Kristina’s story starts when her dad got on a public tram in Bratislava, Slovakia, and found a little note there about starting an organisation that would focus on healthy lifestyle…
My father never takes public transport. He always walks to learn more about a city. But this time he did and his little journey has taken me on the great journey through life.
I joined the IOGT movement after I had attended their youth European summer camp in Slovakia. I enjoyed all the fun and laughter so I became a member… OK let me take it one more time so I can describe how it really was:
Imagine where action, emotion and ratio meet. All at once in one point. They all together built a strong notion of inspiration. The feeling that pulls you to the unknown. The feeling that both attracts and makes you radiate joy, excitement and enthusiasm.
That is what I felt when I, for the first time, came across this global movement. I was inspired by the knowledge and freedom of the people. I felt lighter like if I was carried by the genuine atmosphere of not pretending. I felt lighter like if I was carried by the ambition to create change I want to see around me. I felt lighter like when you find words for a feeling that you’ve felt for such a long time but only now finally you can put finger on it. I wanted to join forces with people who would look beyond their individual needs and would contribute to creation of environments where also others can grow. I liked that the contribution could happen on so many levels – starting with one’s own lifestyle, ending with global processes transforming societies. So I joined…and took off for a journey.
Genuineness. Inclusion. Joy.
IOGT means “genuineness” to me. It is a place where you know that what you feel and do is real. IOGT means “profoundness” to me. It searches for solutions that are long-term and lie at the root of a problem. To me IOGT means “inclusion” because it accommodates a great diversity of people, approaches, activities and none of them is more valued than the other. And last but not least, IOGT means “joy” to me. The environment IOGT creates on both a small and large scale opens more opportunities for exploration, friendship, understanding and freedom – some of the elements the joy is built of.
IOGT has given me a lifestyle that I have actively chosen.
Thanks to IOGT I became more aware of the happenings around me. I became more aware of the structural and cultural mechanisms that direct our decisions. I started reflecting the world around me. And I would not just blindly give in to something just because it is expected from the role I have in society (a woman, a young person, a central European, a student, a daughter…). But to be aware is not enough and IOGT with all its people and situations it brings into my life empowers me in amount of ways to act upon all the realizations and analyses I daily make. IOGT also gives me a challenge. I am challenged by IOGT almost every day, which makes me grow. And the experience of growth makes me content.
Imagine…what a difference one tram ride can make
Alcohol is an obstacle to development – both for human beings and their potential as well as for entire communities and societies around the world.
I feel honoured and grateful to serve IOGT International and its members.
Working for preventing and reducing harm caused by alcohol and other drugs, and for a world that is more just, healthy and free is a huge challenge but it’s also deeply rewarding and inspiring.
The alcohol-free lifestyle is the lifestyle of the 21st century.