We are excited to bring you this encore presentation of one of our most popular episodes. We hope you enjoy!
Lindsay Sutherland Boal realized her problematic drinking habits were profoundly negatively affecting her life in several ways and she had to drop the only vice she thought she had. She had no idea what that meant and this is her story.
You can read stories of resilience and share your story at: www.iamresilient.info
Trigger Warning: The Resilience Project provides an open space for people to share their personal experiences. Some content in this podcast may include topics that you may find difficult. The listener’s discretion is advised.
About the Guest:
Lindsay Sutherland Boal is an Empowerment, Life and Purpose coach, an executive responsible for relationship development at Urban Outline; she’s the podcast host and producer of The COVID Chronicles Canada and The Last Hangover Podcast, an amateur ultra-distance athlete, stage and TV actor, and opera singer and now the founder of SHE WALKS CANADA the national movement to engage both the sober and sober curious communities of women in and seeking recovery from Alcohol Use Disorder.
Starting January 24 through until July 27, 2022 women are invited to join the SHE WALKS CANADA movement in online, private conversations about problematic drinking, join private virtual online support gatherings, there is access to a variety of resources about alcohol-reduced/alcohol free living, a private group to support one another and find sober friends in addition, there is a virtual 7315 km cross- Canada walk supporting our goal to prioritize our physical and mental health. Learn more and sign up at www.SheWalksCanada.com
Donate to their cause: https://gofund.me/bf1e6b86
About the Host:
Blair Kaplan Venables is an expert in social media marketing and the president of Blair Kaplan Communications, a British Columbia-based PR agency. She brings fifteen years of experience to her clients which include global wellness, entertainment, and lifestyle brands. As a pioneer in the industry, she has helped her customers grow their followers into the tens of thousands in just one month, win integrative marketing awards, launch their businesses, and more. Yahoo! listed Blair as a top ten social media expert to watch in 2021. She has spoken on national stages and her expertise has been featured in media outlets including Forbes, CBC Radio, Entrepreneur and Thrive Global. Blair is also the #1 bestselling author of Pulsing Through My Veins: Raw and Real Stories from an Entrepreneur and co-host of the Dissecting Success podcast. When she’s not working on the board for her local chamber of commerce, you can find Blair growing the “The Resilience Project,” an online community where users share their stories of overcoming life’s most difficult moments.
Learn more about Blair: https://www.blairkaplan.ca/
Submit your story: https://www.iamresilient.info
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trigger warning, the Resilience Project provides an open space for people to share their personal experiences. Some content in this podcast may include topics that you may find difficult, the listeners discretion is advised.Blair Kaplan Venables:
Hello friends, welcome to radical resilience, a weekly show where I Blair Kaplan Venables have inspirational conversations with people who have survived life's most challenging times. We all have the ability to be resilient and bounce forward from a difficult experience. And these conversations prove just that, get ready to dive into these life changing moments while strengthening your resilience muscle and getting raw and real.Blair Kaplan Venables:
Welcome back to another episode of radical resilience. I'm Blair Kaplan Venables and I am so excited about today's guest, because not only she one of the coolest people I know, but we have something very important in common. We'll probably have a lot of things in common but something very important. So Lindsey Sutherland bowl is an empowerment life and purpose coach, and executive responsible for relationship development and urban outline. She's the podcast host and producer of The COVID Chronicles Canada and the last hangover podcast, and amateur Ultra distance athlete, stage and TV actor, and opera singer. She's also the founder of she walks Canada, which is the national movement to engage both the sober and sober curious communities of women in seeking recovery from alcohol use disorder. Lindsay Hello. Welcome to radical resilience.Lindsay Sutherland Boal:
Blair I'm so happy to be here. Thank you for inviting me. It's so great to hear your voice and see your face.Blair Kaplan Venables:
Oh, I love it. If you know out there in the pod land you can't see our faces. But if you could guys would love what we looked like right now. We look like women who are getting shit done. I have my get shit done been I'm wearing a smashing test romper? You know, and I'm really excited. So Lindsey, I really want to hear your story. And I just want to say like, I'm really excited because she walks Canada launches like officially launches soon. And so I'm getting my lazy ass out of my computer chair and walking, walking, I'm walking in preparation, I'm doing practice walks to see how far my walk is and how many steps it is and how many kilometers kilometers it is. So I can do the math to figure out how much I need to walk. And I'm bad at math. And I have little legs and trying different routes because I'm new to where I live. Anyways. Lindsay, hi, who the heck are you? What's your story? Tell me all about you.Lindsay Sutherland Boal:
