No alcohol for a month

They may not be enjoying it, exactly – their friends are even calling them ‘unsociable’ – but RUG students Reinout and Laura have survived their first two weeks without alcohol. All that is left is the rest of the month.
By Freek Schueler / Translation by Sarah van Steenderen

Since 1 March, neither Reinout (23)* nor Laura (20)* have touched a drop of alcohol. Together with more than 10,000 others they are participating in the IkPas (IPass) campaign, which means they are not drinking alcohol for a month.

For Reinout, a master’s student in technology and operations management who drinks approximately 20 units of alcohol a week, the main reason to join the campaign was to live a healthier life. ‘I want to be more motivated to work out more and be healthier, to have a better waking rhythm and get more done because of it’, he explains.


A few months ago, he quit drinking for a longer period of time for medical reasons. But that was because his health was at risk. ‘This time around, I’m really doing it for myself. I do think that’ll make it harder’, says Reinout.

Laura, a student of religious sciences and a member of student association Dizkartes, is mainly curious about the effects of not drinking. ‘I expect I’ll be losing some weight and that I’ll be sleeping better, which will probably give me more energy’, she says. She does not think she will have trouble sticking with it, although she will miss her glass of wine with dinner.

Halfway there

After two weeks, Reinout and Laura are halfway there. Are they seeing the advantages yet? Do they indeed have more energy? Or did they slip up with even just a sip of booze?

Laura says it was fairly easy for her to stick with it. Her friends also reacted positively to her sobriety: ‘As long as I still joined them in going out, they were all fine with it.’ Reinout agrees. ‘I announced beforehand that I wouldn’t be drinking, which makes it easier’, he says, referring to drinks organised by his study association a week earlier.

And yet they are both enjoying things a little less than before. According to Reinout, there is something nice about drinking beer just like everyone else. His friends even said it was ‘unsociable’ of him to not drink for a month. Laura, meanwhile, has decided to not attend a gala because she is not drinking. ‘The entrance fee includes alcohol, so just drinking water or coke would be a waste of money’, she says.


But the two have noticed that there are advantages as well. Shortly after he had stopped drinking, Reinout discovered he woke up feeling fitter. Especially getting out of bed has become easier. Over the past few weeks, Laura has been plagued by a nasty cold. She thinks that not drinking meant it has not turned into something worse. ‘I probably would’ve gotten ill if I were still drinking.’

They both expect to last the month. After all, they are already halfway through. Besides, says Laura, March is not a very exciting month. There are few parties and it is too cold to sit outside on a terrace, so not drinking is quite easy. Reinout is missing his chill-out beer and is looking forward to the end of the month. In two weeks, we will learn the end results.

* At the request of the interviewees, the names Reinout and Laura are fictional. Their full names are known to the newspaper staff.


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