I was a typical middle-lane drinker who used alcohol to celebrate, commiserate, and numb my feelings.
Occasionally—out of habit—I would go on a drinking binge. I had a strong suspicion that alcohol was holding me back. I was overweight and I wanted to change my relationship with alcohol. On previous occasions when I’d taken a break from alcohol, life was so much easier and better.
I wanted more
So I took on the 90-day challenge. I wanted to gain more energy and motivation, improve my physical and mental health, lose weight, sleep better, save money, and be a better husband, father and paramedic (that’s my job). My initial expectation was to complete the challenge and probably start drinking again, albeit with more insight and a ‘healthier relationship’.
From COVID to recovered
In March 2020, pre-lockdown, about 60 days into my alcohol-free journey and 1.5 stones lighter, I caught COVID-19. Over the next three weeks I became seriously ill with pneumonia and ended up in hospital for five days on oxygen, delirious and believing I was going to die.
Thankfully I made a full recovery, and after six weeks off I was back at work on the frontline.
I believe being alcohol-free and losing that initial weight helped me recover. The experience had completely shifted my outlook on life and my health, and I was very thankful and grateful to have come through it. I decided to continue being alcohol-free, and to improve my fitness and health with strength-training and long walks.
Better than I’ve ever been
I am now four stones lighter. I’m fitter, more energised, more motivated. I sleep better, I’ve saved a load of money, and I have better relationships at home and more energy for my work. All the improvements I set out to achieve have been met and then some. I’ve heard it said that taking a break from alcohol is like the best prescription you could get from a doctor.
I’m still improving my physical and mental fitness. I’m still enjoying strength-training, and I’ve completed many physical challenges over the last two years. Life and work can still be challenging, but without alcohol I have more clarity, energy and freedom to deal with the ups and downs. It feels fantastic.
What worked for me were the daily motivational videos and reflections, and of course the OYNB group which is so very supportive. Thank you for co-founding this incredible organisation.
No going back
I’ve recommended OYNB to friends and family, and would likely recommend it to anyone. It’s a safe, non-judgemental, supportive community. Taking the challenge has resulted in a fantastic change for me—I’ve been alcohol-free for over two years, and for now, I can’t see any advantage whatsoever in drinking again. I’m continuing the alcohol-free life.