Hi, Blair. Well, thank you very much. So yeah, my name is Lindsay and I, I have to this we've come I think the best place to start. I am the founder of she walks Canada, which is the national movement to empower and engage women who want to lead lead alcohol reduced or alcohol free lifestyle. And I came to that honestly. Because I certainly have had, you know, everything going for me I had an interesting career that allowed me to travel the world and I was able to get an education. You know, I've been married a few times he's counting. And I'm, you know, I really been very lucky in my life. But the problem that I had is that I drank too much. And it negatively impacted every, every area of my life. And what that looked like for me is I underperformed in every avenue of my life. You know, I had to perform to work I underperformed in my friendships I underperform. My marriage, I underperformed everywhere. And it just got to a point in my life where I no longer wanted to set myself up for a life that didn't matter. Because everything I was doing was setting myself up for life. That wasn't going to mean anything because I wasn't showing up. And I decided I wasn't going to spend one more day not showing up. So I made the big bold, bad, difficult, empowering, enlightening, grueling, challenging, euphoric decision to stop drinking. And why that was so important is because I was I was drinking alcohol like wine, red wine was my drink red wine. Pretty much it didn't matter what kind of was. But I was doing that every day. And I did that to numb out from the either depression or anxiety, I was feeling because of the life that I had created. The more that I drank, the more I seeped into the well of underperforming. And, and that overtime made me miserable because I knew I was capable of great things, and the only thing I seem to be capable of was numbing out. So I made the decision to change and, and it was brutal at the beginning. And I, I had no sober friends, I had no sober community really. And I didn't know what I was doing. But I knew that I had to make a change, or it was going to kill me. Really, it was either going to kill my soul or kill my physical body. And I didn't want either one. So I started walking. And I got out of my house, and the longest I could walk on the first day that I didn't have during which is January 24 2020. I went for the longest walk, I felt like a freaking rock star, because I walked for two kilometers. Like, I feel great. And, and I like being outside in nature, you know. And I felt like I could breathe in here myself, it was very strange. And the next day, I didn't drink, and I went for another walk. And it was another Tuesday. And then the next day I didn't drink anyway. So this goes on and on and on. So but by the time I got to 11 months sober, I was walking 10k a day. And my life totally changed. And I had no idea what I was in for, but I knew it was a hell of a lot better than where I'd been. Whoa. Well, bravo. And as long story when thatBlair Kaplan Venables:
was great, it's not even over yet. That's just the beginning, like January 24 2020, was only two years ago, you have a huge, long life ahead of you, you know, you you have been, oh, I don't know what the word is like not to sound religious, but like reborn, but you're not reborn. It's like your rebirth. Because you have to relearn how to do everything sober. And I only speak of this because your story resonates with me because I'm also sober. And my day is January 1 2019. So I am three years, no alcohol, and I had to relearn how to do everything in my life without alcohol. And the fact that you took it to the streets to heel toe and hoof it, move it around and got up to 10 kilometers a day is so empowering. Because you didn't just wallow you've made you made a conscious effort to do something about it and to become a better version of yourself. Now, I I was just thinking when you said your date, which is January 24th 2020. That was two months before the pandemic. Oh, how was that for you?Lindsay Sutherland Boal:
Well, it's funny. I mean, there have been so many times where I said during the pandemic that if I was still drinking, I would be I'd wake up drunk. And it was an observation that my, my husband shared with me, as you know, upon reflection, once I got sober, he said, you know, it was interesting, because your drink is what he said you're drinking, it was getting earlier and earlier. And earlier, I didn't necessarily notice that you're drinking more, but I noticed you were drinking earlier. And, you know, with the pressures that we're all feeling, you know, with COVID, I would absolutely be drinking at like 9am, you know, and I'm just so grateful that that's not the case. And so, I believe for me actually, even though in some respects, it's it's difficult to to have been sober throughout the pandemic, I feel like it's one of the greatest blessings for a bunch of reasons. Number one, I could blame the pandemic for not being social. So I didn't have to go out and have that weird, awkward experience where people ask me if I'm pregnant, because I'm not drinking, you know, and all the stupid things that people say in question when we're not drinking. So I didn't have that. But I could also go through my process of the difficulty at the beginning part of recovery alone, you know, because I wasn't expected to be anywhere because nobody was expected to be anywhere. So I think I really got a little bit lucky with the timing of the pandemic pandemic, even though it may seem as though it would be a difficult time to get over.Blair Kaplan Venables:
