Does the enjoyment outweigh the damage?

Margreet (almost 51) lives with her husband and teenage son in the center of the country. She entered Dry January for the fifth time in January, although not all of her attempts were equally successful. Last year, she also participated in 40 days of no drop and she herself added a month of alcohol-free in September. This month she is participating in KortDroog.

And there I suddenly find myself alcohol-free after Dry January in another booze-less month. Why? Because drinking alcohol is always possible.

Quite spontaneously I recently signed up for KortDroog. Not drinking went well, it took no effort at all and if I failed, I would still have made it through that dry January.

Already on February 1, I will be put to the test. My bestie is taking me out to dinner. My first restaurant visit after the lockdown. If I hadn't signed up for KortDroog, I would certainly drink a glass of wine now. And two too. But going for the ax right now on day one, I think is a bit flimsy. Somehow I would also regret exposing my cleansed, relaxed body, which has gratefully flourished during the past 'dry season', to alcohol again.

I notice that this is a difference with the previous years that I participated in Dry January. Then not drinking felt like a self-imposed punishment that I was serving, only to immediately 'reward' myself with a good glass. Even then, as now, I experienced the benefits of a month of abstinence: better sleep, less stress, lost a few pounds. Still, I always felt that after that month I 'deserved' some drinks.

Since the previous Dry January and 40 Days not a drop, I decided to investigate exactly what my ratio to alcohol is. I admit: I am a fan. A full-bodied red wine, a fresh white, a spicy specialty beer or a smoky whiskey… For me, alcoholic drinks are an adventure, a journey of discovery into surprising flavors; I don't drink because I want to feel looser or out of habit, I drink because I can enjoy it intensely.

But I also notice that when I have a drink – even if it's just one or two glasses – my heart rate is elevated throughout the night, my sleep is lighter and my nighttime brooding is harder to stop. My smartwatch shows me every morning after that alcohol is not healthy for my body. In short, my body sends out completely different signals than the pleasure signals I experience when I drink.

Recently, the question of conscience has arisen: does the enjoyment still outweigh the damage caused by alcohol? I do not dare to answer that question yet, do not dare to face the consequences of the answer.

And so I put off that drink for another month, just as I put off my next cigarette fifteen years ago. I'm not saying, "Never again." I say, "Not at the moment," although I'm pretty sure I won't drink alcohol on my birthday one of these days for the first time in thirty years. And the fact that that doesn't feel like a sacrifice, but like a liberation, makes me very hopeful. :)


Blog Margaret

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 in his…
Lees meer
Wijzig instellingen voor chat