Who You Are

by Brené Brown
Brown engages our minds, hearts, and spirits as she explores how we can cultivate the courage, compassion, and connection to wake up in the morning and think,No matter what gets done and how much is left undone, I am enough, and to go to bed at night thinking,Yes, I am sometimes afraid, but I am also brave. And, yes, I am imperfect and vulnerable, but that doesn't change the truth that I am worthy of love and belonging.

In the Realm of Hungry Ghosts

by Gabor Mate
This book looks at the epidemic of various addictions in our society, tells us why we are so prone to them and outlines what is needed to liberate ourselves from their hold. Mate weaves in stories of real people while providing a bold synthesis of clinical experience, insight and cutting-edge scientific findings.

The Big Fix: Hope After Heroin

by Tracey Helton Mitchell
Tracey’s story of hope, hard work, and rehabilitation will inspire anyone who has been affected by substance abuse while offering hope for a better future.


Hooked: The Unexpected Addicts with Melissa Rice and Jade Wye

Two women of substance, Melissa Rice and Jade Wye, debunk the stereotype of addicts and guide you through the highs and lows of addiction and recovery.

Recovery Unscripted with David Condos (Foundations Recovery Network)

This podcast brings you firsthand stories and exclusive insights from the front lines of addiction treatment, mental health care and the opioid crisis.

That Sober Guy with Shane Ramer

After a 17-year struggle with alcohol, Shane Ramer created That Sober Guy Podcast which now has helped over 2 million listeners. As a father of two kids and married to his wife of 20 years, Shane is passionate about helping men quit drinking and becoming purposeful leaders in their homes and communities.

Mindful Recovery: Robert Cox, MA, LPC

This is a podcast devoted to helping individuals who are struggling with trauma and addictions. Whether you struggle with anxiety, mental illness, complex trauma, PTSD, addictions or a multitude of other problems, becoming mindful is the first step along that path. Here we provide practice, education and support in beginning your journey to healing.

Looking For More?

Free resources to help with your anxiety available from your phone

Manitoba Suicide Prevention & Support Line

If you are considering suicide or are concerned about someone who may be, call the Suicide Prevention line. Someone will be ready to listen and speak to you.

Call 1-877-435-7170 anytime.


Download for iOS or Android

This free app from Anxiety Canada helps users track anxiety daily. You will work through tools while applying Cognitive Behavioural Therapy approaches.

Download today for Apple or Android.


Text Mood to 760-670-3130

If you are suffering from depression or anxiety, Text4Mood sends you a daily inspirational text message to support positive mental health.

To join, text Mood to 760-670-3130.