Page 1

There are three sides to every story. Your side, their side, and the truth.

Anonymous


BAD TIME STORIES Editor: Kristina Sperkova

Active — sobriety, friendship and peace is a European youth organization gathering 25.000 young people who have decided to live sober. We consider alcohol consumption an obstacle for development of individuals and society. There is too much harm caused by alcohol. We think we can contribute to improvement of living quality of individuals in different societies by abstaining from drinking. Active with its 500+ youth groups and 25.000+ members offers a safe and alcohol free environment where children of addicts can learn to be children again, experience friendship and trust. By this Active breaks the chain to reproduce the alcohol problem into the next generation. We are promoting alcohol free life style and offering an alternative to those who do not accept alcohol as a natural part of our cultures.

This book is published with the help of grants from Council of Europe and European Commission


These pages are echoes of your stories

Š by Active — sobriety, friendship and peace Layout: Olaf Jobmann Cover illustration: Kristina Sperkova Printed in Slovakia, 2010 Printed by: Webprint s.r.o, Slovakia www.activeeurope.org


Ida Braaten, Norway

The book you are holding in your hands right now, the title of which you might be wondering about, asking yourself whether there is a spelling mistake in it or whether the title was really supposed to be that provocative, consists of two parts that are interwoven. One part is the "Bad time stories" and the other one is "Under way". "Under way", which opens the whole book, is like a way that connects various towns and villages that have already been there. "Under way" was built additionally, exactly the same way as roads that people build when they discover that there are other places to see but to reach them might be complicated. We have created "Under way" to be able to travel from one true story to another. "Bad time stories" is a collection of true stories. "Bad time stories" are no bedtime stories. "Bad time stories" is a collection of stories that not many people will read before falling asleep. "Bad time stories" is a unique and very important collection of stories that are not unique. Unfortunately they are not. "Bad time stories" are stories about violence and fear, about regrets and ignorance, about loneliness and disillusionment that we can find in all parts of society. "Bad time stories" need to be spread, so more people understand that they are not alone. The idea of this book came together with the idea of having the campaign "Content matters". The aim of this campaign was to offer space to people to express their views on youth participation and on role of youth in the prevention of violence. All the people caught by the idea of "Content matters" had the opportunity to publish their stories, pictures and slogans on the campaign's webpage http://contentmatters.activeeurope.org. Seven winning pictures were printed out as stickers, and many of the texts and pictures collected are connected to each other. We were told about violence of different

5

Foreword


If all of us understood the importance of our actions that often are seen as insignificant in the complex machinery of happenings, "Bad time stories" could also promise a spirit of a bedtime story, a happy ending of a goodnight tale. Kristina Sperkova

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6

kinds - violence outside, violence behind the walls of so called homes, violence between individuals and violent pressure of society forcing certain norms on all of us without questioning the consequences. We got to listen about reality that is often unspoken, be it for reasons of taboo, kindness or discomfort, and we have given it a voice in the form of this book. The following pages carry the stories about civil courage and standing up to the norm. They bring the examples of active participation that each and everyone can get involved in regardless of the specific issue of engagement. True stories. The stories, which are going on out there, but do not become headlines of the evening TV news. The stories, which bear their heroes who are not remembered and archived together with the popular magazines. We are happy that we have managed to capture this reality and compress it into these pages so we are now able to share with you a tale that starts in a narrow street with no exits but slowly broadens with each person who cares until it reaches a crossroad of hopes and conscious choices.

Annika, Faroe Islands


"Under way"

8 Sasa, Slovakia

The entire world seems to be on the road, always out and about. Each and every person seems to be headed somewhere. "Under way". Every step we take is meant to be a step into the future, is meant to bring us closer to something that lies ahead. What is that something? I walk through the streets, shopping malls and marketplaces, I wait at bus stops and train stations and I find myself in the midst of yet another wave of people on yet another airport and everywhere I witness, eye-witness, the same faces, the same gestures, the same attitudes: underway. Hurrying ahead. And as I find myself in the middle of a crowd, mass, a mess of people, all trying to enter the metro first, I am being flushed back and forth, here and there by the people who hurry ahead into the metro, ahead with the metro, ahead from the metro, ahead to the future, to something in the future. What is that something? As I am flushed around, pushed, punched and prodded by yet another mass of people, I happen to see the faces clearly for an instant: they, too, have question marks on their foreheads, question marks in their frowns, question marks in their eyes, unsure of what that something is. Uncertainty goes away when we head somewhere. We might not know where, but at least we are under way. I came to realize this during that insignificant instant when I was drawn into a metro although I was heading into the opposite direction. Last Tuesday I stopped being under way. But first I was forced to be underway when the metro machine swallowed me together with all the other question marks and flushed me into the opposite direction I originally was heading. Last Tuesday. The machine soon started to spit out more and more people; every time its doors opened like mechanic starting signals and gave way for the next stage of the hazy hurry. I was prodded once more, this time into a free seat. There I sat, suddenly, with my shoul-

9

"Just because it's everywhere, it does not mean it belongs there"


10

ders aching. Fearful I looked at my watch and realized that I wouldn't make it to the meeting. I checked the watch on my mobile phone to be entirely sure. Isn't it strange that with this huge and growing amount of time-showing devices, we in fact have less and less time? I dwelt a little on that thought and looked through the window at the world. It was a Tuesday and I realized that I had travelled that way before. With my grandpa, actually. Where did we go? And when was that again? As I tried to remember, I surrendered to my fate and got more comfortable on the seat. The metro was almost empty now and started feeling cosy. Still trying to excavate memories in my head, I found interest in a newspaper on the seat next to me, but when I picked it up some pale, old rags of paper ended up in my hands. They really caught my curiosity and so I started reading:

e r ’ u o y . g n n u u , t o s y fun nd e r ' u o have oxic a y n Whe posed toourself t sup give y not

y

rwa

Ma

ri (2

No 0),

This is going to be a longer story. Or better: A Longing Story. "You are sitting on a bench in the park, it is getting dark already, but still the sun gives her last few warm beams to the earth. You can feel it as you can feel the soft breeze and hear the birds' Marie, Germany gentle songs. You are totally relaxed; every muscle of your body is loosening as you concentrate on your own regular and calm breath. At the moment you are feeling nothing but security and well-being. You are getting tired and it is not a bad feeling, you welcome it, you sense how you are losing yourself in this moment and you let it happen. You are not afraid of letting go of your consciousness. You ease up as you hear my words; you ease up and fall back in time." She was sitting on the rough, cold floor in her apartment. The only light came from a single candle, since she could not pay the bills anymore. She also could not afford to buy food or something to drink and, to be more precise, this actually was not her apartment anymore. The clothes she wore were old and rigid by dirt. The only thing that was not messy and broken was her little notebook, which she used as a diary and sometimes just noted her soul in it. She opened it; the first page contained a letter, one of several pieces of paper. "To Elizabeth Asbury, my daughter, the beautiful young lady, she has become!" it read. She swallowed at the thought of her father. Or the person she had called "father". Ellie blackened her name from the letter and wrote: Ellie Buried. She gave her new name a sarcastic smile. That was brilliant, not only because her mother hated it when her friends called her Ellie, but even more because it looked and sounded like "A lie buried"- which, in her case, was actually true. Her smile faded slowly

