A support group

CALGARY, Alberta – A Calgary-based social improvement center run by The Oily Blanket Foundation is seeing significant success from its Drilling Anonymous support group with on average 20 new members joining every week. Drilling Anonymous is a brand new therapeutic social support group geared towards drilling and operational staff involved with oil and gas development in western Canada.  With sessions running 7 days a week headed into the fall, the group has added several new counselors to guide the individuals along their journey, and help them manage the stress of day to day drilling and operations.

Peter Northtip, TOBF president

“We began to see the stress manifest itself in these particular roles as throwing lunches, punching walls, tripping coworkers in the halls, taking crayons from geologists, or name calling.  As a very loose spinoff of other support groups styles, we felt a group of peers working through their issues in a safe space could be beneficial.  I mean, the last thing people want to see in the lunchroom is an engineer crying into his espresso.” – peter northtip, TOBF

Sessions start in the usual way, eerily similar to other programs. Eight to 10 people gather for an hour and introduce themselves, opening with their primary issues, and how well they’ve been doing, before they delve into recent challenges or takes that may have diminished their progress. A member of the Wednesday group shared his speech with 2P as an example, but asked we not use his or her name.

“Hi, I’m Kevin.  I’m a drilly, er, driller.  I’ve been a driller for 16 years and needed a break, it’s been 3 weeks since my last drill.  I’ve recently been faced with a series of challenging tool failures and cement jobs, and 3 fishing operations that went totally wrong.  I find myself just absently walking around the office with a 9 iron mumbling about geology and geophysics before I catch myself and just go to the bar.  It’s hard, but I’m here.  And I need help.”

The Oily Blanket Foundation feels the program is a valuable resource in a stress-filled industry and invites anyone with workplace exploration or operational problems to reach out and seek the advice and support of their peers. The program is also seeking support and official sanction from APEGA, as most of their clients suffer from Ring Induced Anxiety Syndrome (RIAS).


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