Movendi International: Development Through Alcohol Prevention

In this episode, we’re talking about alcohol prevention with Movendi International, who is the largest independent global movement for development through alcohol prevention. Movendi International’s vision is a life for all human beings free to live up to their fullest potential, and free from harm caused by alcohol and other drugs. It’s a world of peace, democracy and justice where free and healthy citizens actively contribute in all levels of society.

We get into some great topics around deconstructing alcohol identities, the alcohol industry, and the platform Sober Youth Hub that is normalizing alcohol free life!

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Hi everybody. This is Dave Closson from the team here at Drug Free America Foundation, and you are listening to the Pathways to Prevention podcast, the show where we chat with stakeholders from across the drug demand reduction spectrum and talk about current trends in the global substance use pandemic strategies to reduce drug demand, and how to best adapt those strategies to the ever-shifting substance use landscape. Today we’re talking about alcohol prevention with Movendi International, who is the largest independent global movement for development through alcohol prevention. Now, their vision, Is a life for all human beings free to live up to their fullest potential and free from harm caused by alcohol and other drugs. Their vision is a world of peace, democracy, and justice, where free and healthy citizens actively contribute in all levels of society. Everybody, this is gonna be a marvelous conversation. Some true prevention leaders are in the recording Studio with me, Team Movendi International. Welcome to the podcast. Thanks for joining me. Thank you very much for having us. Hi Dave. Thanks for having us. It’s been a long time coming and I am also excited for our conversation today. But before we really dive in and unpack Movendi, Would love to just learn a little bit more about each of you would, would you share with our audience where you are located in the world, a little bit about your work background, and I’m curious what led you working in your roles today? Kristina , what you got for us? Yeah, like even the geographical question is not so easy because, okay, I am located in Sweden at the moment. I come from Slovakia and I am also very often there. So, physically and in my mind very often, also in Slovakia, and of course working for an international movement. I travel around and feel home in many countries. but, if we, if we should really talk about where I am right now, in this, on this planet. And right now I’m in, Sweden. And to tell you a little bit more about, my background. So I studied psychology and I have chosen psychology because I already had been involved in, the work of, with the alcohol prevention. And I was really, excited by when I learned about the international movement that Modi was. So then I was a youth, activist, in this. And then I really wanted to continue and I wanted to learn a lot about the issues so I could somehow contribute to the work that the movement was doing. And what I was really impressed by was the element of the democracy and the development, so that the, the move International identified alcohol as an obstacle to development. And I really like that, comprehensive approach, to development. So I really wanted to contribute somehow. So then I went and studied psychology, but if we go really back, back in the time, why I actually got involved in this. one, like I used sometimes I, shared the story that I wanted to be an actress, when I was really little until I was maybe 14. And I was doing everything to be able to be actress. So I wanted to have different experiences. I wanted to, do sports. I wanted to know how to play piano, how to ride a horse, like all these things so that I would be really able to, act them and have all those experiences. And then I also understood as a child, now we are talking about six, seven years old, that the actors also have sometimes trouble. By being, followed by journalists and some paparazzis and they digging out some things and, on them. And I somehow wanted to have also some kinda a clear, past, when, when someone would start digging on me. And obvious now when I just look at, look back at it and somehow analyze how I was thinking. And obviously alcohol was, in my mind connected with negative things. And I really didn’t want to have that connection in any way connect. I didn’t want have alcohol connected to my life, also for the future. So just because I also wanted to be an actress, I somehow decided for myself that no, I really do not want to have anything to do with alcohol. And then I was, living really until 14, 15, like that when my peers already started using, alcohol and maybe also some other drugs. And I understood that. I am doing very well, without it. And I really like that I could be natural and that I could, do anything I wanted. And I felt that the alcohol, effects were really not, positive that I saw around among my peers. So then I, that was very clear for me that, okay, I just simply don’t want to use the substance and I want actually engage and enable other people also to be free from it because I that more natural life. that makes me smile. I, I hear the, the heart and the passion there. And I, and I love how it’s that focus has been a part of your life for so, so many years and seeing a positive and, and how your life is better being free of alcohol. That makes me, makes me smile. Makes I would love to just unpack that for this whole episode, but we’ll save that for another conversation. How about that Mike, what do you have for us here? Let’s pass on mic, over to you. Yeah. Hi Dave. thanks for having me and, and us. my name is Mike Dia. I am director of Strategy and Advocacy at Movendi International. And I’m looking forward to talking a little bit about, what it is that we do, in Movendi International. Kristina touched upon this kinda addressing as an obstacle to development, and that is actually also what really inspires me. this kind of personal commitment to making the world better and then of course addressing a really big problem in our family’s communities, society, even on the global level. So, I