It's a wrap

When my mother - very exceptionally - spooned out a glass of lawyer during the visit, she invariably said that she was blown away by it. I saw my father maybe once in his entire life. He invariably drank two drinks a day, because that was - at the time - 'good for his heart'. It hardly ever became three, unless the visit was still there and the evening not yet over; then it would be three. His father, my grandfather, was a member of the Blue Button, at a time when you still got a pay sack on Fridays with which many men came staggering home through the pub. When I went out when I was 15, I didn't get a warning not to drink too much. That wasn't necessary, because I was sweating all night on the dance floor and needed a gravy more than a berry gravy or beer.

In short, alcohol was not a thing for us in the past. Not something you should be anxious to control. It was quite normal to drink a shandy at a wedding as a child, but you didn't drink ten to get yourself in a daze. Anyway, I can't remember when we 'dipped in' before going out. In my case, that loss of control would only diminish the joy of dancing. In my student days I sometimes spent a week with a bottle of wine and I experienced my first hangover well after I was twenty-first…

All these memories, of a life in which alcohol barely claimed a place, have surfaced in recent months. We talk a lot at home about the role alcohol plays in our lives and that of the generations before us. We also talk about the change in health perceptions about alcohol. 'Alcohol is going to be the new smoking', we conclude, and to be honest I can't wait for that to happen. My son, almost seventeen, insists he doesn't want a drop of alcohol before he's eighteen, because it affects his brain. I feel pride and relief at seeing all too many mothers around me struggling with their teens' curiosity about booze; mothers for whom alcohol itself is not an issue at all, because they do not or hardly drink. I keep hearing that as a parent you stand the best chance of making wise choices for your child if you lead by example. I believe so, but I also think that you - as a parent, but also for yourself - should be aware of the fact that we live in an alcohol-drenched society, in which the power of seduction is enormous and vicious.

By experiencing that over the past few months, making a deep dive into my own relationship with alcohol and arming myself more consciously against all temptations, I feel that I have broken a pattern. They are sober, but still shaky steps on a path that from now on will consist of two splits: the choice between alcohol or no alcohol. I'm sure I won't always take the same exit. I also know that from now on I will make the choice consciously every time. I think that's a nice harvest after three months! And I'm curious: what has this period brought you?

Margreet (51) lives with her husband and teenage son in the middle of the country. She is now an experienced IkPasser, did not go looking for alcohol-free alternatives during 40 days and reported on her experiences with and without alcohol.


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