Participant speaking

Then just post once. Took quite a long time to do it. After all, you shouldn't talk too much about yourself, but the realization that it's about me has landed. When I abruptly stopped smoking 45 years ago, I thought 'it's better to stop smoking than to drink'. I saw smoking as an addiction and also experienced the negative consequences of it. Drinking, on the other hand, was fun and only had positive effects. I now have to skip a whole lot in the time that I'm not proud of. My brother passed away four years ago. That has really impacted me and our family. For a long time I was aware of drinking (much) too much and that this had to stop. Trying went with ups and downs. I was well on my way, but after the death of my brother things threatened to escalate again.

Then came a cover. I followed an advice from the funeral director (for another matter) and stood in front of the mirror. Looked myself in the eye and then asked myself whether I should continue my drinking or stop. I realized very well that it would be a tough job, but also that it would be fatal if I continued with my 'habit'. So I spent days…nights thinking and asking myself: 'WHEN?' By now I had read about Dry January. I had heard that you shouldn't stop on January 1 because that wouldn't work. That's why the thought came to mind to stop on January 2 and I signed up for Dry January. And people: I like it very much! sign me up every month for the next challenge and therefore also signed up for: 'Fit for vacation'.

Fortunately, I experience many (known) benefits. To name 1: A pack of 6 bottles of 1½ ltr. sparkling water costs me € 2.94 excl. deposit (at the yellow supermarket). That is currently going through at least in 1 week. When I calculate what my alcohol consumption cost per week, I am ashamed!

A nice side effect is that I went from 94 to 83.4 kg. No alcohol means (for me at least) a lot less appetite for all kinds of snacks. This combination will undoubtedly have led to this result.

What am I trying to say with this story? "So it's possible!" I don't believe in all kinds of remedies myself. At least not if you don't support it yourself or are ready for it. My advice would be: turn that switch in your head. Again, I'm certainly not proud that - according to the people who learned for it - I belonged in the category of people who had to seek help. But my conviction is that when you look yourself in the mirror in the eye and ask the question if you want to continue like this... and you dare to turn that button in your head... it can be done. And suppose you can't do it without help; then seek that help, take that help, seize it with both hands. You have already taken the first and most important step!

Now something else: I sometimes read or hear that it is difficult to indicate that you 'don't drink', but you don't have to. By the way, you can be ahead of certain comments, for example by refusing all the cookie or something with your coffee, like 'I'm cutting back a bit. 'Usually people respond to it and I continue: 'The first kilos are off. Almost no snacks and no alcohol since January, goes twice as fast.' The focus is no longer just on the alcohol. And lo and behold, generally only surprised and/or approving faces and comments. Really, it only has advantages. We are currently on holiday where we have been coming for over thirty years. One of these days I noticed in the supermarket how much peace it gives me! For years I was only concerned with the purchase of beer, wine and something stronger. Partly visible to my wife, partly secret. That's just over, I'm so happy!

Matthew (68 years old)


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