got into the work in Move International through our European Youth Movement. I was studying political science and philosophy in, in Germany where I was and raised. and I felt like there’s a little bit more for me to do to contribute to making the world a better place. Just reading about other people’s brilliant thoughts or other people’s thoughts that I would disagree with. So I was looking for where I could actually find a channel and a platform for my engagement and to, advance social justice. I think that’s very important for me. And when I read about the Constitution of Movendi International, the work that our youth movement was doing, back then, 2005, six, then I felt like home. I had never met anybody from, the organization back then, but I felt like this is where I belong. So I applied to do a European voluntary service. I would go to Sweden for a year and work in the Office of the Youth Movement. and really, dealt with different dimensions of the prevention work, like organizing, uh, European youth events for young people from around the continent. Dealing with prevention, but also democracy, human rights issues, developmental issues, as Kristina has also said. And I think that just put me on this trajectory inadvertently, so to say, as it is for young people. I followed my passion, in the beginning. My parents didn’t necessarily like it, but they saw that I’m thriving and that I’m happy, and they began supporting this. And, I have stuck with this ever since. And later I got employed first in our youth organization and then since 2011, I’m working with the political work of Movendi International. So that is in very brief, my story. Physically, I am in Stockholm as well, like c. Okay. I would love to just have conversations with each of you about your stories. I can tell there’s so much wisdom there and insight, and, and, you reminded me of our past episode with Dr. Robert DuPont From One Choice said, Preventing adult addiction starts with youth prevention , We’re gonna have to get into that in this podcast. We, we are, I would love to learn more about the youth program that, that helped you get your start with Movendi International. We’ve been saying Movendi, but we haven’t talked about or shared with our listeners what is Movendi International so. Let’s do just that. What is Movendi International? I think that you have actually introduced International very, very nicely already in the beginning, but of course we can go deep into it. But I think that the sentence that you have said that it’s a global social movement working for developments through alcohol prevention that really describes the, organization. And then you have described the, our vision, which really encompasses also what Mike and I have been talking about, that the work is not the prevention for itself, but it’s really it’s, supposed to lead to something more, as we mentioned, like the development of the societies of families, of, of people. and so as a social global movement, we can share with some numbers that we have more than hundred 40 organizations, in more than 50 countries around the world. I usually do not say specific numbers because they are changing. We are getting new members from different parts, of the world. Recently we got members from Colombia, for example, from Scotland. So that, and that’s just very new few weeks ago. So this is really changing and, we are growing as a movement. so that would be, if you should describe like the structure, we have member organizations around the world. we have the international board that leads the organization, IV actually haven’t mentioned, and I president, of the movement. and then what is it that we are doing is the, that we are approaching these developments through alcohol prevention, through an really comprehensive, way of addressing the root causes of the problem that we identified, in the world. Why there is alcohol harm in the world. And we understood that we need to work with several dimensions at the same time. building the social movement and really bringing together organizations that want to en engage in this, work and like communities together. and then we are working with alcohol policy. and that is the most effective approach to prevention, actually. So that’s our main focus. But to be able to, that you also have to address alcohol industry and expose what the alcohol industry is doing because they are a huge obstacle, to doing the effective alcohol policy. and another problem is the alcohol norm that is really pervasive and is again, blocking. People’s thinking and understanding. And it leads, for example, to underestimating of alcohol harm around the world. so we, we are also working really, actively with analyzing the, and influencing the discourse, how to talk about alcohol, what is going on, how other people talk about alcohol and how it harms or supports , the effective prevention. And then of course, many of our member organizations, they also work with, recovery. So we are covering all the, all the steps in prevention. Maybe Mike wants to add something, not want, but I think he has instinct to Yeah. Thanks Kristina. To add to what you have said, I think there is this comprehensive theory of change that, you explained now the seven elements of it, and I think it’s just good to say that. We, we are serious about this description that you also mentioned, Dave. We are a global social movement. So we are a movement of people in the communities affected by the harm that the companies are, are causing to us. So we are responding to the harm that we are seeing in our communities. We are heart driven people. Most of the members of Movendi International are volunteers. They’re dedicating their free time, their passion to protecting people from harm, preventing reducing, as Kristina has said. And so that really means that, our members, our people, the movement, we are, we work. prevention, advocacy and recovery. So we are the people that are affected. We work for people that are affected and we want to be a political voice also for these people who are affected. And just this weekend, for example, I was part of an exchange between our German and our Swedish members, learning about best practices in recovery work. And so it’s really awesome to meet people who, through our movement, were able