Are you trying to break the habit of drinking without thinking or just drinking socially because everyone else does? You might just be joining the ‘sober curious’: people that are mindful of their drinking habits that intentionally opt out of drinking alcohol at times, without abstaining altogether.
Author Ruby Warrington coined the term “sober curious” in her 2018 book “Sober Curious: The Blissful Sleep, Greater Focus, Limitless Presence, and Deep Connection Awaiting Us All on the Other Side of Alcohol.” It talks about drinking socially, no more than others you know, without cravings – but with doubts in your mind as you why you do drink.
Now, Canada’s 2023 Guidance on Alcohol and Health provides new advice on the latest research that all alcohol use comes with a risk.
If you’re starting to wonder whether giving up drinking might have a positive impact on your life, know that you’re not alone with these thoughts – and your health insurance can help support you in your goals.
What are Canada’s new low risk guidelines?
Here are the key points from the Canada’s new weekly alcohol use guidance that you should know:
- 0 drinks per week — Not drinking has benefits, such as better health, and better sleep.
- 2 standard drinks or less per week — You are likely to avoid alcohol-related consequences for yourself or others at this level.
- 3–6 standard drinks per week — Your risk of developing several types of cancer, including breast and colon cancer, increases at this level.
- 7 standard drinks or more per week — Your risk of heart disease or stroke increases significantly at this level.
Does that new guidance mean you should never drink alcohol? No. The guidance recommends that people consider reducing their alcohol use because you may want to reduce your risk of harm – its all up to you.
That fact is the guidance recommends that any reduction in alcohol use is beneficial because there really is no ‘healthy’ amount of alcohol use – based on studies from the Canadian Center on Substance Use and Addiction and supported by the World Health Organization and the World Heart Federation.
Even small changes at any age can have a positive effect
Whether you drink a little or a lot, there are positive health gains in reducing your consumption as much as you are able. Anyone can benefit.
Did you know you can also consult the services built into your health insurance? Help is available.
According to a 2018 study, 1 month of abstaining from alcohol may help lower blood pressure and risk for alcohol-related diseases.
People that have participated in month-long sobriety challenges report having increased energy, better sleep, and weight loss.
There’s so much to know about, and your health insurance has online information that you can depend on to be accurate and up to date (so you don’t have to surf the net for hours, wondering if you’ve discovered accurate information).
People widely accept alcohol as a tool to manage stress, celebrate joyous events, or weather life challenges like a job loss or breakup. They may notice, though, that drinking doesn’t really do much to address those issues, and they often end up feeling even more anxious. If alcohol affects your ability to manage your emotions, not drinking can improve your mood and help you communicate more effectively. You may even see some improvements in your performance at work or school since alcohol can interfere with memory and focus.
That’s why some people seek counselling – and it’s absolutely OK to need extra support with addressing drinking habits. Talking to a counsellor may help put you on the path you are looking for. Health insurance extended benefits include coverage for counselling.
Prescription drug coverage
If you’re planning to reduce your alcohol use but are having difficulty reducing how much you drink, you can contact your physician or healthcare provider. They may recommend medications to assist you – and prescription drug coverage may help cover the cost not covered by your government health plan.
Are you curious about what your health insurance has to help you?
You can get started with Manulife’s Vitality
Many people who quit drinking find themselves with more free time than usual. Dedicating this time to self-care can help you stay motivated to maintain a sober curious lifestyle – and that’s where Vitality can help.
Vitality starts with the Manulife health insurance FlexCare and FollowMe products you can trust to save money. Your plan will reimburse you for many routine and unexpected health-related expenses that may not be covered by your government health insurance.
From guaranteed issue to comprehensive health and dental benefits, FlexCare offers affordable health and dental coverage for you and your family. Your coverage stays with you, even if you change jobs or your health changes.
When employee benefits end, FollowMe offers continuous health and dental coverage for you and your family — and your acceptance is guaranteed!
With your new Manulife Vitality plan, you can create personalized weekly health improvement goals, take steps to achieve them and earn rewards. The more engaged you are and the healthier your choices, the more rewards you get.
Your Exclusive PRISM health plan’s Change4Life Portal
In partnership with Green Shield Canada, SBIS offers Prism® health and dental insurance focused on you, no matter your coverage needs – including the Change4Life® Health Portal! Every GSC Prism plan includes GSC’s online health management portal called Change4Life, which is designed to support you in your health journey and give you the exciting chance for real rewards every month.
When you use the portal, you will discover how easy it can be to make healthier life choices. Change4Life helps you take care of your health by giving you personalized tips, easy-to-use online tools, and important health information.
Best of all, it inspires you too! By participating you get the opportunity to win great rewards you can use like gift cards to popular restaurants and major retailers across Canada!
Discover GMS Lifeworks
LifeWorks is an award-winning total wellness program included as part of all GMS Personal and Replacement Health Coverage Plans. People love to use its assistance and wellness components geared to help you improve your mental, physical, financial, and social wellbeing. Each component includes a wealth of resources and tools so you can be your best and most productive self.
LifeWorks is there whenever you need it. Through the app, by phone, or on your desktop. Because you are unique, with your own needs, challenges, preferences and progress, Lifeworks treats you that way. You can contact LifeWorks to help find support and resources to answer questions related to work, life, health, family, or money – really any issue, challenge, or concern. Advisors and immediate support counsellors are available by phone 24/7, and there are engaging digital tools to help you be proactive and work on your mental health and wellbeing every day.
Feeling sober curious but don’t have health insurance?
Will taking a closer look at your alcohol intake and managing it give you better peace of mind? Make health insurance part of your plan. At SBIS, we can help you choose the plan that best suits your needs and budget. Call us at 1-800-667-0429 or 416-601-0429. Our business hours are Monday to Friday 8:45 a.m. – 4:45 p.m. eastern time.