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Longing Story


12

Remaining in the Silence Waiting (what for?) Wasting my strength To grief Without really having to (that's me) Fading in Fear Waiting (for what?) Suffocating my tears By repressing Without really knowing it (that's me) Good lord, she really was lonely, was she not? She closed her notebook with a snap. Ellie needed to get out of there, needed to feel that she was alive. A few minutes later she was on the road - again. At this particular moment she appreciated the full moon, spreading his cold, coaxing light around her, showing her the way. Lost in her thoughts she was not aware of where she was going and the nightmarish feeling of killing loneliness rested upon her shoulders. After a while she dug out the letters and pictures her father left her- again. Ellie read as she was walking, or better walked as she was reading, and she still tried to fight back her tears, which were constantly running down her cheeks like little smithereens of glass slicing

her skin. She still did not realize what she read, this was so unreal, she could not comprehend what all these words meant, written in the most beautiful handwriting she had ever known. As Ellie looked up she realized where she was. Sometimes she thought that something - or someone? - had dragged her here. With a sigh she followed slowly the narrow path through the graveyard to where her father lay, and sat down. The pale moonlight illuminated the dark letters engraved into the marble stone and Ellie realized that it must be really seldom that someone was able to marvel at the beauty of a loved one's grave beyond the lachrymal curtain of mourning. This was so absurd. Her father hardly ever treated her okay, but still: here she was, sad and incredibly angry. Sore and grieving. She remembered the burial well, this unbearable variety of feelings, like the unlimited possibilities of colours a prism was able to create. Only that Ellie's feelings were just a thousand different shades of grey. And after everything her father had done, after all she had been through, she so wanted him to be with her in this particular moment that it tore her heart apart. She pulled her notebook out of her pocket and wrote: If you see me crying And walking down the street, Then please stop trying To tell me what I need Cause I'll never be flying Be the one who angels meet And I'd rather stop trying To get back up on my feet Ellie's words, although only a whisper, cut the bone-crushing silence: "I am tired of detesting you for making my life a constant World War

13

as she wrote by the bare candlelight: Sitting in the dark Waiting (for what?) Wasting my life Feeling lonely Without really being it (that's me)


She stared looking down into the river and memories, that made her feel at home, passed her mind, like the river's water flowed, following the rough tide. She saw her father's face in her inner eye as she jumped and finally, finally felt the peace of mind which she so had been longing for since the last desperate weeks. In this moment the world dissolved and every burden she had to bear was lightening and finally disappearing. The second before her body would dash against the icy water she felt love and was ready to see her father again, not knowing that an ambulance was already on the way. Marie (22), Germany

This honest and naked story caught and captured me. I missed the stop to get off and change for a metro back into the city. All the plans, the entire schedule for that day, last Tuesday, had to be thrown overboard. But somehow, surprisingly, I didn't feel annoyed, stressed, disappointed about the world and anxious about the missed meeting and the growing items on my enormous/mountainous to-do pile. The metro had transformed from a transport machine into a time machine for me, offering space for perspective. What was it that I had just read? How was that girl today? Was that a real story? Did the girl really survive? And how many people out there in the world which I was looking at through a metro window would have to experience similar things? And why, why couldn't, or worse, didn't anybody help her see a way out from the one-way street she must have felt walking along? My thoughts started spinning and swirling high and wide. For a magical while they were flowing into all possible directions, but the metro became transport machine again, cold and hostile with people elbowing their way through, pushing themselves into seats, into my seat, into my thoughts. Our world of hurried heading towards a something chases moments of reflection away. We only

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14

three, you know, and the way you treated me. Whenever I am in rage about your cowardice, your inability to face your life, my memory of your drunken breath, I see you lying on your deathbed, telling me over and over again that you love me and that you are sorry. What now? Too late to be sorry? I am tired of the doubtfulness you left in me. You could be so awesome and the next day so brutally disgustful. You knew so much, but often you weren't even able to speak. Sometimes you made it so easy for me to love you, like a daughter should love her father, but at the same time I needed to hate you or otherwise I would have lost my mind. You taught me a lot, but continuously you took so much from me. You know, I tried to meditate today, as you taught me to, and I actually heard your gentle voice inside my head, but then reality snapped me up violently, and it felt as if I was losing you again. I am tired of all the unanswered questions you left behind and I am actually tired of fighting, so I'll just give up. Although you were hardly ever a father to me, at least you loved me. I appreciate that after all, but you have to understand that I cannot do this anymore, since the worst thing is that I am more and more tired of living. So I am sorry, but this has to come to an end in order for me not to hurt myself again." Ellie stood up and laid her notebook on her father's grave, knowing that he would take care of it. Next to it she placed a bottle of his favorite whiskey to mock him, whispered: 'Cheers, dad', and slowly walked away. With every step that carried her further away from her father she felt more and more delighted. This was a good decision, Ellie was sure. People felt that much safer in the world when they had an aim they could try to reach. When Ellie reached the bridge where she had always gone for a walk with her father in the good, dry times, she finally felt something similar to happiness, because she had reached her aim for today - almost.


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see ourselves and leave little room to see others. It became clear to me somewhere in between two metro stops, so clear that it felt astonishing that I had never realized it before. And so, last Tuesday, I did something else unusual, unfamiliar: I got off the hazy hurry, got off the metro machine one stop earlier. I decided to walk home, slowly, but with clear thoughts. I walked calmly and content, more focussed on the story than on the way: Why could that girl not find help? This question circled in my head, appeared and disappeared and appeared again with stronger urgency: Why did the girl from the story not get help? Without having noticed it, I had entered the park where I used to play basketball, where I and my sister would train together and where I would meet friends. And suddenly I remembered an event that I myself had experienced way back in adolescence, which all the hurrying had buried under its musts and have-to's:

I want for who people to li not for I really amke me who I a , m dru nk . D채de

n (24 ), Sw itzerla n

d

Do you know the feeling of total freedom? I find it seldom, but there have been moments in my life when I felt this total abundance of freedom. I felt it in my hair on a crystal white snowboard slope; I felt in the moment when the ball that I shot hit the net; and I also felt it biking, free-handed biking, because my arms were stretched out to embrace the world, the entire universe, and as my arms were reaching out, my body was upright and my head turned to the sky, I was rolling, flowing, gliding with my bike through the world, with my bike to all my dreams. That's one of those magic moments of total freedom. I came from the library one chilly autumn day. I had found interesting books and read new thoughts which made me so happy and lighthearted that I felt like biking freehand. I was biking through the park where I usually play football, close to home. So I had everything under control. All my senses were enjoying the abundance of freedom and lightheartedness. Until I saw a gang of three guys taking up the entire way. I knew them. They hung out on the football ground where children can play and where they leave broken glass of their booze behind. Careless. I knew them. It is those guys who are so afraid of the world that they cling to the backstabbing hands of beer and vodka bottles, to at least get hold of something in this world. Also that day they walked down the bikeway with their bottles of cheap beer, beer cheaper than water. In our society there is not much space for magic moments and so I prepared to bike around them. They did not seem to be getting out of the way. From a near distance they started hissing at me. I figured they had recognized me. Too late did I realize that they were actually launching themselves at me. In an attempt to avoid one guy from pushing me from my bike I went to the grass in a big curve, but he came running and pushed me from my bike. I fell from the bike and rolled over the lawn. But the guys were not done yet. Now they wanted money from me or a mobile phone. While

17

Shame


18

getting back up on my feet I said that I had neither. One guy started to attack me by pushing me backwards. I could see the alcohol in his eyes! The other two were backing him up, with beer bottles in their hands. I figured that there was no point in getting into a real fight, so I let him push me around. Again and again. Finally they got tired of this. I was no street fighting material. But my bike seemed like a perfect victim for their drunken courage. While one guy started to leave, the other two started jumping on my bike; on the wheels and the frame; on the lights and the chain; I stood by. Shocked more than afraid. And then I started to look around. It was day time, late afternoon, in the middle of a park that lies in the middle of the city. There were actually people around. There were people watching from a few balconies. There were those who came from shopping and those who came from work. And in that moment, when the realization struck me, that there were people around, I felt as alone as never before and never after. My bike got ruined. My clothes got dirty and torn. Otherwise I was fine. Shaking, but fine. Shaking and alone. I took my bike on my shoulder and went home. Defeated not by the drunken bricks, but by society. I felt shame rising in me and with shame in my eyes I looked at the people who had witnessed the scene.

Maik D端nnbier (24), Europe

In that moment, in the middle of the park from my adolescence, in the middle of the day, last Tuesday, those stories felt connected. My own experience was fresh again and I could feel the emotions surfacing. As they did, I felt a connection to the girl from the diary. All we are silent seekers on the search for help or support or a caring word. Aren't we? This question was ringing in my mind and I tried to find answers in the buildings around me. High buildings, grey, with windows like cold eyes, empty eyes and balconies gazing at me like open mouths. Also the buildings carried question marks, like the people at the metro station, in the metro, in the world, and they made me wonder what was going on behind the walls, behind the windows. Maybe there were answers. Maybe there was caring, comfort or support, a refuge for at least a few of us seekers? Out of the blue of my wondering my thoughtful eyes were struck by a tearful pair of eyes. And for the fraction of a second, until I blinked, it felt like they told me their story and, in doing so, found comfort for the eternity of a moment:

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Maik, Europe

None came to help. In the middle of the city. Moments of total freedom have made me experience what can be possible. They made me see what I can do. In that moment of shame I saw into the grand canyon of our world, miles deep where morale and solidarity are forever buried. Because the truth is that there are more young, too young people out there. Alcohol in their hands makes them become time bombs. The truth is that there are worse cases out there, where perpetrators not only jump on wheels and lights, but on chests and necks and arms. And people stand by. In the middle of the city. I feel shame.


20

I used to cry. I used to cry a lot. I used to cry when you were not home. Worrying that the big storm outside would hurt you while you were out with your friends. I used to cry, worried WHEN you would come home. Worried how you would behave. Would you feel good? Would you be upset? Would the alcohol monsters in your body make you angry? Happy? I used to cry when you were screaming, because the sky was not blue enough or whatever reason you would find. I used to cry when you were arguing with my mom, with YOUR wife. I used to cry when you threw glass, things and especially words on me.I used to cry when you didn't care if you made us cry. I used to cry because I still can't understand why you became the kind of person you are now. Why did you let your potential and personality drown in beer? I used to cry because I was worried what would happen when we would go to the family party together.I used to cry because of the broken Christmas decoration. I used to cry because I couldn't bring any friends home, since no one knew how drunk you would come back home. I used to cry because you didn't accept even the basic logical arguments.I used to cry since no one else would understand ...or know... I used to cry since you don't see you are the reason why I don't drink. I would like to say this is the past and we all woke up from the nightmare and you have stopped to drink. But I can't. We are still living in a fear where no one can say what more damage alcohol will do. Sometimes I still cry because I feel better off without than with you. Dear father, stop it ... I want to be proud of you again. Alexandra (24), Slovakia

Lazjon, Albania

I walked, wandered more and greeted a friend on his bike, but was not really with him. I thought of the story of this pair of eyes I had just seen. We see so many things, every day, day in, day out, but only of few things do we try to make sense. On that last Tuesday I tried to make sense of the pair of eyes that talked to me, but then I heard two men on a nearby playground screaming at each other. It was impossible to understand what they were arguing about. However, it was clear that they were about to get violent. In those moments I used to feel pity for myself, for only being able to afford a place in such a cheap area and for the disgusting scenes I had come to witness. But on that day, last Tuesday, I felt how minor, how unimportant my tiny, selfish worries were, because I had the diary pages on my mind, because I had communicated for the fraction of a second with this pair of eyes. I believe they all opened a door to my memory that is usually held closed in all the hurrying and the heading to something. A memory of my friend from school surfaced like the feelings from the attack on me in this very same park. I decided to sit down and let the process of remembering take its course:

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I used to have a wet pillow


22

I have never been drunk and I have never wanted to be drunk. I tried alcohol when I was studying at school, but I didn't like the taste of it, as well as the way how my classmates looked when they were drinking. It seemed terrible for me to see a girl who was vomiting, falling to the ground or doing Hanna, Faroe Islands some other stupid things she would never do in normal conditions. I didn't want to look the same. Besides, I have 4 uncles and some of them are only a little bit older than me, so we often went to some parties together. They got drunk and became violent. They always wanted to fight and they did it. I didn't know how to feel - I didn't want anybody to hurt them, but neither did I want them to hurt somebody. So somehow I got a feeling that alcohol is not at all a good thing… And there was one more event that strengthens my feeling… Once, my dad was celebrating something in a bar with his friends. Late at night somebody rang at our door. Those were two policemen bringing my dad home. They said they had found him on the street. He went to bed, but in the morning we found out that something was wrong…He was talking some really strange things and his forehead was all blue. Doctors found out that there was something wrong with his skull; he had hurt it by falling down or somebody had beaten him. We can feel some consequences of this even today and I always think that it wouldn't have happened if he wouldn't have been drunk… PS: I've never understood those young people who go to some concert and then proudly tell that they were so drunk that didn't remember anything. What's the point of going somewhere then? I always remember every single minute of my life and I am proud of it! Ivana (26), Latvia