to leave prison, criminality, reintegrate into society, build their lives, thrive, and and so on. So you can see also how prevention and recovery are connected through the work that we are doing in Movendi International. And many of these people, they become advocates. So they become champions for better policy solutions so that we don’t have people experiencing so much harm. Truly global movement to, to take on, to set your vision on such a, a big, a big mission. The, the global aspect of it. Where, where are you finding some positive momentum? Where we are finding it. that’s a very interesting, very good question. That’s why I was a little bit, silent just to reflect on it because I think that the momentum is really occurring from everywhere. Like the, there are the small things that the people in the communities are achieving or really small change. this is, as you said, this is really, this is a run on long distance run and we know that change in, for example, policy that I said like that’s the most effective thing. If we have good policies in place, then it’ll be really, the world will be a better place like that. But we understand that it’ll not happen from one day to another. And we also understand that for that to happen, we really need to change very many things, in the world. And we need to lift people who want to do this. And I think that’s the momentum that I’m experiencing actually every day. When someone writes to us what they have, come up with and what they are going to do, some other person asks us what would be the best, how could we approach, for example, alcohol norm, when we understand that someone else adopts a new method or that, that we are learning from each other, for example, that we are not stuck in the past and using something, some methods that are not working. All these things, all these small things actually, are huge and they are moving us, forward. Then of course, even like a new study, when we understand that academia is also moving forward and is, bringing, bringing results or bringing, data that are helping our advocacy, for example. So every day something is happening that can really help and it creates the momentum Then, that is lasting. I think your question is actually very insightful, Dave. and I always have the benefit, Kristina and I, when we are in these different meetings, especially the advocacy meetings, then we have this role division that I compliment what Kristina’s saying. She always gives the first answer, but that means I have the benefit of actually listening to Kristina and feeling, Oh, I agree with this. This is a good point. Very good that this came up. And so then I can find some, some things here. So it’s exactly like Kristina has said. We have this theory of change, seven areas, and Kristina mentioned awareness and discourse, and we can see over. I think Kristina, you have done this work now for 20 years. I have done this work now for 16 years, so over time, Dave, we can see changes, improvements like scientists, are putting out better studies and, we are understanding the harm better. We are understanding effective solutions better and ineffective solutions. You know, Dave, in prevention, we actually have to face the challenge also, that in some communities we are still doing things that are not evidence based and that might be harmful, but we are understanding this better. And then like Kristina has said, even the communities are responding better. So they want to learn, they want to take this up for us. Then there is also momentum in, like Kristina said, actually we are growing so we can see that more organizations wanna come together. and then we have also policy. Successes. So here in the European region, we were able to ensure that the member countries of the W H O European region adopted a really groundbreaking framework for action on alcohol here, just this September. And, like Kristina alluded to at the global level, member states of the World Health Organization also adopted, this past May a global action plan. So there is also increasing recognition that, we need to accelerate action on as a public health priority. So there is actually lots of momentum in all these different areas. But I also wanted to go back to this point that Kristina made a is an obstacle to development and everything starts with people and communities. And so for us, there’s lots of momentum in, you know, when, when we as a movement can help people. for personal development. So overcoming and other drugs is obstacle to personal development or when we through interventions can make communities more resilient, protect them against, really these aggressive industries. And we have the tobacco and the industries. Now there is increasingly also the maana industry. So even on these levels, the individual and the community level, there’s lots of momentum when, when you can see that, yeah, people are helping themselves or communities are protecting themselves and, and there is a transformative change on these levels. Listeners. I know this is an audio only podcast, but I’ve been over here just smiling and nodding my head. Yes. listeners probably know it’s coming, but one of my big mottoes is that prevention is better together and together we are stronger and you all are walking, talking examples, living by that. And it made me smile both on the inside and out. You were talking about development and personal development that really resonated and just gave me a few goosebumps even because that, that is a big part of my story of, of reaching and maintaining sobriety, freedom from alcohol and that the more I focused on. Personal development, my growth to be the best version of me. That’s what gave me power to, to maintain sobriety. I, I got so lost in the, the moment what you’re both saying that I, I don’t even remember what I was gonna ask next. so wonderful successes. I, I, I know there are a lot more, I was on the website. Y’all are doing a ton. But on the flip side of where you’ve seen some, some positive movement, what, what are some barriers or kind of challenges that you are running into? Yeah, I think that, also very good question, and that also could be a separate episode, I believe, Dave. and that is of course, the. One of the biggest barriers is alcohol industry and their interference with