During a conference for “Holistic Health” in Flanders, (Belgium), I met Michael Niclaus, a young adult who was once addicted to alcohol and was able to free himself from the clutches of alcohol. He did that by maintaining a video diary and recording how he was doing each day.
Alcohol is everywhere
One of the things I heard him lament is that while he was acutely aware of not having drunk a single drop of alcohol in the past 50 days, yet he was daily confronted with alcohol. He saw advertisements in magazines, on the street and during TV commercials. It made not drinking alcohol an incredibly difficult challenge.
The advantages of alcohol
Michael has started giving lectures to young people to tell his story. And he has found a wonderful and simple method of teaching young people how to let go of alcohol. He doesn’t preach to them about how bad alcohol is for them, how it damages their still-developing brains, how it affects their livers, how it undermines their health or the arguments they unconsciously cause with family or in their relationships. No, he has young people think about the advantages of alcohol! Write down a whole list of them. What are the advantages of drinking alcohol? Sociability, relaxation, being able to throw off your restraints and be wild, have contact with your friends, get rid of shyness, to forget, to feel a part of things, for a sense of belonging, to numb oneself, to have funny experiences, etc.
Are the advantages really advantages?
When the young people have made their list, the big question comes. Look at your list of advantages again. Be very honest with yourself. Are those really advantages? Does alcohol really do these things for you? Is this the only way? When Michael works with young people and asks them these questions, they come to the conclusion that all the advantages alcohol has can be nullified and crossed off the list, as they are all “temporary advantages” and a very high price has to be paid for them. Fighting with your parents, losing your cell phone, becoming involved in fights, falling down the stairs, the enormous shame towards your friends, photos on the Internet that can never be removed, relationships that break up, diminishing (sports) accomplishments. Too many to list them all here.
The man with a mission
Michael’s got more to offer. He wrote the book, “The Drop” (available only in Dutch) about what he did when he still drank and what his turning point was. He is very open and certainly recognizable for young people who drink. It is a book to read in one sitting and is very honest. It gives instant insight into what can be going on inside of a young person. And… Michael hands this book out to young people at the schools where he gives lectures! For free! He spoke last year to more than 10,000 young people and is now working on a crowdfunding campaign to make it possible for him to print more books to share. I am very impressed with this! See his campaign here.
Parents: keep asking questions!
Michael is an enormously inspiring person to me. It is very pleasant to listen to him speak about what he has been through and he makes himself very vulnerable while doing this. He has taken the path to an alcohol-free life and has been able to turn it into a wonderful mission, one in which he also reaches parents. If something is difficult for parents, it’s reaching out to their son or daughter when he/she drinks alcohol too often. He wrote a second book for parents, “I’m So Tired of This” (available in Dutch). This book was written to teach parents, partners and family members how they can best react to their son or daughter. Michael wrote me, “Keep asking questions! What are your dreams, your goals, and your vision? What gives you energy? Otherwise, parents are too judgmental towards their children and therefore actually towards themselves, because children mirror their upbringing :):). By asking questions, you make it more positive.”
In his book, he writes about how his parents did this. These moments were not nice, but his parents kept asking the questions and made it possible for him to think about these things and free himself from alcohol’s clutches. The book, “I’m So Tired of This”, shares clear examples about how you can best deal with this. I truly hope his books will be translated into English!
It’s nice to know that Michael started doing the MIR-Method! Who knows what it will come to mean for him and for other young people. I hope that they will want to try the MIR-Method. And that they will watch the video about dealing with addiction with the MIR-Method.
I don’t think that I, as a 49-year-old woman, can reach young people as he does. That’s why I completely believe in his mission and will support him however I can. That is particularly by letting others know about the great work he does! Absolutely fantastic! Michael, you’re it! And if this young man changes his weakness into his strength, then maybe he is inspiring for you too and you can see a bit of a mission for yourself?
Are you one of those parents who struggles with your children’s alcohol drinking? Let me know what that’s like for you! Thank you!
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