As I sat there on the bench in the park from my adolescence, watching how the police separated the two drunken street fighters, I started to think about how we remember. It seems like nothing is ever really lost and still we are not able to penetrate into any memory whenever we wish to. I tried as hard as I could, but I did not remember the year, the exact time scale me and my friend had spend together. Her story was stored in my head and it loomed from the depths of the ocean of memories, but the detail of time remained concealed deep in the ocean. My grandpa used to tell me a lot about his journeys as a train conductor and the small adventures he had experienced on different trips. I know all the cities he has been in, but when I am in one of them, I hardly ever think of my grandpa and that he must have stood at the same spot some years ago. How and why do memories visit us? And who decides what is important to remember and what not? Will I remember the pair of eyes behind a cold window and the feelings they evoked in my chest? Will I remember the content and the feeling of the diary pages; after all they had changed my perspective and my day. All of a sudden I felt a vibration in my left jeans pocket. Urgency re-entered my life when my mobile phone started ringing. My colleagues called, a bit worried, and as soon as they understood that I was okay, very angry, since I had missed the meeting and forgotten to inform them. But that day, last Tuesday, I cared a little less about the hurrying world, the elbow and metro machine world. I felt there was a reason why those diary pages ended up in my hands and in my mind, and I decided that even if I would never find out about that reason, I still wanted to dwell on the story, the following experiences and the somehow connected memories. My grandma had always been a passionate newspaper reader and collector, and she would share articles with me if she believed or decided that

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My active NO!


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they could be of importance to me. Over the years I had accumulated an impressive pile of cut-out articles. Following a feeling that I might have some material connected to the dominant topic of this day, last Tuesday, I raised myself and went home. On the way I only stopped to buy two pieces of apple cake, a newspaper and a good drink for an afternoon of contemplation. It is easy to get good apple cake where I lived, and newspapers are sold almost on every corner, but drinks, somehow solemn and tasteful which are not produced by the alcohol industry, are rather difficult to find. Eventually it was a box of yellow tea I bought and headed, no, I strolled home. The poetry of a good walk is its clarity, when thoughts start flowing in the rhythm of the steps, when every perception translates into a thought, when there is time for deep breaths and every deep breath infuses an idea with life, and when every step forward means one thought forward, because all thoughts, all ideas, all incomplete trains of contemplation fall into place, form a picture, a whole, and thus reveal that they are interwoven. My grandma, for some reason, never really liked reading fairy tales or telling stories, legends to me. Instead she would prefer to read articles from newspapers to me and tell me about real happenings and incidents. And as I walked downhill, leaving the park behind me, one of her real life stories sprung up into my mind:

lame b u o y n . e r o h r r w i e m m i a t e t k x Ne n , ta o i t c a r u o y r alcohol fo in the end ! It was you

a

), Slovaki

Sasa (24

I ran down the hill laughing. It was a crazy night, a great night. I joined the seven 14-year-old kids in my class, who were standing in a tight knot. "What's up?" I asked, but I didn't get an answer. Instead I heard snatches of the conversation they were leading. It didn't take me long to figure it out. One boy left the group with an empty beer bottle in his hand. I looked at it suspiciously. He was back in an instant; he had replaced the empty bottle with a full one. I knew that they had not brought the bottles along with them. I knew that it was wrong, but I didn't think twice about it, after all it hadn't been I who stole the bottle. That was the excuse I made to comfort myself. There were many German campers on the camping site with us and all of them had left to watch the semi-finals of the Euro 08, Germany against Turkey. When the bottle was handed to me, I didn't hesitate, but took a sip. It tasted horrible, but I didn't say anything and passed the bottle on. I was having a great time, just doing nothing, standing around and laughing at random things. This was exactly how I had imagined the end-of-year school trip; well, maybe without the bottle. Next to me, Linda had grabbed the bottle. She was gulping the beer down as if it was coke. I had to stare; I hadn't known that side of Linda. It disgusted me. Then Leslie arrived on the scene. "Take the bottle away from her!" she shrieked. I didn't understand what she meant and as no one else seemed bothered I didn't give Leslie or Linda any more attention. I didn't notice when the two plastic bottles were stolen. There was no label on them: it could have been anything. Later we agreed that it had been whiskey. We all drank. Even I had a sip or three. They had handed me the bottle with a laugh, saying that I surely wouldn't drink. It didn't taste of much, just burned terribly in the throat. Someone gave Linda the bottle and I discovered that it wasn't just beer that she drank as if it were a soft drink, but also everything else alcoholic. Leslie tried to stop Linda from drinking and took the bottle away from her. She told all of us not to give her

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June 25


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the bottle, but Linda came begging to whoever had the bottle and somehow she would always end up with the bottle. Leslie tried to talk to Linda, tried to tell her not to go down the same path again, but Linda just laughed at her and told her to stop worrying. Linda's condition became worse. Some girls were trying to convince her to go and sleep in her tent, but she wouldn't budge. She wanted to have fun. This went on for a while, until someone finally had the senses to put an end to things. Lena took both bottles and flung them into the river. Most of the guys got angry at Lena. They told her that they had it under control. But Lena just pointed at Linda or ignored them. And when I looked at Linda, I had to agree that it had been the best thing to do. And I noticed that I would never have had the courage to do the same. Finally some people managed to get Linda into her tent and the rest of the class sat in a circle on the grass and had a good time. Some guys were doing handstands and cartwheels to prove that they were still sober; some were successful and some weren't. I was in a good mood, but not everyone was. Leslie was worried; Linda had woken up twice to throw up, and vomit was spread all over the tent and clothes and luggage. I learned that Linda had been drunk a number of times before. I was shocked. Some girls went to help Leslie with Linda. Lena dragged me along; I wouldn't have gone ot-

Stephanie, (15), Switzerland

I walked up the stairs towards my little flat hardly noticing the steps, I unlocked the door and entered my little home. Home has always been a refuge for me, a place of withdrawal from the world, to be by myself, re-

