stubborn thoughts

The head is off: the first days without alcohol from 40 days no sip are a fact. It was high time because after Dry January I was kind of falling back into my old pattern. For no good reason, that too: I liked the month without alcohol so much (ticked all the boxes: more energy, better sleep, weight loss) that I planned to drink only very occasionally, and certainly not during the week . But no: stubborn thoughts and entrenched habits soon took over. I'll go through a few with you.

There is always a reason for that one glass of wine – or well, two then: a student son unexpectedly comes home for dinner. The first day of spring. A friend comes to cry out for her heartbreak. A fantastic ski day. It's a shame to throw away the have bottle that's left from yesterday's dinner. New neighbours. An exciting working day that went well. With a drink it is comforting, cozy, even festive. With a drink it feels like I'm celebrating life. And before I know it, I'm drinking almost every day of the week again. All the energy I put into thinking up reasons to drink – what a waste of time and effort.

I often think I've earned a drink as a reward – another persistent thought. Sounds pretty logical right? Like I'm kind to myself and take good care of myself. But if I drink a glass of wine at the end of the day while cooking, I don't feel like doing anything but lying on the couch in the evening. If I drink a bottle with my love on Friday evening because we have both worked so hard all week, we don't have the energy to go for a run on Saturday morning. So I have less energy and decisiveness after the alcohol reward – what kind of idiotic reasoning is that?

Another persistent thought: that I relax with alcohol. Ingrained habit: take a glass of wine to bed at the weekend and then read for an hour. I can look forward to that. I fall asleep more easily – through that glass, presumably. But the sleep that follows is not relaxed and deep, so there is no real relaxation at all. I now know that after reading for half an hour without wine, I fall asleep just as easily as with wine. The advantage is that I sleep more deeply, wake up less often and wake up rested.

Just those thoughts, they just keep buzzing around in my head. That nice, languid feeling of that-may-because-I-deserved-I have to do something with it. It won't be a problem for the next few weeks: I've been trumpeting that I won't drink a drop for the next forty days, I'm accountable to you, and it's easier not to drink at all for a period of time than to deal with those nagging thoughts in the time afterwards. I will keep you posted and would love to hear about your experiences. You can also read my blogs at and leave comments there.

Hannah in short:

I am Hanneke Wetzeler, 55 years old, proud mother of three sons studying and partner of Robert Jan. In my work as a Dutch teacher at the upper level of a secondary school, I enjoy the contact with all my students, the variety and the dynamics. No day is the same; some days give energy while others guzzle energy.

Sport and the outdoors are important to me. I try to do something active every day: I walk, run, cycle on my racing bike, in winter I like to go skiing and in summer I like to sail. I also like to lose myself in a book or a movie and I write my own blog:

Alcohol helps me relax after a hard day's work: a glass of wine while cooking or late at night. At the beginning of this year I participated in Dry January and I liked it so much that I now want to take it a step further. I would like to keep you informed of my experiences.



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