More than 500 women participating in SHEWALKSCANADA, kicked off a three-month 40,070km virtual journey on March 6, circumnavigating the globe to change their relationship with alcohol, logging more than 7,315km, in the first two weeks of the program.
Founded in 2022 by former Canadian opera singer, television personality and actress Lindsay Sutherland Boal, SHEWALKSCANADA is now an international movement to engage both sober curious and sober communities of women by walking around the globe and providing private, engaging, and positive group coaching calls.
“We’re truly pleased with the results of our first two weeks of this year’s Walk,” Boal says. “What’s amazing to me is that participants have already eclipsed walking the distance across Canada (7,315km) in just 14 days by walking, alone or with other women, each day.”
“With all the people I have met who stopped drinking, not one got sober on January 1st or as a result of Dry January” Boal noted. “Everyone comes to a place where they just know it’s time. So for those frustrated by not ‘getting it right at the right time,’ all I have to say is the only right time, is your time.
I didn’t stay alcohol free the first time I tried,” she continued. “It took me six solid trips around the ‘Shame Game’ until I was ready. That’s because no one gets sober because someone wants them to. We get sober when we understand that our lives, OURS, are suffering and we have the power to change it.”
After tripling its 7,315km cross-Canada goal in 2022 by walking 22,267km, She Walks Canada’s borders expanded in 2023 with an invitation to women around the world to celebrate a global journey to an alcohol-free lifestyle.
“This year we are thrilled to continue our objective to “walk the walk and talk the talk” as a movement supporting women choosing to live alcohol-free,” Boal said. “In addition to our year-round group coaching support calls, today through June 17, we are going to virtually circumnavigate the globe – 40,070km – with more than 550 walkers and 10 teams from five different countries already registered and walking. And our registrant list is growing daily. I encourage women everywhere to join us as we proudly take the next step as a global movement thriving in the joy of alcohol-free living.”
Walkers from Canada, Australia, England, France, and the United States are participating in this year’s walk.
Last year, the movement helped more than 700 women, facilitated 231 Virtual Conversations on Zoom with more than 650 participants from all 10 Canadian provinces and territories, and five countries, in both English and French.
The Virtual Conversations are held on Zoom and facilitated by certified life and recovery coaches. The calls are an easy, convenient way to meet new people who are changing their relationship with alcohol, to get the judgement-free support they need, to celebrate each other’s milestones, and to be coached in a positive and supportive group environment. The level of participation is entirely up to the individual, including whether to use your video and microphone during the discussions.
“Our virtual conversations are one of the most critical elements of our program,” Boal said. We have five facilitators who provide participants with everything from a safe place to vent, a non-judgmental environment to be seen and heard, and coaching feedback if requested. Our conversations provide a safe space for participants at all levels to make meaningful connections. Our conversations take place at either 1pm EST or 8:00pm EST on the day specified by each of our facilitators.”
The virtual conversations help women cope with their alcohol use disorder as evidenced by many of the comments from participants in the program. While names are omitted for privacy, one speaks to the power of the program. “I am on my first all-inclusive vacation since I’ve been alcohol free! I used to drink a LOT on these types of vacations, and at first I was feeling out of sorts, I didn’t know who I was or who to “be” in this environment. It’s also my daughter’s first vacation to a resort. This morning I woke up and the uncomfortable/uneasy feeling was gone, replaced with gratitude for this experience – not being hungover, dehydrated, and shaky, haven’t lost my voice, and fully taking the experience in as well as seeing it through my daughter’s eyes. It’s magical. The party days are gone, replaced with joy and longer days! And the resort is big, so I’ll get lots of km’s in!” Another said, “Today marks six months since my last drink – feeling empowered and blessed.” And “Day four and no wine. Feel fabulous. Had my son visit me for dinner, and I served Mango Kombucha in the fancy wine glasses. Delicious and felt so much better enjoying a tasty non-alcoholic drink and having clear thinking.”
“I’m amazed and humbled by the women who have joined our movement,” Boal said. “Whether you join us in our 2023 goal to circumnavigate the globe —40,070 KMs—as a united, global community walking together and logging kilometers; or participate in our Virtual Group Conversations changing their relationship with alcohol, She Walks Canada is with you one brave step at a time.”
To join the free She Walks Canada movement, go to She Walks Canada Sign Up.
“We want to celebrate women who are thriving in sober living and those trying to achieve it and raise awareness for the variety of support and recovery options that are available to women, Boal said. “Every woman’s needs are different. We are here to support whatever those needs are.”
Boal is a certified life and success coach specializing in getting the “Still Stuck Un-stuck”, a podcast host and producer , an athlete, and a passionate advocate for women’s physical and mental health. She earned a Diploma in Music Performance from Kwantlen Polytechnic University (formerly Kwantlen University), a Bachelor of Music in Performance from Brandon University, an Artist Diploma from The Vancouver Academy of Music, completed post-graduate studies at the University of Manitoba, completed summer opera programs at the Banff Centre for the Arts and Creativity, the Janáček Academy of Music and Performing Arts (Czech Republic), Weimar Opern Studio (Germany), Casalmaggiore International Festival of Opera and Song (Italy) and at the Cabaret Conference at Yale University.
In addition to the successful completion of our 2022 walk and helping over 700 women in the first year, SHE WALKS CANADA achieved numerous milestones including national and regional televised news interviews, national and local print media stories, magazine articles, and podcasts in Canada and the US, and has more than 4,000 followers on Instagram who are actively and frequently engaged with the platform in their efforts to change their relationship with alcohol.
“I can’t express enough thanks to my team who are working hard behind the scenes and to those who have financially supported SHE WALKS CANADA through our Go Fund Me campaign,” Boal said. “But most of all, thank you to the women with whom we have walked, and will walk this year. We can, and do change our relationship with alcohol, together,” Boal believes.