Be responsible this weekend…

Be responsible this weekend…

We are so amazingly blessed in the Kitchener-Waterloo area for having so many amazing things happening this weekend. This weekend is Thanksgiving and Oktoberfest wrapped up into one big happy package.

Thanksgiving is a national holiday that is celebrated primarily in the U.S.A, and Canada, but is also observed in other places around the world.  Originally it was celebrated as a way of giving thanks for the blessing of the harvest. Now, we tend you celebrate with family and friends, the things that we are thankful for.

Oktoberfest is a Bavarian tradition that took roots here in the Kitchener-Waterloo area in 1969. It is a time of fun, dancing, eating, drinking, and laughter among friends and families.

This weekend is also a time where we give ourselves permission to slow down, and spend some quality time with our families. We get to do the things that build relationships and create memories for all of us.

However, holidays are not happy or easy times for all of us. They are times that we must also face our deepest fears or internal struggles. We search desperately for ways to deal with the issues that we fight with.

For some, turning to alcohol may be the way that they want to deal with things. However this is not a healthy way of dealing with our struggles. Drinking does not erase or solve any of our problems.

Please remember this weekend that you can make some healthy choices around drinking so that you can be around for future holidays as well. You may be struggling right now but you will thank yourself later for drinking responsibly.

CAMH, which is the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health has put in place guidelines for Low-Risk Alcohol Drinking. You can view the guidelines here, or on their website: (Search Alcohol Guidelines)

Canada’s Low-Risk Alcohol Drinking Guidelines

Drinking is a personal choice. If you choose to drink, these guidelines can help you decide when, where, why and how.

Guideline 1

Reduce your long-term health risks by drinking no more than:

  • 10 drinks a week for women, with no more than 2 drinks a day most days
  • 15 drinks a week for men, with no more than 3 drinks a day most days

Plan non-drinking days every week to avoid developing a habit.

Guideline 2

Reduce your risk of injury and harm by drinking no more than 3 drinks (for women) and 4 drinks (for men) on any single occasion.
Plan to drink in a safe environment. Stay within the weekly limits outlined in Guideline 1

Guideline 3

Do not drink when you are:

  • driving a vehicle or using machinery and tools
  • taking medicine or other drugs that interact with alcohol
  • doing any kind of dangerous physical activity
  • living with mental or physical health problems
  • living with alcohol dependence
  • pregnant or planning to be pregnant
  • responsible for the safety of others
  • making important decisions

Guideline 4

If you are pregnant, planning to become pregnant, or before breastfeeding, the safest choice is to drink no alcohol at all.

Guideline 5

If you are a child or youth, you should delay drinking until your late teens. Talk with your parents about drinking. Alcohol can harm the way your brain and body develop.

If you are drinking, plan ahead, follow local alcohol laws and stay within the limits outlined in Guideline 1.

For these guidelines, “a drink” means

  • 341 ml (12 oz.) bottle of 5% alcohol beer, cider or cooler
  • 142 ml (5 oz.) glass of 12% alcohol wine
  • 43 ml (1.5 oz.) serving of 40% distilled

Low-risk drinking helps to promote a culture of moderation.

Low-risk drinking supports healthy lifestyles.


  • Set limits for yourself and abide by them.
  • Drink slowly. Have no more than 2 drinks in any 3 hours.
  • For every drink of alcohol, have one non-alcoholic drink.
  • Eat before and while you are drinking.
  • Always consider your age, body weight and health problems that might suggest lower limits
  • While drinking may provide health benefits for certain groups of people, do not start to drink, or increase your drinking, for health benefits.

For more information on Canada’s Low-Risk Alcohol Drinking Guidelines and related reports, please visit the Canadian Centre on Substance Abuse (CCSA) website..


Butt, P., Beirness, D., Cesa, F., Gliksman, L., Paradis, C., & Stockwell, T. (2011). Alcohol and health in Canada: A summary of evidence and guidelines for low-risk drinking. Ottawa, ON: Canadian Centre on Substance Abuse.


Thank you and have an amazing weekend filled with wonderful and lasting memories,

Heather Henderson

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