Yeah, I mean, it's interesting, like, Thank you for sharing because for me, when I stopped drinking, my social circles changed because my activities changed. Things changed and my group of friends like I still had the same friends but what I did instead of making dinner and drink plans was let's go on The hike, you know, doing daytime activities? And yeah, I mean doing it when the excuses know, like not to go out because that's a pandemic and you can't like you actually can't go out is is kind of a gift because it's, you know, I, the pandemic had a lot of there, and we're still in it, it has a lot of darkness. But there is a lot of light in the darkness. And, you know, not just did you choose to go silver, but you chose to walk like what other? Like what kept you going every day? Like, did you choose to go to another organization? Like a did you have a mentor? Like, tell tell me about like the supports you had in place? Or did you just do it alone? With your two legs?Lindsay Sutherland Boal:
Well, I Okay, so in July of 2019, I, like I had known for a long time that I'd had a problem with drinking, but I wasn't ready to do anything about it. And then sometime in July, I don't I don't know what possessed me, but I put something in the search engine and out popped and dosa Johnston's book, drug, the intimate relationship between women and alcohol. And when I read that title, I'm like, Oh, my God, I resonate with every single word in this in this title. So I read the book and, and, you know, it was like the stamp of approval that you never want to get alcoholic, you know. And I certainly wasn't prepared to call myself that I wasn't prepared to do anything about that. But in reading that book, I was prepared to listen. And so for six months, I went to everything that Anne spoke at, and I try to why did I start reading a lot of Quizlet books, Laura McGowan's book was really helpful. We are the luckiest, Lisa s Smith's book rocks out of a bar. Catherine gray. What's the name of that unexpected joy of being sober. It's actually my funny, the funniest Silberberg. But so I started reading reading literature equivalent. And I also found myself at. So funny, I call it group when they were just, you know, meetings for women. And it was with a group called she recovers. And it was all women. And I had never been to a group before. And I had called, like, a, for example, and I tried, legit, I tried twice to go to a and I'm like, do, I just was not going to, for me, I was not going to get into a basement of a community center with a bunch of people I didn't know, especially a bunch of dudes and get vulnerable and share my shit. Like, there's absolutely no way that I was going to do that. But I would go to a group. That was women, that would be talking about not just alcohol, but for whatever, whatever it is that they were dealing with. And so I was the drunk jerk that would be going to these meetings, and I wasn't like drunk at the meetings, usually, but I did still have a drinking problem. You know. And so I remember the first week and you know what this is like, and when you go to these meetings, you everybody introduces themselves say as it says their name, you know why they're there, you know, and you know, what they're grateful for, I'm like, I just want people to get the fuck out of here, right? But then everybody, you know, does their share, I'm like, I'm gonna die. I don't want to be in a sharing circle. I don't. Anyways, but the most amazing thing happened, you know, that we do the share, I agree to agree with myself that I would at least participate in this one fucking meeting that I didn't want to be at. You know, and, and so when it came time to share, the first woman went, and she spoke for like, five minutes. And it was, it was the most raw, authentic, vulnerable thing I had ever seen. And she was an alcoholic. And that shocked me. But what was even more shocking was the response from the women that were also in the room that there was, there was no response. Nobody gave advice. Nobody crosstalk nobody gave their to set is none of that shit. It was a bunch of women. There listening. And what I've come to learn is holding space for this woman who is sharing her shit. And I started to cry was the so I was a drunk jerk in the room that started to cry. And I said, I remember thinking to myself, I'm never going to see that again. That was a once in a lifetime thing until the very next woman did the exact same thing. And then the very next woman did the exact same thing. I'm like this group meeting chat. That's amazing. I got to do this. And so I went every week. Every time I could go, I went. And it wasn't until six months later that I decided it was time to pull the plug. But there was something about being able to show up to those meetings where I could show up as myself, you know, still drinking and they still looks and I did. I hit it. I said to them, Listen, I'm still drinking, you know, and I was a bitter drunk, I was drunk jerk. But they took me anyway.Blair Kaplan Venables:
And that is so powerful, because there is a lot of focus on people, women, who are sober, who want to get sober. But I don't really see a lot of support out there for the sober, curious, who are still drinking and they know one day they have to stop just today is not the day. And the fact that you had that community is probably a huge part of your journey. So thank you so much for sharing that. And, you know, we're coming up to January 24, you're two years sober, Versary. I don't know what to call it. Some people call it a birthday. But what are we doing, Lindsay to celebrate?Lindsay Sutherland Boal:
I'm so excited. So she walks Canada is a reflection of what worked for me and my recovery. And there are two things that were present in my life, the seventh time that I got sober. At the time that it stuck in those two things were that I had a community of women that were weathering the same storm. We're all in different boats. But we're weathering the same storm. And I had started to walk every day without it without excuse. And the combination of what in reflection I now realize is prioritizing my physical and mental health allowed me to create a support system that would get me through, you know, the first several months when I was most likely to go back to drinking. And because I had those systems in place, I was able to stay sober and continue to stay sober. And I think the greatest testament of the strength of my sobriety is that when I was sober, curious, I remember thinking, like so many women, how are you going to have a life without alcohol? Do I even want to live that alcohol like to, I can't imagine a situation where I would choose to trick. And that is an incredibly empowering place to be. And so on the 24th of January to July 27, the she walks Canada platform is live. And what we're doing is offering online support gatherings, just as they were for me when I was going through recovery. In all the time zones across Canada, both French and English, facilitated by certified life and recovery coaches. There is a online Facebook group that's private, where we can go support each other share stories, find sober and accountability buddies. There's a huge resource section on the website, you know, podcasts, books, articles, things that I found particularly helpful to me as I was getting sober. And there's the the last hangover podcast that I will be hosting. And it will feature women leaders in the sober movement, but also many of the international bestselling authors of the books that were pivotal on my recovery journey, specifically the ones that I just mentioned. And the movement isn't just for people who are, you know, wanting or trying to drop the bottle. I mean, like there's a whole bunch of other people who just want to support us. You want to lead an alcohol free life. Awesome. Let me support you. And some of those are the husbands of us. Some of those are the best friends of us. Some of them are co workers of us. And it's great to see the support for people who just want to be better. Yes,Blair Kaplan Venables:
it's not just for those who are sober. It's for those who are sober, those women who are sober. It's for women who are sober, curious, it is for males and females who want to support the sober and sober curious and how can they support us besides registering for free anyone can register for free can even be anywhere in the world. Right? Yeah. And, and getting out of your computer chair and off the couch and walk. Which is super simple. For most people. I shouldn't assume anything. But I mean, there's other ways to support to like you have a GoFundMe?Lindsay Sutherland Boal:
Yeah, thank you for mentioning that. And also with the with the walking you can ski cycle swim, snorkel, don't care. Just as about being physically active,Blair Kaplan Venables:
and your body, move your body she was Canada's it's basically like she moves Canada as you move your body.Lindsay Sutherland Boal:
Yes. And our goal is to get you know from one one side of the country to the other in six months, so we're going to need all the help we can get. But, you know, when I first envisioned this, this walk in April of last year, we needed to build a platform that could house you know, this initiative. And through the generous support of 74 donors, we raised $20,000 To do that, and we are looking to continue receiving donations so that we can continue to continue to provide the support that half a million Canadian women need. And just as a note, you know, there that is the stat from 2018, that there's half a million Canadian women that are dealing with an alcohol issue. But let's also note that that is a pre pandemic number.Blair Kaplan Venables:
So if you're listening to this, and there are people in your life that you want to support, like me, I'll be walking, you know, I'll be walking, I'm sober. My friends out there if you're listening, even if you're still drinking, if you still drink you enjoy your casual drinks or whatnot. friends all over the world, male and female, you can sign up just register whether you walk once a week or every day. You walk you walk I know you do, you get out of bed. Get out of bed, and a lot of my friends we've become a peloton group. And I just noticed the other day I'd like it tells me how many kilometers I've written. I'm better at writing very far on my peloton than walking. But I lost your soul. Yeah, I love it but can't take a man I love the peloton. But the fact is, like, you know, you can just be a supporter, you can be my family, you can be Lindsay's family, you can be a co worker, you can be anyone literally if you're thinking about this, and you're listening, you're like, I don't really know anyone who's sober, sober, curious. I bet you you do, why not sign up and do this anyways? So like to join, there's no financial commitment. You're just committing to move your body and log your kilometers, because how many kilometers? Is it between coast to coast? It's like 7000 something, right? Yeah,Lindsay Sutherland Boal:
our route is 7315.Blair Kaplan Venables:
So now, yes. Well, would that be amazing if we could even surpass that?Lindsay Sutherland Boal:
Yes, it would. And the thing is, I think that this is true, I think I think we will surpass it. Perhaps not in the first year because we are building. We are in the foundational stages of building this movement and redefining what this movement is to Canadian women. But over time, we're going to walk back and forth. And we're going to do it over and over and over again.Blair Kaplan Venables:
So if you walk 10 kilometers a day, and there's 365 days, I'm bad at math at least 3600 kilometers. Yes. Is that right? It's covered by Lindsay. So come on Canada, on worlds, we could help her with the other half. I mean, maybe I'll get up to 10 kilometers a day. But I move my body every day. And I think it's so important because you know what, like you I tried to quit a few times, I, my father lives with addiction. You know, grade 12, I was voted water while this party animal. I was the kid sneaking in, you know, bottles of rum tape to my inner thigh and to concerts and school dances. And I had a lot of fun. Like, I always knew where the party was. And it was great. But, you know, as I got older, and you know, as life got more real, you know, I didn't have a drinking problem in the sense of waking up and drinking all day, every day. I like to think of it being more of alcohol was the gateway to making bad decisions. So for me, I could say no to one drink. But as soon as I had a drink, I wanted more. Yeah. And at the end of 2018 when I learned my father was terminally ill my father who lives with addiction, who I am a lot like my drinking just got scary. And it was holiday time I was in Whistler, there was free booze everywhere. And I made a decision. Okay, New Year's is going to be my last time drinking. I don't know for how long because I tried to stop drinking the year prior. And I stopped for three months. And what got me was I got on a plane to LA. They brought me up to first class and gave me free champagne. Now how could I say no to that, but today, I turned down so much free alcohol, bottom of the barrel premium booze because to me, my health is much more important than a flute of champagne in first class. Also, where am I going? It's a pandemic, but that's besides the point like I knew in December 2018 that New Year's is going to be my last drink. I didn't decide if it was going to be forever. I just said while navigating my father's end of life. I can't be drinking because I have anxiety. I have depression. It wasn't Making everything worse. And I was just not liking who I became. And on New Year's Day, so my last drink was probably at like 4am. You know, because it was a big party night because I knew I was saying sayonara to that person who I was. I woke up to an apology letter from my dad apologizing for his addiction and for being the father, he became because of his addiction. And that was just a confirmation to me that like, I need to take sobriety seriously. You know, and ever blurb that you weren't an alcoholic? I'm like, What do you mean? Like, who are you to define what I am? But you don't have a problem with drinking? I'm like, Well, I do like alcohol is a problem with me. Which means I have a problem with alcohol. And there's such a spectrum, right?Lindsay Sutherland Boal:
I'm so glad that you said this. You know, a lot of people who say, how do we support our, you know, when somebody says to me, I have an alcohol problem, or like my wife has an alcohol problem. So one of the worst things to say, is no, you don't. And I want to explain why that is not a good thing to say and offer an option. So when somebody says to you, I have a drinking problem, or I'm concerned about my drinking or I need to get help. The response is not you don't have a problem. And the reason why that response is not the right response is because it's actually an enabling response. I believe when people say no, you don't, the intention behind that is to make the speaker feel better, you know, like, don't worry about it, you know, it's okay, we'll work it out. But what it's actually saying, number one is you've just negated what the speaker has already just said what their experience is. And so that is not the time to come back and tell them they're wrong. And it is also not the time to enable the problematic behavior that they know and are now admitting is problematic for them. So if somebody comes to you and says, I have a drinking problem, the best I should sit, there are many good, good responses. But let me just go over a few good responses.Lindsay Sutherland Boal:
How can I help?Lindsay Sutherland Boal:
Thank you for telling me.Lindsay Sutherland Boal:
Thank you for trusting me with that information. I'm here.Lindsay Sutherland Boal:
I'm here. I'm not going anywhere. What can I do to support you?Blair Kaplan Venables:
Such powerful responses. And a lot of the times when someone's struggling, you might be a close friend. And you don't know, because a lot of it happens behind closed doors. Like I will never forget that my dad knew most of his drug use happened alone and behind closed doors. And just what you see is usually the tip of the iceberg with anything. Like you don't really know what happens. And especially now especially because literally all the doors are closed. Yeah, the masks are on. But, you know, I think what we have done is started to have this really important dialogue in the in the radical resilience world. You know, the Resilience Project came out of the same experience with my dad, you know, my dad, and I story is what inspired my sobriety. And that is what inspired this podcast and you, Lindsay are so inspiring, and I'm excited to walk alongside you. But in British Columbia. I want to invite everyone listening, everyone that checks us out, sign up, sign up, she walks Canada, the goal is to launch with, you know, how many how many named people do we want registered?Lindsay Sutherland Boal:
Ideally, I'd like to have 250 people on the start date, which is January 24. And the reason why Signing up is important I just want to offer something else is because when somebody goes to the she walks Canada website, and they are sober, curious, and it's a pretty lonely feeling, to be honest, to admit to yourself that you have a problem because the majority of us when we admit for the first time, we think we are alone. And we think we are alone, because nobody talks about it, too. They're like nobody's gonna I was never gonna say to my friends, I got a drinking problem while I had a drinking problem while we're having a drink, like come on, you know, I don't have any sober friends what? And so what happens when people register on the shoe box Canada website, as a supporter or as somebody in the movement or as somebody who's donating to the cause. And there's a little icon that drops on this Canadian map. And every icon represents either a person or a team of people that are saying, yes, you can. I'm here, how can I support you? So that's why it's important to register.Blair Kaplan Venables:
So I know I have a really big commission Have supporters people who have been following my journey. You know, this year was a big year I almost I almost slipped. I almost had a drink a few times, you know, with losing my mother and having to deal with everything, but I didn't. And it's because I have this supportive community. And so I look forward to my community registering. Like, that's all that's all you need to do is register and, you know, maybe you want to clock your kilometers for you Americans out there. kilometers, not miles. But you know, okay, so we got to wrap up, we got we got listen, I'm gonna have you back. We're gonna check in because this block goes till July. And we're only in January. So I think we need to do a mid walk check in. But also like, we need donations because you need to support the movement. And this is a passion project. Just like the Resilience Project. The Resilience Project is a passion project. Blair Kaplan communications is my business. I'm a social media marketing expert and mentor. I'm a writer and a speaker, the Resilience Project came out of a need to create a community just like this podcast, radical resilience. So I understand the importance of passion projects, because your project she walks Canada is changing lives and is helping it's educating it's building community. And you're right, sobriety can be a very lonely road. And it doesn't have to be an end of time where we're so interconnected or not connected, physically, but connected online, it's really important to have that especially if today's the day you're making a change or Tomorrow's the day or next week. So, Lindsay, where can people find you?Lindsay Sutherland Boal:
She walks canada.com She works Canada on Instagram. You can find me at Lindsey Sutherland, bowl.com and Lindsay sambal on Instagram.Blair Kaplan Venables:
No, Lindsay Okay. You know what, I want to hear from you? What's a piece of advice you have for someone who's going through a similar challenge or journey? Super curious. Whichever way you want to go, whatever advice you feel that our listeners need from you today.Lindsay Sutherland Boal:
I would say that this piece of advice is not advice is not necessarily for sober, curious people who are sober. But I have become very present to there is one thing that stands between where we are and where we want to be wherever that is. And that is that we've got to stop carrying the emotional weight of others unwilling to carry their own emotional weight. We matter. Yes. We matter.Blair Kaplan Venables:
Protect your boundaries. That's right. You are responsible for you. And that was so powerful, Lindsey. So I invite you to walk with me and Lindsey sign up at she walks canada.com All of her information for the movement and for Lindsay is in the shownotes thank you for tuning in to another episode of radical resilience. It's been great connecting with you, Lindsay. And I cannot wait to see how many kilometers we can block in the next seven months. Thank you.Lindsay Sutherland Boal:
Thank you Blair