the work of government and how they are, or target targeting, children already, and women and really marginalized populations. it it, it makes me wanna cry sometimes or really upset. but then luckily we have, the movement that’ll always give some, kinda, some kinda strength and that I understand. I’m not alone with, we not, we’re not a small of people. It’s actually people around the world. So I would say that one of those biggest barriers is the alcohol industry and how they are influencing. Minds and our perceptions of ourselves, of, other people of communities and in a way creating some kinda conflict within ourselves that then cause many people also to then turn to their product. I would say, and another barrier is the norm that I have also, mentioned that is in the society. It is imposed by the alcohol industry, and it’s carried by many of us without knowing that we are doing it. So I think like that analysis and that change is really very important and actually task for all the people who are active in prevention to deconstruct that alcohol norm. I think that when, when I said that this question you ask about where momentum is coming from, that is insightful because we try to really do a good job of not getting lost in this really difficult situation, right? Because alcohol, the products and practices of the alcohol, Kill one person every 10 seconds. 140,000 people every year in the United States alone. The economic loss, the social loss, the human loss is massive. And we know it. We see it in our communities. I have it in my family. Kristina has it in your, in her family. You just mentioned your own story, Dave. So this is present every day in basically in, in every step of our work. Every day. And so, I mean, like Kristina said, there is this massive industry. They are among the most profitable industries in the world, even in human history. So they are really there. So now what do we do? This little movement with heart driven people. We have to focus on all the steps, that put us on the right track, so to say, towards change on personal community, societal, and then even global level. And one thing that is really important that I wanted to pick up here in where the obstacle is, is misconceptions about where ethical harm comes from. And you mentioned it in, in the beginning, Dave, this, prevention of harm in young people, that adults really care for this protecting young people. But my experience, coming through the youth movement is that adults don’t reflect enough about. Them being the role model, them creating the air norm that Kristina has just talked about them funding the airco industry or, giving tax breaks to air companies or, So it’s so easy to be focused on what young people really shouldn’t engage and binge air use and they shouldn’t drive under the influence of alcohol. All these things are correct. All these things are important, but the misconception is where is the harm coming from? And young people are not creating and causing this alcohol norm. This is adults doing it. And as adults, we are not really good at yet talking about. So what is the harm? Is the individual person really to blame for hundred 40,000 deaths in the United States every year? Or is there another root cause that we are shying away from really tackling? So I think. Industry norm, and then misconceptions about what is the true nature of algal harm? Where is it coming from? These are the, the obstacles that that we face and that we try to tackle. So many thoughts are just flooding in my mind. And, yes, I’ll, I’ll try to focus for the sake of our listeners. Part of what I try to do now is sharing my story, talking about why I do what I do, hopefully plant some seeds or cause some ripples in relation to changing the norm, changing the narrative. If I were to say, you have to live by example, if you want to lead by example, what are your thoughts on that? I agree, absolutely that’s why I am living alcohol free. and like I have decided to do that when I was a teenager, when I had much less knowledge about alcohol and alcohol industry than I have now. So, and already then when I was doing, prevention work, for example, in schools with kids, I was, I couldn’t imagine that I would be, and I was still then using even old methods of prevention that maybe now are really not approved. Like this is good. But already then I realized like I cannot be here standing in front of the kids, telling them that this and this product is, causing this and this kind of. And then just go home or go somewhere and consume it. And what if I am somewhere outside in, with, in the streets with my friends, and then these kids see me and then like, then I undermine completely what I have said. So then I have really, decided also to be alcohol free for the sake of, of others. And I also have a very little, very, actually, very, very normal story. or maybe very minor story I would say. How I realized as a child, how, and a person influenced me and that person was, just one person in the crowd and like really didn’t try to influence me in any way. but I think like I was maybe nine or 10. And we lived in a small town and I was then walking with, my father. And on the other side of the street there was another person coming from the opposite direction and they dropped, Paper or something, and they stopped and picked it and continued walking. And for me that was like, Wow, like this person actually doesn’t leave that paper on the, on the, and just left. And then I realized, no, I’ll pick. It’s difficult like just to bend and it, and in the, into the trash bin. But it’s not only this, this action that I remembered, but I just simply remember how strong it was to see someone else do something and how it influenced me. And that’s why I absolutely, agree or think that also being a personal, like being, being an example, for others, we don’t even know whom we influenced, when we influenced them. how so? As I am trying to be conscious of my actions as much as possible, and I would say that, easier to live like that. I think, I think it leads me to a, an honest life and being honest saves lots of would say. so that would be. Yeah. Let me tell you three things. This kind of live by example, to lead by example, that is, very poetic, very beautiful. In Germany, we have, philosopher Immanuel