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Column: Stella Bergsma


Did you know we are all born with a slight alcohol insufficiency? Sad, huh? We all miss a promillage of 0,05 percent in our blood when we make our way into this world. You could call us alcoholically challenged: deficiently distilled, sober with options. That’s why I’m writing this a tiny bit tipsy. Drowsy light, so to speak. There is a bottle of Amarone next to my computer, and I am slowly but steadily complimenting my birth deficiency by taking little sips. 


I have been inspired by the Danish movie Druk. This is where the promillage theory derives from. It originally came from a Norwegian psychiatrist. The movie depicts three teachers testing the theory. Modestly intoxicated they offer the world their slightly befuddled mind. They teach classes while being semi-intoxicated, and then exchange experiences. 


Wow, was my first response after watching. I am such a pioneer in the field, since I have been doing this for years. Not on purpose though, but who cares. As a kid I ran my paper route after a couple of drinks, and when I was a phone operator at an alarm center I was at my sharpest after having a beer or two. I have to admit that it rarely stayed with two drinks, to the point where the police showed up at the alarm center because I had fallen asleep and no one was responding. 

But that’s wodka under the bridge. I was just a micro doser avant la lettre. That’s what it’s called when you take tiny doses of drugs; ‘microdosing.’ People tend to do this with psychedelics and it’s super hic… super hip. It works like a charm. My writing is more fluent, more loose. And besides my work, I am way more friendly to other people. It’s like cutting that nasty serrated edge of your life. Adding some fluff to your life. 

In the movie you can see the teachers making a lot of progress as well. They are giving their most inspiring lectures when they’re quasi-wasted, and reviving old relationships with just the right amount of drinks in their system. I get that. Alcohol was my first love. At first I thought it was the guy at the bar, but it was actually the wine he was pouring. I was drinking him toward me. Alcohol conquers all fears and I am a scared person by nature. I never leave the door without a panic brewsky. Self medication in a can. 

I never leave the door without a panic brewsky. Self medication in a can. 


But lately I’ve been having a sufficating thought. Can we maintain this feeling in the world we currently live in? Dividedness, hate and polarisation continuously lie beneath the surface of our drinks. Misinformation is also a recurring issue. Turns out that the whole promillage story of the Norwegian psych is a hoax. Apparently, it was all just a joke, not a theory. Our insufficiency is clearly way bigger. Mine at least. I just microdosed an entire bottle of the damn Amerone. You know what, I’ll just open a new one. I’ll christen it as macrodosing. It could become a whole new thing. After all, I’ve always been a trendsetter.


Stella Bergsma is schrijver, opiniemaker, bedenker van de term ‘sletvrees’ en frontvrouw van de band Einsteinbarbie. Haar spraakmakende debuutroman Pussy Album verscheen in 2016 bij uitgeverij Nijgh & Van Ditmar; het boek kreeg lovende recensies. In 2020 schreef zij het boekenweekmanifest Nouveau Fuck, speciaal voor dwarsdenkers. Bergsma schrijft columns, artikelen en verhalen voor onder andere de Volkskrant, De Morgen, HP/DeTijd, Linda en Vrij Nederland. Je kunt haar ook kennen van talkshows, waar ze regelmatig te gast is om haar ongezouten mening te geven over gevaarlijke zaken als feminisme, seks en literatuur.

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