The merging of self-determination, peer support and the ready-made excuse of doing the challenge were a winning combination
When I decided to go alcohol-free in July 2019, it was after many small and rather half-hearted attempts to reduce or cut out alcohol from my daily life. I wasn’t a really heavy drinker, but I was exceeding the 14 units a week which seems to be the accepted upper limit in the UK for women.
I was a fairly fit, health conscious 51-year-old, my diet and exercise regimes were good, and I did not smoke. My weight, blood pressure etc were all within normal healthy ranges but my one vice was the wine. I was a regular drinker, probably 2 glasses per night, sometimes more at the weekend, never (well hardly ever) drinking to get drunk, just my little reward for getting to the end of another day.
When socialising with friends and family I would drink more and sometimes would feel the effects for the next day or two. For the majority of my adult life this approach seemed okay, but for some reason in the few years leading up to 2019 I had started to think that maybe I should have a break, I was feeling tired and jaded and had lost my usual enthusiasm for life, I knew that something needed to change.
On July 20th I felt particularly jaded with life and I just remember sitting down and making a journal entry which contained a promise to myself to quit for a year and document the changes. A mini experiment on myself I suppose. At that point I hadn’t signed up to OYNB, but I had seen the ads and I had watched many of Andy’s morning videos as he ambled through the woods. I remember thinking, I want to feel like that, full of energy and vitality and zest for life!
One week later my husband decided to join me on my one-year experiment and I also decided a bit of moral support and accountability would help so I signed up for OYNBs 90-day challenge. I have never looked back! The merging of self-determination, peer support and the ready-made excuse of doing the challenge when asked why I wasn’t drinking were a winning combination. After many previously unsuccessful attempts, this one worked. I committed fully and with the help of quit-lit recommendations, alcohol-free drink alternatives and daily inspiration from others on the challenges and the OYNB daily emails I have had a brilliant year alcohol-free.
I got involved with the OYNB spartan group and made some great friends, had a lot of laughs, and also collected some medals (and bruises along the way).
My alcohol-free benefits
On what has changed for me: I have gained more clarity about what I’d like to do with my life. I sleep so much better and it is a deep restorative sleep. My skin and hair are better, and my energy levels have also improved massively. About 3 months into my journey I signed up for a part-time master’s degree, I’m pretty sure this is not something I would have found the time or energy for if I had still been drinking. I have learnt a lot about behavioural change and the emails from OYNB have been instrumental to this. I upgraded from the 90-day challenge to the 365 and the emails kept coming each containing great little pearls of wisdom.
Many small things have changed for me and I feel as though my relationship with alcohol is changed for good. I’m in no hurry to drink again, but I know that when I do it will not become the everyday habit that it was just over 12 months ago.
I would totally recommend OYNB to anyone who wants to change their relationship with alcohol.
Photo credit: Brian Farley Photography
An entrepreneur and former senior oil broker, Ruari gave up drinking after excessive consumption almost cost him his marriage, and worse, his life. Going alcohol-free improved his relationships, career and energy levels, leading to him founding OYNB to provide a support network for others.