Benefits: reveal yourself!

“Mars beer?… Oh no, that's right, of course you are dry” As if in a bad dream, my buddy pulls a blond foaming beer away from my outstretched hand, to exchange it in one and the same movement for a Jupiler 0.0 .

Hans Kazan is nothing to do with it. I look outside in amazement and see red and white men strolling over a plastic football field….. red and white tiny stripes, where I am used to the real tough red and white on dark green grass. For a moment I think I'm an extra in a bad B-movie, but I'm really at the Castle, at a Sparta match. I am confused; as a boy from the south I shouldn't be here, but as a loyal follower of the Duke such a castrated Belgian is not done at all. I shrug, take the bottle patiently and take a sip. It doesn't disappoint. The red and white score… gosh how nice. I look a bit sad at my fake beer, but have now hardened all shame as I am through 4 weeks of passes, 28 days of snide remarks and dozens of misguided jokes.

A few things have changed in that small month.; I was in the beginning still an outsider, with my big mouth naturally full in the spotlight, now more and more fellow passers dare to come out. At first a bit shy (oh well, I didn't drink that much anyway) but little by little the real stories emerge. The tenor of these stories? Unnoticed we all drank more than we wanted to admit and unnoticed we downplayed the consequences. My comrade's action is also typical in this light; 2 weeks ago he poured the beer himself in my mouth, so to speak, now he knows I mean business. Passers are no longer corny or drowsy...passers are sensible and increasingly the admiration for such steadfastness gains the upper hand, and the non-passers (how simple is it to stigmatize people) look for excuses for their weakness. Fitting is so 2020!

When I woke up refreshed on Sunday, and had already run a half marathon before breakfast, I was reminded of a famous saying: “It provokes the desire, but takes away the performance” by William Shakespeare. My training ran like the shining sun and cheerfully I enjoyed every meter and that had been different. Long before I got back, I had edited and corrected Billy's lyrics: “Not drinking provokes the desire to run and improves the performance”……by Mars. It is now clear to me that my body, after the initial withdrawal symptoms, will benefit from this alcohol-free month. I sleep more contentedly with dreams that still help me the next morning, I no longer need a cold splash in the swimming pond to wake up (I'll keep doing this, by the way, just for fun) and walking is just smoother. And very secretly, bit by bit, the scales are creeping towards the desired 81 kilos, so I have (to stay in beer terms) become a few bottles lighter.

In addition, it is nice to see that I have managed to motivate people to examine their alcohol intake. In my immediate environment there are already a handful that have gathered behind me, and this weekend I received a sweet email from a lady who felt strengthened by my blogs. At least I'm not sitting here in front of the cat's k…violin writing bits with my tongue between my teeth. I would be lying if I said that this is not extra motivational.

OK and what now? After a rough start, I got better and better in my role as a passer. In fact; it has become a part of my life over the past few weeks. Writing these pieces of prose has of course contributed to this, because partly because of this I have become more aware of what I am taking in. In a few days I can let the beer flow freely again, but I have resolved not to do this. Sunday, after my Ultra-trail in Limburg, I make room for a few beers and some wine with dinner, but then it's ready again until the weekend after. In addition, I am considering joining the next IkPas period that will start at the end of February, and then extending it to Sunday 17 May; the day I hope to finish physically and emotionally exhausted in Vipava after a 40 hour run through the mountains. Maybe I'll get to write bits again, or maybe I'll just become an Anonymous Passer…we'll see. In any case, I had great pleasure in sharing my fantasies, and I hope you have experienced it that way too. If you are going to miss my blogs so much, you can always follow me on my own Facebook page 

When you're glad you're finally rid of me…..forgotten again! And for now…..just a little bit more…we will fix those last few days as well. We should be proud of ourselves and each other!  







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