Participant speaking

Babette climbed into the pen and shared her story with us. We can say a very positive story.

Babette (44 years old) “I didn't drink very often, but when I drank, I drank a lot. During the week and on weekends with my children I drank very little. Occasionally 1 or 2 specialty beers. But the other weekends (I have my kids one weekend and not the next), I often went out on Friday and Saturday nights. Then I drank a lot of beer. Going out without drinking was unthinkable. How could I relax, dance, cope with all those stimuli at the same time? I always made sure I didn't have to drive, so I either went by bike, by public transport or booked an overnight stay. I noticed that I didn't always go out for fun and contact with friends, but also for the alcohol intoxication. I didn't like being drunk, but that line always blurred halfway through the evening. Always regret the day after, and such a burden from the hangover!!

Dry January was coming. It would be my second time participating. I doubted beforehand whether I really wanted a month without… But a month with very few parties, so I had to be able to do that and if not: 'then I have a problem'.

From day one it felt like a liberation, a gift for body and mind. After two weeks I already knew that I wanted to last longer. 100 days, that's what I went for. No more hangovers, delicious! Maybe my stomach would get a little flatter? And above all, going out and planning things that didn't necessarily have to involve alcohol. I also had to be able to relax and dance without it.

Another two weeks later, the idea was playing in my head without alcohol for a whole year, but why start again after that if it feels so good? The plan to quit altogether came to my mind more and more. I didn't share that with anyone, but people knew about my temporary stop.

The reactions were positive. A few people around me said that an occasional drink really doesn't hurt. And yes, that's right. But I know that the occasional drink doesn't work for me. I don't stop in the middle of the evening, I want more and keep going.

Now, mid-May, I'm still completely stopped. I go out: visit festivals, listen to bands, go to the pub and spend evenings in clubs. I keep it up until the end of the evening and really enjoy it. I feel strong! And never suffer from that horrible hangover again. And I'm a water drinker, I just love that and I don't want to stuff my body with sugars and I've never drunk many soft drinks. It also saves a lot of money when going out.

Thank you IkPas! Dry January made me realize what booze means to me. I've had fun times with it, but also less fun times with regrets afterwards and sometimes a sick feeling.

I am now happier, more relaxed, have much more patience, feel more comfortable in my own skin (literally and figuratively) and can just party and act crazy. Precisely because I am freed from the idea of needing to drink.

It strikes me now that alcohol is seen as normal. People think it's strange that I only drink water in the pub and at a festival (I never drink non-alcoholic variants of beer or wine, for example). On a birthday, the word 'boring' is even said when I ask for water. In TV programs champagne is drunk at the happy ending, in commercials alcohol is portrayed as a product that makes your life more beautiful. People sometimes drink daily with the idea that it helps to relax after the working day. People have to 'drink in' before going out to get in the mood.

Many people think that alcoholics are people who drink every day and all day long. That they don't have a job, don't see family and friends anymore and neglect themselves. But the alcohol problem starts much earlier. Anyone who drinks could lose grip at some point. The boundary from a 'normal' drinker to a problem drinker is vague and unclear and is different for everyone.

I am happy to have found myself again, that I can be myself and feel good and strong. I also have no problem staying away from alcohol. I don't miss it. I hope to motivate others with my story.”

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Background

Tot hier en niet verder

Nederlanders staan open voor maatregelen die gezond eten en drinken stimuleren, maar het moet niet te dwingend worden. We willen wel moeite doen voor het verbeteren van onze gezondheid, maar…
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