can, and I think he has a nice philosophical principle that is very close to live by example. To lead by example. It’s the question. How does the world, how would the world look like if everybody did what I am doing? So how would the world look like if everybody picked their litter, as in Kristina example? Or would the world be better if more people live, free from alcohol? So I, I think this is a really. Reflection that I try to apply if I do this now. And if everybody else would do this, would the word be better off or worse off? and so of course sometimes it’s challenging. I have to be honest to myself also, sometimes the more comfortable way is not actually the way that benefits, our society. So that’s, that’s my first point. My second point, just to, I think end up in Kristina example. actually there is science from the United States, from the Framingham heart study that shows very clearly how social values travel in social networks. So in networks of relatives, friends, and work. So they, they can show through this Framingham heart study that if you have a friend who has a higher body weight or who is obese, then your likelihood of being obese is higher. So if you have friends who engage in eating chips all the time, that is a normalized behavior. So, and that applies to use and, and many other of these kind of social value social behaviors. And the industry knows this. So if we tell each other what is normal, we are social norming specific behaviors, and then we actually create expectations that it’s very normal to use alcohol. While if you look at the data, for example, one third of the people in the United States doesn’t use at all. The next third uses very, very little. Which means for two thirds of the whole population in the United States, E is not normal at all. But if you watch tv, if you walk through New York City or wherever it looks like E is normal, everybody likes it. Everybody wants it. So the e industry is also trying to make these examples and create these kinds of images and that’s why it’s so important what we as people and as communities do. And so then I just wanted to add, this is my third point then to Kristina story about living free. I think this kind of normalization of free environments, free decisions, and this is very important. And for us in Movendi it’s very important, to empower everybody not to promote alcohol. So beyond this, whether people are using or not using alcohol, whether they are staying free from from alcohol, it’s really important that none of us. Promotes air. So, so that we don’t make jokes about the myths, the mythical effects of airco that we don’t, help the industry in, in their job, so to say. so we have to question our, assumptions about airco, our conditioning that comes from air marketing. And I think then we are really back at Kristina example there, living truthfully. And I think that is what your point is about, Dave, this kind of living by example to lead by example, questioning ourselves, the thoughts we have, and the role we play with what we say and do in our communities. Marvelous wisdom and examples there. Yes. Thank you both for, for your insight. Diving into that thought about living by example, so you’ve shared some of the, the successes where you found some of that, that positive momentum, positive movement, and some challenges, and we just dipped our toes into the water, talking about opportunities and how, you know, that can start with, with us the individual. What are, what are some of the opportunities? What, what are you all doing? What is Mo Bendi International doing to create change? I think that the main focus besides of bringing communities and organizations together and like really empowering them and encouraging them to engage in this field, what we are doing is that we do, alcohol policy advocacy and through that creates these kind of opportunities for people to live healthy actually, and to be protected also by the system, and also by their own mind. So we are working from both directions, like create, creating policy that creates environments, but we are also working with people changing the norm. And I would say that then, then it’s up to, up to people, how they navigate, how they work with the, in, in the environments that are created. So I would say that the biggest opportunity are the policies that we know, are actually effective and work and save lots of lives and improve, even more. and there is the, like the limited alcohol availability, that’s, public health oriented alcohol, taxation. and that’s really ban on alcohol marketing. And like through this we actually create environment where alcohol is not so pervasive either visually, or like easily physically available, but also in our minds then. And also, the social acceptance of alcohol is also changed also through these policies. And that’s the great opportunity than for people to live, healthier and happier lives. Yeah, I really agree with Kristina. I think we mentioned this before, What gives us the feeling, really the sensation of having wind under our wings is, Rising awareness and this kind of people coming into our movement based on growing awareness that, if we support, if we call for, if we request, and maybe even if we support our, decision makers to implement these proven high impact, really good policy solutions that benefits everybody. So that prevents harm, that reduces harm, that generates resources that can be reinvested to actually provide help to people who are experiencing harm. Right? Right now, right now, there are big gaps and big problems. We don’t have enough mental health and addiction services basically in any country. in many countries. We have rising alcohol use and rising alcohol harm, especially deaths. but we also have this opportunity actually to build on. A different development. And I think that is then the opportunity that Kristina talking about. We can see that people are more health conscious, especially the young generation. so the young people now, they, stayfree much longer. If they start, it’s really an if, if they start consuming alcohol now they consume less, young people also quit alcohol. So there is I think a consciousness about health and sustainability overall. We can also see awareness, I think sensitization and really community concern about