Drinking out of habit

24 March 2021 / Topical / Background

Drinking out of habit is always drinking at fixed times, with certain feelings, with certain thoughts and in certain situations. Before you know it, you'll have an unhealthy habit. Ellen (65) always drank a glass of wine before her break while cooking and another glass with dinner. But not now.

Ellen: “I've been drinking two glasses of wine a day since I was a student. I don't know any better than that it starts to gnaw at the end of the afternoon, after a day of work or study. Then I feel like drinking wine, as if to reward myself for what I did that day. For me, the moment when I start rattling the pans, is the time to pour a glass of wine. It just belongs together.

But that was then. I have been participating in IkPas for several years now. Some breaks are more successful than others, but that doesn't bother me. I've learned not to see it as a failure when I do drink a glass during my break. That I joined IkPas is because of what someone once said to me. At the time I was dealing with a burnout and we talked about drinking alcohol and what it does to your body. That person then said: “Alcohol makes you tired, and if you have a burnout, alcohol can intensify or promote feelings of depression. You think you are doing yourself a favor with a glass, but you actually work against your recovery, because your body has to work extra hard to process that alcohol.” I have that in my ears. I decided to take a break to see what it would do to me.

Since this year's break, I'm experiencing a pleasant benefit. I sleep a little better. And that's saying something for the notoriously bad sleeper I've been from childhood. I now wake up less often during the night and I sleep more continuously for longer. In previous years, the effect of pausing was not so clear. I can't say for sure that I only owe this to my alcohol break now, but I'm sure it plays a part. I think it's worth not going back to my old drinking habit for that reason alone.

I think after the 40 days I'll just keep doing what I'm doing now. Now, during my break, I sometimes drink a glass. I can really enjoy that. And I am at peace with that. Usually I continue taking a longer break, to compensate for those 'wine days'. I take breaks my way and that works fine for me. So most days I don't drink. It is mainly because of my better night's sleep that I can make that choice easier. The fact that I now have more energy motivates me to keep going.

I think you could say I broke my habit. The cooking moments are still difficult, though. But when such a craving overtakes me, I drink a cup of broth instead of a glass of wine. Also tasty."



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