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Dzenan, Serbia

herwise. Suddenly I was brought face to face with the sad side of alcohol. Linda had to vomit again, and there was vomit in her mouth and nose, making it difficult for her to breath. I had no idea how to handle the situation and I sensed that the others didn't know either. Once again it was Lena who suggested the right thing to do. She got our teacher, even though almost everyone disagreed with her. What happened next was terrible. I watched as the teacher and Leslie helped Linda out of her tent, she needed a shower, she needed to wash out the vomit, otherwise she would suffocate. Linda wasn't awake, but also not asleep. Leslie and our teacher were helping her walk, if that's what one can call it. She was placing one foot in front of the other and after a very long time we managed it to the showers. With our teacher around everyone noticed the seriousness of the matter. But it was only later, when he told us so, that I realized how close Linda had been to death. What a terrible way to die, I thought, especially if you're only 14 years old. As a result of to these events, I was afraid of alcohol. I hadn't kept my head together when I had been presented with alcohol. I didn't know if I'd be strong enough to say no. But now I know that it's not hard at all to say no to alcohol. Especially not with the memories I have to recall the negative side of alcohol. I've also discovered that it's possible to have the same amount of fun with and without alcohol and on the day after you still know what you did. For me it's pretty clear, life without alcohol is definitely a better life than life with alcohol. *) All names have been modified


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charge and obtain distance. But that day, that Tuesday, made me question how it must feel for other people whose home is not safe? How must the heart feel that belongs to this pair of tearful eyes I had seen earlier that day? And thinking that way I can't but hope that there is some comfort, some support for this little heart. But I can't be sure. Maybe the battered, pale diary pages belonged to that pair of eyes? I let myself fall backwards on my bed. That Tuesday was devoid of hectic and hurrying, but no less strenuous. It was in fact filled with bad time stories, but I hoped that the pile of collected interesting articles would give me more perspective and a clue of understanding. Chewing my cake I turned on the radio. I had never been familiar with the afternoon program, but was especially surprised by the topic of last Tuesday's radio show: "Civil courage - do you dare to swim against the stream?" I learned that people were welcome to call in or to write e-mails and share their views on group pressure, how to resist it and how to take actions even when nobody else does. For a moment I stood in awe, looking through my window into the squared eyes of all the concrete buildings surrounding me, touched by the inexplicable magic of life once you let it run its course: there in the radio I could listen to my day's headline, the theme of last Tuesday. I have not read the newspaper I bought last Tuesday until the day, because listening and paying attention to the people's testimonials consumed me. Some of their stories were striking:

I'm fond of his always been u tor y and I know that alco sed to keep the h underclass sioll has ent . Alex (37), Switzerland

Caring about the others and yourself... Being able to help when help is needed … Being aware of the people's feelings around you… simply care. I am sitting in a place with a group of people who actually care, who are aware and believe in a better world. I am sitting and thinking… What a paradox! What made me think about this is the story of a friend. While listening to the music and drinking Bosnian Coffee we started to think about the times in life when one feels very grateful. So I listened… His story started on a prom. Of course this is the part where it's easy to imagine a bunch of crazy teenagers who measure the amount of fun with the amount of alcohol in the blood. At least this is the case with most of them. My friend said this was one of the two times he drank alcohol. He had some at the prom. Afterwards the crowd moved to another place. And yes, he had more. The reason why he decided to leave the place and took his car to go home is something that would determine you as an unstable and not mentally healthy person in some countries, but I guess common sense is an unknown word in alcohol's dictionary. He left the place and decided to drive through the city a bit longer. Again why? Well, I guess if we knew the answer to these questions, no harm would be done. On the street he saw three friends and offered them a lift home. He drove one of them and the other two stayed to drive around. The rest of the story is followed by the driving out of the city and letting the other two to drive without driving license. The highlight of the night was the moment when they were supposed to go home and my friend decided to drive once again… That was the "safer" alternative. The road, speed driving, losing control of the car and almost crashing into a tree. They were lucky and only stuck between two trees. But what is special about this story? We've heard thousands of them already. We've all seen American movies on this topic and we totally got used to this. It's normal, it happens. What I really wanted to share are the

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Alcohol makes you ignorant


Azalea & Dzenan (23), Bosnia & Serbia

d n a o d t we ld a h w een ing wou lems. w t e b ce ble of do ld's prob n e r e f f The diwe are capa s t of the wor what e to solve mo suffic

hi

nd a Ga

tm Maha

Krsitina, Slovakia

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thoughts of my friend and me after he told me the story. He said he thought about the damage on the car first. He didn't see his girlfriend somewhere on the way. He forgot about the other two people that were in the car‌ "You don't care about the others, only about yourself," he said:"If somebody needed my help that night, I wouldn't be able to help." You are alone and individual in alcohol's conscience, and you create yourself the material for regretting afterwards. He realized how lucky all three of them were and the day after was the day he said "thank you" many times. You don't want to stop caring, because that's one of the things that make you human. the substitution of the mind and consciousness that you get with alcohol is only temporary and can cost a lot. My friend made me think and realize there are plenty of choices one can choose. I care, and he does, too. Lesson learned. Still grateful!


A story where there's nothing to tell about

Why don't I drink

I never got to know my grandfather. He had an alcohol problem and often drank too much. My mother told me how embarrassing it was for her to come home from school and step over her father who was stinking of alcohol and urine. One evening in the winter he drank too much again and fell asleep outside. He got very sick and died. It all happened long before I was born and this is the only story I know about my grandfather. Liis (26), Estonia

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There are many reasons why I don't use alcohol, but one of the most emotional reasons is this: I was four years old when my father died. He drank some alcohol and wanted to ride a horse. But the horse felt the smell of alcohol and became mad. My father fell off the horse and fell on a stone right with his head. After some days he died in a hospital. It is very stupid that a very clever, kind and helpful person has died only because of alcohol. We can blame alcohol not only in such accidents, but it also destroys people's health. Eva (22), Latvia

Sten, Sweden

Team Abba diddirnar, Faroe Islands


Alcohol creates world pain

34 Natasha, Macedonia

Often, maybe all too often group pressure is discussed in terms of having or not having; in terms of having the right clothes, with the right brand or not, of having the latest video game, CD or football shirt, in terms of having the coolest friends; but those contributors surprised me and extended my perspective: group pressure is also about actions. It is about doing what we are supposed to in different contexts or finding alternatives. Alternatives, that was the magic word and it still is. All the hurrying and hectic, all the schemes and stress, the constant state of being underway, being on the way leaves us optionless, choiceless, powerless. And it became clear, as clear as a long known, almost trivial truth that civil courage first and foremost means to dare and see other people but ourselves. Civil courage means helping the people around us, it is as simple as that, but to be able to do so we must leave space in our hurries and have-to's, in our missions and musts. Every day should contain the alternative to get off a stop earlier and walk instead. Last Tuesday was the experiment of an alternative and on the radio there were people talking about themselves, but also about this very attempt I was making. There was even one more story on the radio that captured my interest...

