Métis Addictions Council of Sask. offers day program that teaches shift in thinking

Métis Addictions Council of Saskatchewan (MACSI) Regional Director Angela Impey (left). (Peter Lozinski/Daily Herald)

The Métis Addictions Council of Saskatchewan (MACSI) is offering a day program that’s new to Prince Albert.

As regional director Angela Impey explained, fighting an alcohol or drug relapse lies on a shift in your thought process.

That’s why the program will focus on identifying your triggers, stress and areas of conflict that tempt you, and then give you tools to redirect your thinking towards healthier coping mechanisms.

“It’s all about retraining the thoughts and identifying what you’re thinking,” explained Impey.

“You relapse in your thinking first.”

The six-week pilot program will start on Thursday at the Indian and Métis Friendship Centre on First Avenue East. Impey said the Friendship Centre is a more accessible location for residents.

The drop-in sessions—which are free of cost—will take place every Thursday from 1 to 4 p.m.

Each week focuses on a different topic: harm reduction, stress management, conflict resolution, boundaries, support systems and triggers and cravings management.

Impey said a facilitator will teach and interact with participants on that week’s topic.

For example, in week six, the facilitator will first teach participants how to identify a trigger or craving.

“Whether that’s being around other people that are using, going to an event where there’s substance use, whether it be alcohol or not, that’s a trigger for them and it can induce cravings as well,” said Impey.

Other sessions teach a relaxing meditation and the importance of building a support system for working through your negative thoughts.

“(It’s) reducing stress in your life and conflict. How to manage conflict so that it’s not putting you in a position where you’re not throwing in the towel and reverting back to unhealthy coping mechanisms,” she said.

Each session will begin with smudging, which Impey said is meant to start your day on a positive note.

“It grounds people,” she said.

“The whole point of smudging is to cleanse an area, to get rid of the negative energy, clear the mind.”

Impey said the program has been successful in their Saskatoon and Regina centres.

“One of the gaps in the communities is that there is no drop-in day program at this point,” she said.

“In Prince Albert, we are smaller, so we are going to be exposed to (addictions) more. We’re not spread out like Saskatoon or Regina, where there might be different locations where it’s higher numbers than others. Prince Albert is a pretty small community, so we see a lot of it on a daily basis.”

Impey said MACSI is hoping to secure funding so the program can run from Monday to Friday.

Participants are required to fill out a registration form; however, Impey said it’s mainly for data collection.

The latest Canadian Alcohol and Drug Use Monitoring Survey in 2012 states an estimated 21.6 per cent of Canada’s population met the criteria for a substance use disorder. This is about 8 million people.