A sobering challenge
By Celina Ip
Monday, January 11, 2016
The Lakeland Centre for Fetal Alcohol Syndrome (LCFASD) is challenging the community to go alcohol-free for the month of January.
The challenge is in support of the improvement of overall health, to reflect on the harm that alcohol can have on society and to serve as a show of support for women who are overcoming addictions.
According to LCFASD executive director Audrey McFarlane, this is the first year that they are serving up the sober challenge.
“We’re hoping that we’ll probably make it an annual event from now on and try to encourage more people to do so,” she said.
As January kicks off new year’s resolutions, McFarlane decided that it would be the perfect time to go alcohol-free.
“It just seemed like a good time following all of the holiday festivities. Often people select personal resolutions for the year, so it seemed like a good time for people to consider that they may just want to try 30 days alcohol-free,” said McFarlane.
McFarlane explained the negative effects that alcohol can pose on the body and how this challenge serves to make people aware and advise them to limit their consumption.
“People often don’t realize the harm that alcohol can have on our lives. There are 22 different cancers that have now been directly linked to alcohol being the cause, as well as weight gain and heart disease and all kinds of things that alcohol is associated with now,” said McFarlane.
“I think we often don’t realize how much alcohol we’re really consuming.”
According to the Canadian Centre for Substance Abuse, women should drink no more than ten drinks per week while men should limit themselves to no more than 14 per week.
“For many people that’s not that much. I think for general people in society that comes as a bit of a surprise and I think that often during the holidays we tend to drink more than that,” said McFarlane.
“Our agency is certainly not the ‘alcohol police’ but we do want people to think about the harmful effects it can have – especially when it comes to alcohol and pregnancy.”
McFarlane encourages all to participate in the challenge not only to show their support but to also reap all of the health benefits from the one-month detoxification period.
“Whenever we reduce the amount of alcohol that we’re consuming, it improves our health significantly in lots of different areas over the long-term,” McFarlane said.
“Most people report that they have won some weight loss, they generally sleep better, they have more clarity of mind and it really helps to bring some awareness to your own personal use.”
McFarlane suggests participants swap alcoholic beverages for mocktails or other tasty non-alcoholic drinks.
“You can get virgin drinks in a bar setting or at a restaurant. There are also some beautiful sparkling waters that are out there,” said McFarlane.
LCFASD will be providing certificates to those who participate in the month-long challenge.
“They can contact us and we can put them on the participants list. Even if they start later in the month, we would be happy to provide certificates for when they are finished,” said McFarlane.