Alcohol program head Ninette van Hasselt of the Trimbos Institute (knowledge center for addiction care, among other things) in Utrecht says: “Breaking habits, detoxing is good. That is also possible in this reasonably playful way.”
1. What does it do to your body, such an intercalated non-alcoholic fasting month?
A month without booze immediately spares the liver and the rest of our human system. Experiences of temporary quitters show that soon after stopping the drink, they experience that they sleep better, often lose some weight and that it is ultimately good for their condition. Van Hasselt explains: “It does the body good! You feel better. After all, alcohol is a poisonous substance. Drinking increases the risk of cancer, such as colon or lung cancer.”
2. Does it have a lasting positive effect, in the somewhat longer term?
Van Hasselt sees more opportunities to stop in a year: “It is always possible to stop, it does not depend on one month, as is now January. It can also be done again after carnival, for example.” The idea of a drink break works better if people read tips on the website or participate in IkPas, as it turned out in practice. “It also enhances consciousness. ‘I can spare quite a bit’, you can discover. Because the effect of alcohol is also between the ears. The realization that things can be done differently is already an advantage and that you can participate at any time.”
3. Does it make sense to participate?
Bodies such as the GGD indicate that it makes sense to try. There is now widespread support for the campaign. “It’s a good idea, a good time. People are also done with it after December,” says GGD Groningen, for example. “We also promote it through our site.” Many other healthcare institutions are also joining in.
Campaign leader and co-creator of IkPas Martijn Planken therefore states wholeheartedly: “It makes sense! It has been proven. I shout ‘Let’s try!’ Discovering this could mean a game changer.”
4. How many people are participating?
Planken sees plenty of enthusiasm to participate. Several tens of thousands of participants had registered on the site on Monday afternoon. “People are already logging in a lot. But it’s probably about ten times as many people in the country; hundreds of thousands we assume. It has become very broad, IkPas was even a ‘trending topic’ on social media. The government has also supported it since 2017.”
5. Can it also be done in a few weeks?
The challenge is also possible in February, that’s how it is! It also fits in well with the trend towards healthier living. People just have to find their feet for a few weeks, but then they discover how it can be done.”