the impact of corporations overall. I think in the United States, people are really aware about big tobacco and the big banks, maybe even big oil. And I think that is true in societies around the world might be different industries and I think we can use this to also increase. the understanding, the recognition of the harmful effects of the airco industry on our families and communities. And then these two things together, Health, consciousness, sustainability, consciousness, especially of their youth and literacy about, predatory practices of corporations. They can really drive this movement for policy change. And in Movendi, we are saying policy change drives norm changes, and when we change the norms, then we can really live in much healthier and safer communities in the future. To change the norms. Yes. Oftentimes when I speak at conferences, one of my, my main sessions is talking about culture is the strategy, and it speaks to just that the norms, changing those norms, crew. A culture, an environment to where everybody chooses those healthy, healthy norms, that healthy way of life. You’ve shared some about sort of policy, your work, your efforts, your programs around policy. I’d love to hear a little bit more about the, the development, the way of life, the health promotion side of Movendi International. What are some of the things you have going on? I think that when you said development, and I was thinking immediately actually of the sustainable development and then the global, development and there when the international has already few years ago, I would say Mike 2015, has analyzed the sustainable development goals, and to see how alcohol, or the lack of alcohol policies, is really a hinder to achievement of 14 outta 17 sustainable development goals. And since then we’ve been working with it, more. We have developed it and it, we can see we are really, really glad cause we see that. Other organizations and institutions are really using, this analysis. And that means that we have looked at it. And, you know, the sustainable development goals are like, achieving, gender equality, poverty, eliminating hunger from the world, improving the life on land, and, creating or enabling access for all people to clean water, for example, creating safe cities. So there are, there are 17 of these, huge goals and 14 out of them, will not be achieved if we don’t have good alcohol policies, in place. So I would like, this is one of the, one of our ways how to really promote development. So we don’t, we we do not stop only at the health level or in the field of only alcohol prevention, but we are using the alcohol policy to, as a catalyst to achieve other causes that, that people and organizations and also actually governments, In terms of, programming, I think we have some really cool things that, that we are doing and that we are also constantly improving. So we are gathering young people from around the world, to empower them on some of these issues that we are now discuss. And Dave, I actually have to correct myself. It’s not we empowering them, it’s we providing the platform for the young people to empower themselves. So to say it’s for with and by young people. We call it Sober Youth hub. and it’s really about, normalizing, free ways of life or even, building capacity to promote the benefits, of staying alcohol free when it comes to young people, but also how to protect ourselves and our communities against the air industry. And then other issues that really matter for young people. You can think of mental health. Kristina now talked about, sustainable development. Sustainability is really, I. Environmental dimension there are for young people, human rights, human dignity, equality, you know, that we all belong together, so to say. So that’s what we do in the Soba Youth Hub. I think we are really proud of that. we have a good program called Summer Leap, and LEAP is an acronym for Leadership Academy for Prevention. So we bring young leaders together and we’ll do it, in the summer of 2023 again, And this is, I think, a world class course for one week, to learn about all the different aspects of prevention as the title, says. So policy. Norm. And I think that’s the, the, maybe the final thing. Last but not least, we have, I think, an awesome program. It’s an online program, but it’s also an in-person program to deconstruct ethical identity. So now we have mentioned ethical norm, many times, what does that actually mean? So we provide tools for people and communities to reflect about which role is playing in their lives, in their communities, and how can we think about this? Where does this come from? Is what we know about really factual? Or is it conditioned and programed by the airport industry through marketing and, and other tools? How are we using, in addition to that, people are drinking it, right? We are also using it and for creating identities, for building up who we think we are. And then of course, we empower people to ask this question. Is really playing that role? Is it helpful? Is it beneficial to us? So this kind program is I think really interesting, really attractive to, many people that, we conduct this program with. I have to just kinda let out a big sigh. Because the alcohol identity, that was what I wrestled with for, for years while I tried to, to find sobriety in that alcohol, it changed my identity. I, I, I now wanna tell my story. I talk about the party Dave days, and part of why it took me so long to to reach sobriety is that it was so ingrained in my identity. I got so far away from who I truly am, my real, true, authentic self. I didn’t even know who that person was anymore. And so for me to try to change, to try to get back to, I’m gonna be Dave, I first had to figure out who was Dave and then who did I want to be but I’m just kind of reflecting on that journey. I will put everything I can to lift up this program, deconstructing alcohol identities with youth. Like, Oh my goodness, like, Yes. We can stay with this a little bit. Yeah. Tell me, tell me more about it. I have chills thinking about the power and the impacts that this could have. When, when we analyze the algal norm, that means we have to analyze the language we are using to talk about alcohol. And as you understand, we work with people who, or we are