Editor’s Note: This is the third article in a four part exclusive series on Tide Change about the topic of addiction.


There is a very interesting difference between alcohol and cannabis, and it is not about the liquid or the plant. It is it about the extensive dialogue we are currently having about one, while the other has had socially historical impacts, both in plain site and then behind closed doors.

Why is that? Historically, one could say that the requirement for socially acceptable consumption of alcohol influenced both the women’s movement as well as employers advocating for regulations. After the failure of prohibition, this was done to designate when, where and to whom alcohol could be sold, so as to encourage the presence of spouses in the home and employees at work the next morning.

From North America to Europe, guidelines about the limits for and studies regarding the safety of moderate drinking vary from country to country. This reality makes the topic a very necessary local conversation, so that our community can be on the same page when addressing both its positive and negative impact within the Comox Valley. 

So why is it that today, when we speak about the need to better understand our relationship with alcohol with a conversation about drinking in moderation, most people are reluctant to engage in this open dialogue. Are we fearful about being perceived as having an issue with alcohol, if we speak out for or against it in a public discussion about its true impact in our day to day lives?

In the Community Action Initiative’s Guide on Organizing Community Dialogue on Moderate-Risk Drinking, a dialogue is described as follows:

“At its core, community dialogue brings together people from different backgrounds and perspectives in an engaging and inclusive conversation. It creates space to listen and explore these different viewpoints, in order to work towards understanding them better together”. 

In a recent survey on the topic of moderate drinking, funded by a Community Action Initiative grant and supported by the Drug Strategy Community Committee, Courtenay John Howard Society and the Comox Valley Community Health Network, some of the questions asked referenced a safe place in the Comox Valley, where individual perspectives could be explored, and the suggestion was met with overwhelming approval by the respondents. Some of the initial findings from the study have demonstrated that one single dialogue session sparked new perspectives, reflections or insights according to the responses from most of the participants.

It is evident that, as a society, we must continue to review, educate and have a conversation about alcohol. Its presence in our day to day life plays many roles in our community, from an opportunity to enjoy a glass with friends to the dependency on its mind numbing effects, when consumed in ways which are detrimental to our health. 


“Real dialogue is where two or more people
become willing to suspend their certainty
in each other’s presence.”
David Bohm


Catherine Hedrich

Editor in Chief, Tidechange.ca