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I have never been close to anyone with alcohol problems. I bet that you who are reading this now wonder why I'm writing this and why I stay sober. It's because of world pain. I hear about people whose life have turned into, sorry for my words, shit! I heard about those who become addicted, have their families but don't give a damn shit. For them the only important thing is the alcohol. I'm not sure about the pain they are going through, I don't know if they have problems that they want to escape from or not, if they drink because of pain or fun. I don't know, but I can't help feeling sorry for them. I'm not sure how alcohol would affect me and I don't want to know. I don't want to support something that creates misery, pain and death. Peter (14), Sweden


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I wanted to yell at him that everyone in this world is not as damn good as he is. I wanted to throw out everything that was in my head and slap it in his face. But most of them are things he has wit and senses enough to realize anyway, so it had not done any good at all. So instead I kept my mouth shut. (Yes, I can do that, too, it just doesn't happen very often.) When I get really angry there are tears running down my face. But (and I know how stupid it is) if I would have let them fall this time, he would probably wonder why, and I wouldn't have been able to answer that question right then without screaming so hard at him that his ears would break. Not everyone can handle alcohol. I don't even want to try. I don't want to risk anything, and I have fun as hell without it. (Okay, I'm a little bitter now, or actually bitter like a piece of charcoal, but usually I am a pretty happy person.) But what he said got me thinking about why I am lecturing about what I do. I lecture because there are millions of children to addicts. I lecture because it should be okay to talk about alcohol. I lecture because our society is going through so much suffering due to alcohol, but nobody dares to do anything about it. I lecture because there is a chance that it will help a little girl or boy in time. I lecture because there is a chance to help people with the same background. I lecture because there is a chance that society might dare to open its eyes. I think it's disgusting that there are people who grew up like me, who may never know how crazy it is, how good they are and what they are worth. I hate that it has to be someone like me, telling about my life as I do to ensure that people dare to open their eyes and speak up. I am passionate about what I do, and if there is a chance that it will help someone along the way, that it helps someone to take that first small step towards help then it is worth every minute I spend.

But I'm no fucking Pointer to say what is right or wrong. I won't be standing outside the liquor store and yell at people how wrong I think they are. Or tear down all the medium-strength beer from the shelves in the supermarket. Of course I could ask and nag about how alcoholism affects families and what it does to our society as soon as I get asked why I don't drink. But I don't do that. I know there are people who can handle alcohol. I have nothing against those who drink. But the question is if they know what the hell they are pouring in their bodies. "I don't hate people who drink alcohol, I hate alcohol" as one of my acquaintances once said. Can't be more true to me than that. I have grown up in a family with a disease called alcoholism. This means that I love my parents. But I hate alcohol. What it doesn't mean is that you could see my dad or mom sitting on a park bench next to the liquor store. Alcoholism is a disease that affects the whole family, but nobody seems to understand that. Except for the ones in it and those who are closest to us. We who didn't know how to behave when we came home after school, because we had no idea of how many drinks had been taken, but were perfectly aware that if there were more than two glasses on the table, it was best to tiptoe the rest of the day. We who had no friends at school because we thought more of if we moved away our daddy's shoes so that he didn't stumble on them, or if we put them in the wrong place so he couldn't find them and became angry and did something bad to mom. Or we who drank the fucking drink because it was the easiest way to get peace and quiet. Because you're not normal if you don't drink. I'm afraid of the dark. There are 400,000 children out in Sweden with at least one abusive parent, but we are afraid to say no to alcohol, because we "don't have strength to tackle our problems when we are sober," or "can't dance without a little wine in the body"; or "can't have as much fun if we're

37

A thing too many people know, but are afraid to show.


But if there is anything I can say about my dad today, it is that he has never been a better person than he is now. And if there is anything I can say about sober alcoholics in general, it is that: It's damn hard to find nicer people than those who are trying to recover from an addiction, and it's a shame that society makes it so difficult for them. They are often much better people than many others. Because there is a directness and honesty you rarely encounter elsewhere. These are people who learn to love for real. They learn to tell when something is wrong, and how to deal with their feelings. These people are there for each other. This is comparable to people who experience something very hard together. You become welded together in order to achieve the same goal. To survive. Most people I talked to on my lectures are very aware that there are people who drink too much, and know someone or a few themselves, but not how much it affects society. Many get a shock when they realize how much can go wrong just because the norm is set. Because there are norms in a family with alcoholism as well. The human body is not made to take care of alcohol, even if some of us however tolerate it better than others. But whose life will be better off with it? No, I am neither pregnant nor driving tonight or think alcohol is disgusting. I have chosen to be a teetotaler, and I gladly stand for my choice. BUT: When I go out at the pub I go out to dance and have fun, just like you. Not to discuss what alcohol does to our society. That is something I rather do some other time. There are many points to summarize here: - Alcohol and its side effectsare destroying terribly much on our earth, and it is a shame that there is a need for people like me who are talking about it, because we can choose away alcohol and reduce these related

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not drinking" or "it tastes so nice", or "don't dare to talk unless we are a bit affected or calmed by alcohol" or "don't dare to break the norm", etc ... I rarely ask you whether you are drinking or not, or why. You don't even need to have any fucking excuse to me for drinking. Yet, you give it to me. I could counter every excuse with a question: Will your problems be solved just because you drink? Can you really dance if you need alcohol to do it? What is the point of drinking whiskey to have fun? Does it have to be alcohol in a drink to make it taste nice? Do you think you will have better social skills if you always have alcohol in your body when you talk to someone? Who is to say that the standards and norms of our society are the right ones? But then I would be standing all night ... I don't care if you drink, even if it makes it damn difficult for me not to drink. Because it is not easy to get hold of an alcohol-free drink at the pub. That is when the bartender starts scratching himself in the head, while his mouth very clearly illustrates a question mark. Without alcohol? Are there drinks like that? How do you do one of those? Sure, Sweden is out on the field and prevents that people are drinking too much, close the pubs earlier, the liquor store, but nobody knows how to fix an alternative, except all the fucking sober riders who are standing with pointing sticks and forcing people to write on the blackboard with chalk: I will not drink ... at least three hundred times a day. And why would they listen to us? We are not part of the norm. Because we do not drink. I'm one of the lucky ones who can say that my father is an alcoholic, sober since September 21st, last year. Because alcoholics are always alcoholics. To make a long explanation short: An alcoholic has no special appearance, any special hobbies or only exists in the slums. The alcoholic is a human being like you and me. But he or she is allergic to alcohol. And an allergy can develop in anyone.


That's all on my heart for now. Jenny Elgh (24), Sweden

That story was a compelling testimony of deep love and of the power of conscious choices. And it made me question myself: how consciously do I make choices in and about my life? Just in the morning I was pushed, punched and prodded into the complete opposite direction of where I actually wanted to go. But if I am powerless and hurrying more or less unconsciously through life, how can I be courageous and give help to people around me? Should I have stopped, maybe even tried to talk to the eyes behind the window? The radio show turned my view from helpless situations in careless and hostile surroundings to reasons and forms of civil courage and people who want to change something they observed is flawed. I started wondering and pacing around in my small flat with many questions spinning and swirling again: Maybe the radio show and some contributions would have helped the girl from the diary pages? Maybe she even heard the show? Or did she even contribute? I couldn't be sure, because I switched the radio on a little late. But I felt a strong need to be sure. I turned on the internet and surfed to the radio homepage trying to read some submitted stories. I found the story that was read in excerpts on air. Being this enchanted, I felt a memory once more sparkle in my mind. Another story my grandma had told me with emphasis. This memory suddenly sparkled so clearly that I even knew where to find it in my newspaper article collection. It was a short text from a local newspaper from where I had grown up about a positive example of engagement of a local boy.

