Time for balance and a decision

Almost three kilos lighter, a better night's sleep, zero night sweats, virtually stress-free and an ever-rising VO2Max… That's the sum of two months without alcohol. If it were all in one pill, half of the Netherlands would take it!

But it's not about taking a pill, it's about something that you have to let go, and in practice letting something turn out is much more difficult than doing something. I don't know how that works after these two months.

What I did discover during that time is the role alcohol plays in my life and what kind of drinker I am. I discover that alcohol symbolizes the same to me as ever the cigarette: adventure, freedom and autonomy. As a student living in rooms, I felt happy when I spent an evening alone with a glass of wine listening to my favorite music and wrote my thoughts in my diary. I spent an entire evening on that one glass, intensely satisfied with the moment (autonomy). In a good restaurant it is not the habit, but the curiosity about the match between wine and dish, and - to be fair - also the story that a good sommelier tells (adventure). After I've walked twenty-five kilometers, that cold Weizen on a terrace is a wonderful end to a beautiful day (freedom). In the four categories that are mentioned - social occasions, treats, negative emotions or weak defense - I fall mainly into the category 'treats'.

And I know that I am not -yet- strong enough to say: 'I will look for that reward in something else.'

So what now?!

In the NRC I read an article with the headline What to drink if you don't drink. It's about how 'en vogue' alcohol-free living is becoming and that there are now so many good alternatives.

The message feels like one 'from above', just that little push I need to sign up for the next quest: 40-Days-No-Drop.

There is one day between KortDroog and the next challenge: March 1. A few weeks ago I thought: if I continue, then one day I will open a nice bottle. Now I realize that exposes exactly what category of drinkers I'm in.

I find that it doesn't feel right to reward myself with something I don't want to feel like doing at all. The alternative I have come up with makes me happy. In the run-up to the next challenge, I allow myself to go on a drink hunt. For the coming IkPas period I buy 40 non-alcoholic drinks that I don't know yet. One for every day. I'm going to judge them with the same curiosity as an exotic whiskey or a new wine.

Just the thought of this adventure causes a happiness that no drink can match. Bring on that next challenge.

Margreet (51) lives with her husband and teenage son in the middle of the country. She is now an experienced IkPasser, although not all her pass attempts were equally successful. After Dry January she also participated in KortDroog.






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