Canada: Land Of The Sober Singles

By The Fix staff 06/17/19

One survey showed that Canada’s recovery community is thriving.

Image: 
Happy, sober couple on a date in Canada

Canada can look like an ideal place to live, with progressive social policies and stunning natural beauty. A survey shows that Canada is also a great place to be in recovery, with many people in recovery thriving in their professional and personal lives.

A 2017 survey by the Canadian Centre on Substance Abuse and Addiction spoke to 855 people about their experience with recovery, according to the Canadian Broadcasting Company.

The survey contained good news for sober singles in Canada, painting a picture of a well-educated, healthy and happy recovery community.

"The problem is we hide it," said Rand Teed, a drug counselor who initiated the survey. "It's still something people are embarrassed about.”

However, more and more people are talking openly about their sobriety, and even seeking out other sober singles to date and share a life in recovery.

The survey found that 78 percent of people who were in recovery were actively employed and they rarely missed work. Sixty-two percent of people surveyed had completed post-secondary education.

The survey also shined a light onto the personal lives of people in recovery. It found that 49 percent of respondents were married and 61 percent had children. For the 51 percent of people who are in recovery and unmarried, online dating provides a great way to meet other sober singles and connect with other people in the community.

Rejoining the local community is an important part of recovery, according to Marshall Smith, senior adviser for recovery initiatives at the B.C. Centre on Substance Use.

“Individuals with substance-use disorders are capable of changing, growing and becoming positively connected to the broader community,” Smith told The Vancouver Sun.

Teed’s survey also found that people who try to get sober in Canada are generally successful. Once they were in recovery, 54 percent of people said that they did not have barriers maintaining their sobriety. In fact, 51 percent said that they had never relapsed.

The biggest challenge in getting sober was accessing treatment initially.

"The primary barrier [to recovery] was stigma. The second barrier was access. People reported finding difficulty getting help when they finally wanted help,” Teed said.

A majority of people who took the survey said that they initially didn’t believe their substance use was severe enough to warrant treatment. Half said that they were hesitant to get treatment because they were worried about what other people would think of them.

Once they did reach out, many people had trouble accessing care: about one-third of respondents said that they didn’t know where to go to get treatment, they didn’t have supportive networks, or that they had to wait too long to get treatment.

However, the overall takeaway from the survey was very positive for sober people in Canada. Ninety-one percent said that they had a “good,” “very good” or “excellent” life.

“The services and programs we have in our community — the people who have access to them — do very, very well,” said Judy D’Arcy, who works in the Canadian recovery community. “We’re very proud of those programs.”

Sober Singles is a dating website for sober people in Canada.

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