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damages and risks incredibly much. This is an advantage we don't have with many of the world's deadly diseases, so I don't really understand what went wrong or why it's such a big problem to change it. - I'm more than glad to be able to help in this matter, but the pub is no place I want to discuss it, and I hate to be a Pointer. At the pub, I would like to have fun with my friends. Just like you. - Alcoholism is a disease that develops with the use of alcohol. No one takes their first drink and thinks that they will become an alcoholic. There are as many reasons why someone becomes an alcoholic as there are alcoholics in our world. Scary enough, there are as many potential alcoholics as there are people in our world, too. - We can change the norm. I am a person. I make a difference. I never told or would tell my friends that they shouldn't drink. But they are still drinking a lot less when I'm around. - There is no reason to pity me. I have become who I am today because I grew up as I did. But I wish no one else having to go through the same things to understand. Therefore I rather share it. - No one can be prouder than me over my dad. And no one can see how much my dad has grown in my eyes more than I do. My dad is a sober alcoholic, and one of the finest people I know today, although we have had a long and difficult path behind us. (I love you dad) - I don't hate people who drink alcohol. I hate alcohol. - I do not require you to become or stay a teetotaler. Only that you make a conscious choice, and I wish you knew what it meant and that you respect my choice. - In my dream world, there is no such thing as alcohol.


Rosi, Germany

42

And so it begins... As I remember, I haven't drunk before I was 18, but I've seen many times what drunken people look like; it was reason why I didn't want to drink. I also saw how my father came home encouraged by alcohol and he went straight to bed. Those are main reasons why I don't like alcohol. But once as I was having party with my friends and they convinced me to drink, it was so awful; I even don't remember some moments. From that time on I drank just in "social" amounts, so I've had control of myself and I could remember everything. So I used to drink from time to time, sometimes less, sometimes more, mostly with friends in the dormitory, the so called student's life. Then one day, it was a year ago, my friend asked me if I wanted to go and spend New Year's evening with some people from different European countries, and I thought, why not, it can be fun. It was my first contact with Active which is a European youth temperance organization. I had heard about a Slovak member organization of Active called NOM before, but I didn't know what it was all about. So I've seen what I believed in, that you can have much fun also without alcohol, and it's even better than when you have some alcohol in your veins, and I liked it. Well, it wasn't a problem for me not to drink in that way. I had drunk before just because it was like antisocial that I didn't want to drink, and it really doesn't taste somehow special; it has more negatives than positives. But when you don't drink and you are with people that drink, it has one disadvantage - you are the only responsible person with clear mind. Well; I have to admit that I've drunk from time to time also after that Active winter camp. I've simply been convinced, mostly by pressure, to drink something. I regret that I have such weak power of will sometimes, but most of times I've managed to say NO and no one could convince me to drink something. And sometimes it is so difficult, when you are under pressure of your friends, but I can't say to them that I won't meet them until

they stop drinking or so, it's not so easy. Also when in some pubs or bars, just mineral water is almost more expensive than beer, and there are not many places to meet to comfort everyone. On the other hand, I've got such good feeling when I say NO, it simply raises my self-confidence. Some time later I've been asked to go to another Active seminar in Budapest, and I couldn't say no, and I'm really glad I was there. Then I've been to Summer camp in Sweden, where I met more non-drinking people. In Slovakia it's really difficult to find someone who doesn't drink; it's just like it's in our nature. Alcohol is connected with culture and history, but I'm happy to be like one of those few alcohol-free drops of water in entire ocean. Three months later I attended another Active seminar in Brno. And now I'm in Sarajevo at yet another of Active's seminar. Active is so empowering; after meeting Active people I always feel such energy I can spread around and also promote life without alcohol or other drugs, it's just so great. Well the conclusion, I'm really glad I don't drink, and I've got support from other people that encourage me or at least accept it. Rastislav (22), Slovakia

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Alcohol — free drop of water in entire ocean


Out of curiosity I tried to find out about the local organization the newspaper article wrote about. Would it still exist? Would I find a picture of the boy even? In an air of satisfaction and curiosity I drank a glass of yellow tea and went on an adventure in the World Wide Web. And indeed there was this organization, still existing. However, a picture of the boy I could not find. But I did find a partner organization close to my home. What a coincidence. Or was it the magic of last Tuesday, when everything falls into place perfectly like all my thoughts during a calm walk? Inspired by the wisdom of my grandma and the magic of the day, I decided to skip yet another hurrying. Instead of going to the football training I went down to see the organization and what is was really about. Usually I avoid walking through my neighbourhood after sunset, but that day I felt lightness in my steps like I was wearing Hermes' winged boots. There really is a diffe-

rence between going fast and going lightly. My winged boots carried me to yet another surprise at the meeting place of the organization: there was a young woman employed as social worker, making an effort to empower young people and foster their citizenship. We started talking, I shared my thoughts about the radio show and she explained some interesting things for me about alcohol and other drugs and their relation to violence and participation in society. She told me about a touching story from her work:

by d e n i m ter rld e o d w s e i h r t e pow ns between less, all f o e s i c r The exends of interactioat of the power never thousa ower ful and th ese worlds are s a small of the p re so because th e . Ever yone ha the mo by a sharp lin . dividedhimself in both par t of Vaclav

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The article finishes with the quotation: "I've got support from other people that encourage me‌" It was because of this very quotation that my grandma found this article important enough to point my attention to it, to cut it out and save it for me. She'd tell me that it is one thing to be open for help and encouragement and show thankfulness instead of believing that one could do it alone, too. And it is another thing to pass help on and in that way return the effort that someone made in encouraging a person. My grandma found that in the example of the local boy who first received help to find his own way and later became leader of this organization now giving help to others. Isn't that what civil courage is about? For a moment I started dreaming about how the girl from the diary pages would find a way to help the tearful pair of eyes. Even in my memory my grandma managed to inspire me.