people who have never used ol. And then we, we are people, we work with, people who are struggling to, live in sobriety to overcome really severe addiction. And so on. This whole spectrum, this is then really powerful to have these conversations. And people, you will know Dave, people say things like, I don’t party anymore. And what they mean is, I don’t use egg anymore. Or people say, Can we go out for a drink? And what they mean is, Can we have beer or ethanol beer? Right? That’s the active ingredient that people are actually going for. And so then when you look at language like this, you start realizing how ingrained AL is for these actually social activities because. Of course you can be equal free. You, you can overcome your addiction and you can go to party. But as a culture, we put an equal sign between party and use. So that is now what we have to unlearn, that of course there are so many people who are living free, even users can have really great parties, and then they just decide, you know, this wedding, I, I need to be, I wanna be free because the next day is really important at at work. But as a culture, we never reflect it like that. As a culture, we say, I don’t party anymore and we just mean for me, doesn’t play a role in my life anymore. So I think these are the insights that we are getting Then from exactly what you pointed, How close is our identity attached to the bottle of beer or the cocktail glass or the bottle of wine? And I think that is really powerful for people, not just young people, Dave, for people to reflect and realize. And I think there’s lots of freedom in this, right? If I can add, for example, this program, the, the, the de-constructing alcohol identities. We’ve been running it in Slovakia with teachers. not only because they deal with young people, but also for them just to understand the whole norm that the young people that are growing up with, and they were very, very thankful. They were like, Now we understand why all these other. Initiatives that we have, like prevention initiatives and police visiting schools and showing different things and testimonials why they do not work because the alcohol identities are so strong. And the culture, and the norm. It’s so strong that it’s, that it completely emulates anything that the, that we hear, like the one time lecture or some kinda presentation. I didn’t share before we hit record, but I got married a little over two and a half, not quite two and a half years ago. And when we were planning our wedding, our dinner, the venue, the, the caterer, they were taken back when I said, I don’t need any champagne for the toast wine for the guests They don’t need wine to celebrate. And it was a small ceremony, small reception, but , they had this puzzled, confused look on their face and was like, I mean, we don’t need to have alcohol to celebrate our love, our wedding. And it, , just makes me shake my head, but Oh, so true. This is a great example and what we know from, surveys here in Sweden, we think they should be conducted in, in other countries as well. What we know here is that, societies where the e norm is really strong, like Kristina said earlier, where the norm is really pervasive people’s preferences, they are actually not well reflected. and your example is a really good example for, for this reality that people even echo users, they don’t want to have all the time and all social events. So there might be a person that actually likes beer, but then this after work is that person doesn’t wanna have beer because then they have to go and do something else maybe with the kids. But that after work is really pushing beer on everybody. Like usually weddings are really pushing on everybody and your wedding organizers, they just cannot, imagine that there can be a really awesome wedding where people have time of their life, where you guys are celebrating your love, as you are saying, without ethanol in drinks. This is just not present in the imagination. So then the preferences of, as I said, there are two thirds of the adults in the United States. For them, E doesn’t matter much, and all these preferences, they’re actually excluded because then we tend to just prioritize the preferences of the E industry that E has to be. Everywhere. And that is really the benefit of this conversation about questioning, well, does Al really belong? does e everybody benefit from Al being everywhere? No, because environments become much more inclusive. if Al is not the primary objective, and more people can join people in recovery, people who are pregnant, you, you know, all those different groups, maybe even young people can, can join where we today prioritize alcohol. So your wedding, this is a great example where you have, I think changed the perception of, the the wedding organizers there, the providers of the. one person at a time, slowly changing. I, I do like too, you know, how you said is, is having alcohol there going to benefit everybody? One of the, a big moment for me on the individual level too, was I went through this exercise where I, I listed the words that I would use to describe myself when I’m at my best. So I, I, I defined my best self. And then I looked at that list and said, What is getting in the way of me living those words every day? And it was like getting hit right in the forehead. Alcohol. Like that’s what was keeping me from being my best self every day. So listeners, check the show notes for a link to deconstructing alcohol identities. How else can our listeners get involved with Movendi International? let me think. So Mike has already listed the different programs that we have for young people. then we have, ah, we are, we are now in a podcast. we are then, so we can also mention that when international also has a podcast called Alcohol Issues, where we are discussing, very often, different, science, like scientific studies that have come out. We are, we are talking with some decision makers or, yeah, like different alcohol issues simply. then what is the, We also have, our weekly newsletters that people can, and what we are doing also, we are really carefully curating all the, that are coming out about the alcohol be science, alcohol industry, alcohol industry practices, also community, examples from communities. so they can be the, they can