In this last episode of the season Amy and Bianca bring you a super fun quiz to talk about the alcohol awareness, impact of alcohol on human health and body so that you can make an informed choice when it comes to this huge cultural influence that most of us are constantly exposed to. April is alcohol awareness month
Click here for the transcript
This week featuring:
Bianca Sprague feels especially passionate about creating access to quality pre & postnatal care for marginalized communities. She is an advocate for mental wellness for the entire family, and especially for the birthing parent, after suffering from PPD in silence and losing her father to suicide in 2012. She recognizes the barriers put in place for female entrepreneurs and believes that understanding the evolving online space can even the playing field for women in business.
Amy C. Willis (she/her) is a Sobriety & Mindset Coach who supports women in reclaiming their power and freedom through sobriety. Amy comes to this work after struggling with alcohol addiction for 15+ years and losing her dad to his alcohol addiction; Amy has been sober for 5+ years. Amy is a dual-certificated coach, a writer, a speaker and is also a certified meditation teacher and a certified EFT (Emotional Freedom Techniques)/tapping Practitioner, which are modalities she brings to her work with her clients. The foundations of Amy’s coaching practice are radical honesty, mindset transformation, habit change and resilience building. In addition to her coaching and healing certifications, Amy earned an interdisciplinary studies MA from York University and an HBA from the University of Toronto specializing in women’s and gender studies and majoring in sexual diversity studies. Amy is proudly queer, feminist, and sober. Amy is also tremendously grateful that she gets to teach in Birth Worker Business School (BWBS). As a feminist business owner, she knows how challenging it can be for women to get into entrepreneurship and to build their businesses with ethical, feminist principles. BWBS is such an exceptional business offering that teaches not only business foundations but in a way that centers the human experience.
Hot + Brave The Blog-Cast:
Hey Hot + Brave fans! This week is the season finale of the podcast and to mark this occasion we are doing things a little differently. This week’s episode is a new and exciting quiz show. For the last episode of the season, Bianca is joined by sober coach, Amy Willis, who brought some questions to challenge Bianca’s knowledge about the impact of alcohol on our bodies. Let us know how you did!
Exploring Alcohol Awareness
April is alcohol awareness month; so let’s take some time to educate ourselves about the effects of alcohol on our bodies, some of its risks, and perhaps feed our sober curiosity. It is also important to note that this discussion about alcohol is not meant to be judgemental to those who drink alcohol, instead this week’s episode aims to address some of the misinformation about alcohol so that people can make informed choices about their consumption and better understand the risks. Take from it what you will, it’s meant as a guide, not a rule book or set of instructions. Being well educated in any area of life is beneficial, when it comes to drinking, education can also help mitigate potential risks.
Canada’s New Alcohol Guidelines
For the first question of the episode, Amy addressed Canada’s alcohol risk guidelines and the new changes that were made this year. These changes to the guidelines were the first in eleven years, and we made using new evidence and new research connecting alcohol use to a myriad of health and safety risks. In order to avoid risk, the government of Canada actually recommends that to avoid risk, a person should avoid alcohol entirely, having zero drinks per week. Knowing that this may not be for everyone, they go on to state that a maximum of 2 drinks per week is recommended. This is a steep change from the previous suggestion of max. 10 drinks per week. The internet went nuts in light of this new set of guidelines. For the most part, people were claiming and(and sometimes joking) that the Canadian government was out of line. People were really mad and thinking that the government was intruding in their lives. However it is very important to note that these changes are part of a guideline (not a law). Guidelines are meant to help guide decisions, not determine them (as if to say “if you do this, these are the risks, do with this what you will”).
The fact that alcohol is bad for us is not new information. Regardless of whether you are a person who likes to drink or if you are sober – alcohol is harmful. It’s also a business, and alcohol companies spend a lot of money and marketing to gain new clients and sell their products. Part of this marketing is a campaign of misinformation, that misleads people in relation to exactly what happens when we put alcohol into our bodies. Yes, you might get tipsy or drunk or whatever happens, but there are also long-term health concerns that we never hear about in the mainstream. In fact, we sometimes hear the opposite, that alcohol is good for us.
Alcohol Myths: Heart and Mind Impact
There are many points of misinformation that have made their way into popular culture in such a way that it seems to be common sense. Has anyone reading this heard that a glass of red wine is good for heart health? Amy poses this as a question using this week’s quiz format, and guess what – The World Heart Federation made a formal statement in 2022 that said, no amount of alcohol is healthy or beneficial for our hearts. Even if there is a single or slight benefit in some areas, this would not outweigh the other negative impacts on the body and the mind. Alcohol is a depressant and it significantly impacts mental health. As Amy says, “if you’re somebody who already leans towards more experiences of depression and you’re adding a depressant onto that, it’s absolutely going to make it worse.” Therefore, if we are drinking alcohol to calm us down or “take the edge off” we might have an immediate feeling of sedation, but this does not help to alleviate the things in life that are stressful or cause depression. In addition, alcohol negatively impacts cognitive functioning across the board. This includes; decision-making, balance, speech, judgment, and so on.
Alcohol and Sleep
This relates closely to another quiz question from this week’s episode about sleep and drinking. Alcohol impacts sleep and some believe that drinking can make you fall asleep faster and easier – however, this is false. What is actually happening in your body is alcohol is sedating you, which is quite different from sleep and does not produce the same positive health benefits as sleep does. Being sedated prevents our brains from going into REM sleep and into deep sleep (both are very important for our functioning). It is a really important stage in our sleep cycle where learning and emotional processing and long-term memories are formed as well as brain development. Drinking might make you fall “asleep” but you are not healing, or resting, and will not awake feeling refreshed and reading to tackle the world.
Sober curiosity: Exploring Life Without Alcohol
To be sober-curious could mean just experimenting with how your body reacts to “having an alcohol-free life”, as Bianca puts it. This may take time, as alcohol has long-term effects on our body systems, so alcohol awareness is very important. So many people will be hurting throughout the workweek just from one night of drinking on the weekend. It impacts our days and can lead to more stress and tiredness. Amy suggests to “Just get curious […] and just view it as an information gathering activity”. Why not give it a try, it could change your life.
Check Hangover anxiety can be brutal… it’s why I stopped drinking
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