Sep 11, 2022
Talk Recovery Radio
This week on Talk Recovery Radio we welcome Colleen Allan to the show, Colleen is the executive director of St. Raphael Wellness Centre and has been teaching a course about Gender Differences of Alcohol Effects on Women for many years now. Colleen is joined by two women who will share their story of recovery with us as well. 3 guests one full hour on Talk Recovery Radio, catch it all on our Facebook page LIVE noon-1pm PST every Thursday or on Co-op Radio 100.5fm.
Alcohol Effects on Women
There has been widespread acceptance by the scientific community of alcohol’s effect on women, particularly the vulnerability of developing breast cancer, and the highest risk of reoccurrence, for women who have been diagnosed with breast cancer. Despite the fact that it is well documented in the literature and has been reported in two expose’s two years running by the CBC’s National News, there seems to be no recognition that women should be given this information. It has been recommended that warning labels similar to those on cigarette packages that have been instituted by some European countries. About
Elysia 41 years old, married no kids. Volunteer at SRWC, doing reception, outreach and intakes. Problem drinking started at about 30 years old and progressed full on alcohol dependency at 35. Sober 3 years this September. September, 2019, I was hospitalized with acute liver failure and cellulitis. I was given approximately 6 months to live without a liver transplant, but once the alcohol consumption stopped, my health gradually improved to the point where I am no longer in need of a liver transplant. I did, however suffer long term effects from the alcohol. I have moderate to severe alcoholic neuropathy in my feet and legs that make both standing or sitting for any extended period of time a problem. This is a marked improvement from three years ago, however, as initially, I was unable to walk without a walker or get up or down without assistance. I am also now peri-menopausal which takes away any option of having children.
My name is Taylor, I was diagnosed with end stage liver cirrhosis at the age of 28 in 2019. I had never heard of cirrhosis before, I knew alcohol from an early age wasn’t “good” for you and had plenty of talks growing up about how bad smoking, drugs, pills, etc. are but never really alcohol. Alcohol always seemed normal to me, it’s all around you. Especially these days, I find it’s around everywhere. I see it in nail salons, hair salons, weird places you wouldn’t normally see it. When I was diagnosed, it was explained to me and my parents from what I can remember, but I didn’t really have a guide on how to handle what was happening to me. I remember just being really confused and didn’t really know what to do with it all, or cared really at that point, that’s where my brain was at. I was confused, scared, lost. When I was at my worst with my battle with cirrhosis, I had every symptom possible on the list when you google it, except for the coma part, and coming back out of the hospital and into reality was really hard for me. I was using alcohol to escape from trauma, and to protect myself from a lot of things from my past. I didn’t know what to do with all of this, that’s when my auntie just took me to SRWC one day, and without knowing it was going to happen, as the more I attended, the better I started to slowly feel. They gave me a place to go when I didn’t think anyone else would understand what I was going through, I felt safe there immediately. I started doing 1:1 sessions with a counselor and when I got confident enough, which was something they also helped me build, because I had zero when I walked in those doors, I started to attend group sessions. I felt accepted by the other women in my group, I felt accepted by my counselors, and everyone else that worked at SRWC.