be found on our webpage where we have a. New center and really, it’s a very good resource for, finding any information, that people would like to know about alcohol, for example, and gender, alcohol and big, big alcohol. then, and then now we mentioned, big alcohol many times. so we are very soon launching or relaunching, our big alcohol exposed, campaign, where we are really supporting, more people to expose the industry practices that is, basic for, all the other work that we are then doing, big policy or the alcohol, non change. yeah, I, I think this is great, Kristina, The newsletter, the podcast, I mean, our social media channels so people can engage, and get in touch. But also follow and really benefit from what Kristina explained we are doing in, analyzing the world around us, curating this for people and making all these things easily available. I think importantly, people are most welcome to join Movendi the international individuals, but also community groups and, and organizations. And, and joining means becoming part of the movement. But joining can also mean, get in touch. Let us know if we can support you in, local or national advocacy effort, for an agri tax increase or for, uh, advertising ban or for reducing, outlet. The hours of, sales points. So we wanna support, these initiatives and, we are very happy when people really from around the world, from communities in the United States get in touch, for support of these advocacy efforts, these campaign efforts. So I think Kristina, that is, probably the last, but really not least point of how people can work together with us, how they can join, how we can make the world a little bit better through addressing, preventing alcohol harm. Together is better. And listeners remember, check those show notes for links to the website, social media, the podcast. And if you haven’t hit subscribe to our podcast. Do so, but then also go right over and subscribe to Movendi Internationals podcast, the Alcohol Issues Podcast. before we close out. This just heartwarming, like, I, I don’t know how to describe it, but my heart is happy. This conversation has been marvelous, but I wanna just pause and, and open up the, the floor, the microphone to, to both of you to share any, any last words of wisdom, insights, or a call to action for our listeners. Maybe it’s fair if I start, Kristina, and you have the last word. Very fun spin on, on developments here. for me, it’s, it’s really great talking with you Dave. I thought that these were really insightful questions that I will carry with me. What I brought with me into this conversation is a story that we just published, on our science digest about, the impact of, on the US population, killing actually so many people in their working age and rather young people. So I think that my take home message is that when it comes to the harm that the industry is causing in our society, it extends beyond health to social development and even economic productivity. And we can prevent this. This is not something that is a natural law that must exist, but the problem is that it’s so ingrained, it’s so normal that we sometimes don’t even see the harm anymore. And I think podcasts like this, conversations like this, they help to see it and they help to remember that we can do something about it. And in the United States, we really need, prevention in the communities and we need societal prevention through these ethical policy solutions, proven solutions that really work, as Kristina said. So this is, I think, so important. We don’t just accept the situation in the United States and in other countries, that we remember that we can prevent this and that we really have the tools now to protect so many more people from needless suffering, due to harm. Yeah, and I’m smiling here, Mike, because I wanted to talk about very similar things. So . Now I didn’t go first , but it’s, But I’ll anyway talk because I made two notes. I have written affected people and I will explain and not a minor issue. So when I want to talk about effective people, and I actually wanted to mention it already in the beginning of podcast, that, usually when we mention this term, People most probably think of people who have used alcohol. And then, they have now maybe they’re in recovery. and that’s, that’s, that’s the, the usual or normal understanding of the term. But we all are affected by, alcohol use. And, and you have also mentioned it, Mike, so it’s, the matter of individual health, but also of, of social, of the, of community, of families, communities, and also of the planetary health. So it really goes, beyond, and that takes me to the other point that I wanted to make, because this is also what I sometimes perceive that the people acted in alcohol, use prevention, are also sometimes feel, they feel that this is a minor issue or like there are more important issue and we have to step back to make it like to, to let others, solve bigger things in, in the world. But through. Really addressing the alcohol harm and preventing, alcohol use and reducing it. we really can address also many other problems in the society. And I think that it can really lead to the society that is simply more aware. And then when we are more aware, of the world around us, then we can also act upon it much better. And also, I think that the connection between us, is, of much better and higher quality when we are actually doing it alcohol free. and that again, the connection is again, needed for us to create a better world around us. So I would say that the prevention of alcohol, use is really not a minor issue. It’s a huge thing and a huge contribution to making our world, better. wonderful words of wisdom and yes. Oh, so important. Listeners, thank you for joining us for this, this conversation and share this conversation, this episode, these resources with those in your community, in your network, because together we can make a difference. Thank you both for taking time to, to have this wonderful conversation with me, sharing your stories about why you do what you do, and also unpacking Movendi International for our audience. Thank you both. It has been an absolute honor and pleasure. Can’t wait for us to to talk again. Thank you. Thank you so much, David. It really was a pleasure, Thank you very much, Dave.