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Health Report: Recover Alaska executive director shares holiday season mindful drinking tips

Published: Dec. 8, 2020 at 4:07 PM AKST
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FAIRBANKS, Alaska (KTVF) - In the midst of an isolating pandemic, the darkest day of the Alaskan winter on the way, and the holiday season, alcohol sales are up. Tiffany Hall, executive director at Recover Alaska visited with us to share mindful drinking tips and resources for everyone in the recovery spectrum.

Alcohol plays a big role in holidays and special occasions. According to Hall, as people hunker down this holiday season, more may find themselves drinking out of loneliness or stress without even realizing it.

“With the pandemic we are especially wary. We know that during the pandemic a third of the households that drink alcohol have started drinking more since the pandemic began, and we just see that across the board. Alcohol sales are up this year. So with the increased isolation, plus the holidays, plus the pandemic, we are just being really cautious and really watching to see how we can help folks who are struggling,” said Hall.

The goal of Recover Alaska is to enable Alaskans to live free from the consequences of alcohol misuse so they can be empowered to achieve their full potential.

“What we’re trying to promote is not necessarily quitting drinking entirely. That’s the solution for some folks but not for everyone. What we are really hoping for people to do is just be mindful of their drinking, and to think about when they’re going to have an alcoholic beverage, [and] why they’re going to have it. If they’re just feeling kind of uncomfortable or anxious, maybe take a walk outside instead, or maybe drink a glass of water before they drink that alcohol. And if they do opt for alcohol, really savor each sip and not just rush through it to try to change how they’re feeling,” said Hall.

A variety of resources are available on the Recover Alaska website including apps, and the Sober Winter Lounge, a graphical portal to even more online enabled assistance.

“If folks are worried about their drinking levels, we have an anonymous screening tool where they can just answer a couple of questions to see where their drinking stacks up with low risk drinking or high risk drinking. We’ve been getting a lot of requests for this kind of online help. We have an app called Step Away, that was designed by a UAA (University of Alaska Anchorage) professor actually, and it has all the clinical trials behind it, and it’s proven to help people reduce their drinking -- whether that just means cutting back a little bit, or quitting entirely. It asks a series of questions at the beginning to really get to know the user, and then offers specific guided tips on how to cut back,” said Hall.

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