Havel


46

My name is Sandrine. I am 15 years old and I live in Switzerland. When I was still Natasha, Macedonia very small, I used to undertake many trips with my parents. Even back then I noticed the arguments and the aggression between them. It was by the time I came to school that I started to understand why my parents always argued and became that aggressive so quickly. Solely the alcohol was to blame for that. If I was in the wrong place at the wrong time they used to let their aggression out on me by screaming at me or hitting me. My problem was that I couldn't be angry at them. They tried to make everything possible for me, according to their resources. Neither did I ever seek help from other people, since I had learned from early childhood that I was not allowed to talk to anybody. Towards the outside we were the perfect family - father, mother and child. I learned to live with all that, but then something even worse happened: When I was eight, my father had a brain bleeding. As he was about to be released from the hospital he had a stroke. He fell into a coma. After three months they wanted to turn off the machines already, but then he moved suddenly. He woke up. All his doctors said that it was a miracle that he had woken up again. My dad then had to learn everything from the beginning. He spent two years in the hospital. I experienced all that. Now, I was "alone" with my mother. The alcohol consumption of my mother increased enormously in those years. Since my father was not at home, she let all her aggression out on me. That became worse from day to day, but I let it happen to me. When I was ten I started to ride horses and went to the youth leisure time centre in my town once a week. That was a good change and sometimes I even forgot my problems and worries. My dad came into a collective living community for disabled people after those two years. He learned many things through the help of me and my mother.

He could walk again, talk, eat and much more. He felt very good in that collective living community. Today he comes home once a month and still lives in that collective living community. He is happy. I still had the problems with my mother. At the age of eleven I went to an activity of Juvente (a youth organization in Switzerland based on principles of sobriety and friendship) for the first time, thanks to the youth leisure time centre. I did not like it at first. Two years later I tried it again and went to an activity. Suddenly I found it brilliant. I got to know new people, those who don't drink any amount of alcohol. It was a new situation for me, but I liked it. When I was back at home I told my mother about Juvente. She found it a good idea that I continue to participate in their activities. Soon I became a member of Juvente and thereby took a pledge not to consume alcohol or other drugs. I also told my mother about it so that she might quit drinking. But she didn't want to hear about that. She always avoided discussing it. So I said nothing anymore. In the age of 14 I got my horse and my dog. These animals are the most important things in my life. Otherwise, I have no idea if I would be still here. Also Juvente was a big part of my life. It gave me strength. I think that if I would not be a member of Juvente, I would be one of the many children who are dependent on alcohol and other drugs. But despite the beautiful things in my life, the problems with my mother still existed. Nothing had changed except of my age. Through problems in my school class, I got to know the school psychologist. She was the first I could talk with about my problems. I told her everything. She suggested asking my mother to make a choice: me or the alcohol. And so I did. But my mother did not really take me seriously. She did not answer me and I just let it be. Because she has pressure tools against me: my horse and my dog. The school psychologist tried continuously to encourage me. She managed and thus I wrote a letter to my mother that

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Me, my parents and alcohol


are always complex. Therefore they demand openness from the listener, a sense of understanding for others beyond ourselves. With these words on my mind, I went home again. Thinking. Being underway is the hallmark of today's world. But we live so fast that we happen to miss the people around us, their faces, gestures, sounds. Last Tuesday taught me that being underway demands more from us in understanding our fellow men. To be able to read in the faces and to listen with open hearts to what people narrate about themselves, even if they don't speak with words but with frowns or actions or tearful eyes from behind windows or gestures, is the core of any civil courage. In all the hurry we must still be able to experience the stories of our fellow men. It is there we find the content of life, the nature of civil courage and the magic of finding comfort and support while we are all under way.

That is my story and I hope it makes many people think. Sandrine (15), Switzerland

Once again, I felt a connection to this story, felt feelings rising in me, piling up in form of an inner understanding, deeper understanding. I could see the tearful eyes behind the window, could hear the voices from the radio, and had the diary pages in front of my eyes again. I expressed my appreciation for the real story the woman just shared with me and explained my grandma's intention to share the newspaper articles instead of fairy tales with me. She told me that she, too, liked my grandmother's real life stories better than fairy tales. Real life stories sharpen the view and fine-tune the ears. They force us to see and listen with our hearts, because the suspense is not always built, the moral is not always delivered and the characters

e, v i l a s d n rie rive . f r u o y p Kee rink and d Don't d

n

ede 1), Sw Sara (2

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contained everything I had on my heart. She took this letter seriously. We talked about her alcohol consumption. After the talk I waited till she would approach me. She came after two weeks. After that everything went very fast: she talked to my school psychologist about different therapies. She decided to start by going to a counseling twice a week. So, now she goes to this counseling and I hope that she will finally decide voluntarily to go through rehabilitation. I have no idea how everything continues, but I hope that I finally can be happy and that my mother will be better. I only know that I would not have managed all that without Juvente. All those people understood me and helped me to talk about problems. I learned to show and express emotions. Today I only think about how I can help others who have grown up similarly. I do not want that anybody has to experience the same things as I did.


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„Friendship does not need alcohol!“

Ida Braaten, Norway


Acknowledgements

52

We would like to thank all those who reflected on the topic of the campaign and decided to share their views and experience by contributing with their texts, slogans and pictures. This book is your art and we are grateful to have the possibility to set the small pieces into a big picture. Dear Marie from Germany, Maik Dünnbier from Europe, Alexandra from Slovakia, Ivana from Latvia, Stephanie from Switzerland, Azalea from Bosnia and Herzegovina, Dzenan from Serbia, Eva from Latvia, Samson from Switzerland, Liis from Estonia, Peter from Sweden, Jenny Elgh from Sweden, Rastislav from Slovakia, Sandrine from Switzerland, Annika from Faeroe Islands, Hanna from Faroe Islands, Kristina from Slovakia, Lazjon from Albania, Natasha Jancheva from Macedonia, Rosi from Germany, Sanja from Macedonia, Sara Lundell from Sweden, Sasa from Slovakia, Sten from Sweden, Tibor from Slovakia, Alex from Switzerland, Däden from Switzerland, Mari from Norway, Mirisa Tokic from Croatia, without you there would not be this book. In addition to those who have contributed, we would like to thank all those, who promoted the campaign, who helped with the distribution, collecting the stories and pictures, who proof read the texts, translated them into English, who designed the material. Thanks to Alexandra Pappova, Emina Nuspahic, Maik Dünnbier, Rosi Siedelberg, Olaf Jobmann, Janika Tamm and Mari Kogstad. We would like to express our appreciation for the great cooperation and very good service to Emil Mihala from Webprint s.r.o, Trencin. This book would not be possible to publish without financial support of Council of Europe and European Commission – Education and Culture DG's Youth in Action Programme. Note: This publication reflects only the views of the respective authors. The European Comission or Council of Europe cannot be held responsible for any use which may be made of the information contained therein.

Back cover photo: Sara Lundell, Sweden


ACTIVE Office Signalgatan 3, S-702 25 Ă–rebro www.activeeurope.org

Bad time stories  

Personal stories from the world where the glamorous picture of alcohol makes us squint and we do not see its real impact on people's lives.

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