‘I just need some Dutch courage’ – this is what people say when they’re at a bar about to do something out of their comfort zone.
Dutch courage. In short, it’s borrowing courage from alcohol because you don’t believe you have enough already.
Is that really cool?
You already have the courage you need
The thing about courage is that it doesn’t just magically appear. It’s a habit. And no matter what you think, you perform courageous acts every single day.
You bring up a challenging subject with your partner. You let your kids try skateboarding. There are so many courageous acts that you perform daily that you’d never think were courageous at all. Because you know you must do them.
But the second someone offers a drink, the temptation is there to accept. Not because you love the taste, but because at the back of your mind you know that you don’t have to put any effort in to be courageous if you’re drinking.
The alcohol will do that for you.
And as time passes, alcohol becomes the go-to source of courage. Because it’s just so easy.
But here’s the thing. It’s not real. Drinking for courage sends your brain a very clear message: you don’t have the courage to do this without drinking first.
Soon, you come to believe that.
Giving up the drink
It’s an act of courage to give up alcohol in the face of a society who advertises it like it’s, you know, good for you. It’s not. We all know that by now.
But by giving up, you are accepting responsibility for everything you do. No more attributing your behaviour to alcohol. No more Dutch courage. It’s all on you.
That sounds scary because you hear it from a place where alcohol is a comfort blanket. But when you actually give up, it’s not frightening at all. Because it’s an act of courage.
And that sends the brain a better message: you have the courage to do this. To do anything.
Once you start believing that, you won’t need Dutch courage. Because you already have all the courage you could possibly need.