“It is amazing to think all this can be achieved by making one simple lifestyle change”

Life was good while I was drinking. All aspects of my life were going well so had no reason not to enjoy myself. At any opportunity I could, I would go drinking. I was always available for anyone who wanted to go grab a drink – my rubber arm could always be twisted. I was at every event and used any excuse to jump on the band wagon and have a few drinks.

I would have considered myself a social drinker but I was making a real effort to find times where I was able to drink. Concerts, race meetings, sporting events, holidays, family events, weddings, birthdays, work functions… My drinking defined me in a way and everyone would just presume I would be the one they could rely on to go drinking with.

Needing a change

The turning point for me was when I noticed was beginning to drink out of boredom. Alongside that, I was turning 40 and I just felt I needed a break. I wasn’t enjoying the drinks like I used do. Very few people my age were going out so the novelty and enjoyment of going out meeting people on a night out was also getting boring… It was clear from my physical appearance I was a drinking too much. I just felt I wanted to make a change and a colleague at work mentioned OYNB so I bought the 28-day challenge book one evening after work.

I had followed a few friends journey through the challenge over the years, so I knew it was going to be hard for someone of my nature to take it on. The first 6-8 weeks were an absolute nightmare. My sleep pattern, mood and every aspect of who I was as a person was tested. Anytime I went out socially I felt I had to explain to everyone I was taking a break which was annoying. People didn’t really get it. But I knew it was important to challenge myself to find out what social occasions could be like without alcohol. As I wasn’t drinking, I would be able to drive to social events, which in turn would give me an easy excuse for why I wasn’t drinking.

One of the biggest tests during my challenge came early on, a holiday to Mexico. I can safely say it was probably my best holiday I have ever had.

The benefits for me from taking a break from alcohol include…. 

  1. sunsetSleep quality: By far the biggest impact I have felt this year is on my sleep quality. Never underestimate the power of a good night’s sleep. I have never slept as well in my life and my concentration span, energy levels and ability to function on a daily basis has greatly increased as a result.
  2. Clarity of mind: Everything becomes easier when you are not hungover, making any decisions, daily tasks, working, exercising, driving, travelling abroad and socialising on nights out.
  3. Appearance and body shape: I have lost 3 stone in weight. I have gone from wearing clothes that were extra large to a medium. The skin on my face has cleared up and double chin has disappeared.
  4. Mood/productivity levels: My mood has improved hugely. My productivity at work has also increased and achieving my daily and weekly targets at work is easier.
  5. Relationships with friends and family: I still have all my close friends, I just meet them during the day instead, or for a few hours on a Saturday night. And I don’t think I have fought with my parents or a family member all year.
  6. Confidence: Since I stopped drinking I have developed a new type confidence that lasts all day every day.
  7. Money: My bank account has been rewarding me for not abusing it as much this year!
  8. Time: I finally got my weekends back… I am up early at weekends supporting my nephew at his rugby training and on hand to drive my car and help out at home if needed.
  9. Realisation: Life can be just as enjoyable living alcohol-free.

It is amazing to think all this can be achieved by making one simple lifestyle change. Having completed the challenge, the last thing I wanted to do was plough a feast of pints into me to celebrate the year milestone. I am just happy to be mentally stronger and physically fitter in these uncertain times for everyone around me.

The testimonials and videos posted on the OYNB social media platforms were a huge help for me. You literally see and read about people going through a complete transformation of who they once were. It definitely would inspire you to make the most of your journey and encourage you to keep going after the year is complete.

 

Take the challenge

 

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