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The New Alcohol Guidelines in Canada with Ann Dowsett Johnston (Author of Drink):

Watch the podcast, above, or listen below.

If you recently saw the revised drinking guidelines in Canada and gasped, you’re not alone. Most Canadians are drinking more than two drinks a week, the new low-risk maximum.

Ann Dowsett Johnston is an award-winning journalist and the bestselling author of Drink: The Intimate Relationship Between Women and Alcohol, a book named one of the top 10 of the year by the Washington Post. Ann is also now a psychotherapist, and my friend, mentor and writing coach.  

Ann joins me for a discussion about the alcohol consumption guidelines in Canada released by the Centre on Substance Use and Addiction in January, which replace the 2011 Low-Risk Drinking Guidelines. The new guidelines present a continuum of health risks associated with different levels of alcohol consumption, including the risks of breast and colon cancer, heart disease, and stroke. Ann and I discuss what now constitutes low-risk, moderate, and high-risk drinking, and whether our thinking needs to change in terms of what constitutes “problematic” drinking and the way we approach this issue and support each other as women.

We discuss why, almost 10 years later, as Ann so aptly stated in Drink, alcohol is still “the modern woman’s steroid”, and how the overwhelm and stress of the pandemic has spiked drinking levels and continued to normalize women’s drinking as a necessary tool of working motherhood.

We also discuss the role of alcohol marketing (specifically at women), pricing, and availability have contributed to the normalization of drinking at risky levels and why much of this is a feminist issue. We talk about what needs to happen next, including alcohol labeling and warnings on bottles, and why Big Alcohol is so resistant to these steps.

Grab a cup of tea and join Ann and me for an engaging, and thought-provoking conversation! 

Info on Ann’s Writing Your Discovery Courses and psychotherapy services:

Ann’s Ted Talk: ​​


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