One of the side effects of not drinking for a while is that I increasingly notice the presence of alcohol. At parties and dinners the question 'red or white?' was automatically asked. stated. But even with social activities kept to a minimum, temptations are still lurking everywhere.

For example, on TV. If there is something to celebrate in programs, there is champagne, and during talk shows, the drink is often on the table all evening. Alcohol is also regularly served in films and series. A kind of unintended advertisement. Although commercials for alcohol are not allowed during the day, I see them regularly at night. These advertisements emphasize the desired image: young, healthy people who are tough and enjoy life. By fitting I find that just the opposite is true!

In the supermarket, alcohol is not limited to its own department. Every treat seems to have a bottle of wine. A different kind every few meters: with the cheese, with the fish, with the nuts… Alcohol goes with everything, if you'd like. Then the offers: every week a 2-get-1 pay. I hardly ever have wine in the house. If I wanted a bottle once, and the second one was free, I would of course take it with me. "Handy, already for next week." That second bottle hardly ever made it into the next week, but I soldiered on the very next day. I did it myself. But yes, those temptations… I was pleasantly surprised to read in a newsletter earlier this week that offers will be limited to 25%.

In Sweden, where I lived for ten years, alcohol is present in a very different way. Not less; different. Alcohol above 3.5% may not be sold in supermarkets. And the light beers that are there are neatly in their own department. Higher concentrations of alcohol may only be sold in special state-regulated stores. Offers of alcohol are also prohibited in those stores. "We never try to tempt you to buy more than you intend to," it reads at the entrance. Those shops are therefore very boring: everything neatly sorted, nothing special brought to the attention. I didn't realize it that way at the time, but now that I look back on it, I think it's nice that supermarkets are mainly about food.

I also doubt whether the alcohol policy in Sweden has a better effect on health. Beer of 1 or 2 percent was not seen as real beer by my colleagues and was regularly consumed during working hours. Furthermore, if you drank a glass of wine with dinner during the week, you were considered an alcoholic, while you could drink yourself in the weekend without anyone being surprised. I looked at it at the time, soberly and with wonder. I now look with the same amazement at the fact that the Gall&Gall is open and the gym closed – not exactly good for health either.

Last year I found it very difficult to fit. Fortunately, it is now easier for me, although it is sometimes difficult. I am more aware of the temptations around me. I can think more and more rationally about the choice of whether or not to drink. Then I think, 'I don't want to drink today, because I want to read an interesting book or get up early tomorrow.' The subconscious desire for a glass of wine with every temptation I encounter gradually weakens. And that feels wonderful!


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