Today is five years no beers (1825 days AF)
Five years ago today, I made the best decision of my life – to stop drinking.
**Before I get into this post, I wanted to thank you all from the bottom of my maracas for helping create something extraordinary. The OYNB movement is a team effort, and every member has a part to play. I wish I had you guys five years ago!!
Just imagine, 1825 days ago I was where many of you are right now. I was not the guy out front. I was struggling. I had slipped too many times and made every mistake. I believed I would never crack this bloody alcohol thing.
But I didn’t give up.
I would never give up. I just kept coming back for more until I figured it out – there was nothing to ‘give up’ and everything to gain. Half a decade ago, I was overweight, unfit, dangerously unhealthy, stressed, time poor, lethargic, tired, lacking motivation and unhappy. My relationships were suffering, and I was frustrated that my dreams were nose-diving through my fingers. But I knew if I could sort the alcohol situation everything would get better. I was right, it did. You see, alcohol had filled my head with limiting beliefs. As my alcohol-free adventure progressed I crushed every single one of these beliefs and transformed my life.
So today, I thought I would share some of these limiting beliefs and how going alcohol-free was the catalyst to overcome them all.
You could never do a month off the booze. CRUSHED
I believed this for a long while. Until I did 28-days alcohol-free. Then I pushed the limiting belief to 90 days. Until I did 90 days and that’s when I knew I was onto something special. So I just kept going. I did not set an end date. I thought if I am enjoying my alcohol-free adventure I will keep going and here I am 5 years later!
You do have the confidence to talk in public without a drink. CRUSHED
The fake courage alcohol pretends to offer destroys real-world confidence. It took a few months to build my confidence back up, but when it returned it was powerful. To know that I could take on all life’s challenges without plastic confidence was a game changer. The first time I spoke in public, I was bricking it, but I did it. Then I did it again and again. I now love it and regularly speak in front of hundreds of people.
** A message to you all is that you can do more than you ever thought possible. Push yourself outside the comfort zone. Use this alcohol-free platform to level up your life.
You cannot be a successful broker without entertaining (drinking). CRUSHED
Certain people within my industry suggested my career would be over if I stopped drinking – thats social pressure. Once again it was total bullshit. This fake wisdom was offered by people who did not have the courage to make a stand. Not only did I crush this limiting belief, the new business I created while AF, ended up 7x bigger than the boozy one. Best of all I had total control over my work life balance. I did not miss one parents evening, running race or netball match!
I am a dodger of the salad and could never give up meat. CRUSHED
Here’s the thing, once you realise the conventional wisdom that engulfs alcohol is total BS, you see the world with new eyes. When I researched the best diet for me, I discovered the plant-based option. At this stage in my alcohol-free quest, I was fearless about what other people might think. In my mind, I knew if I could take down alcohol, I could certainly change my diet. So I did. My muscles did not fall off, or my teeth fall out as my mum thought they might. I grew stronger, leaner and healthier.
I am drinking a bit too much, but it's not affecting my health. CRUSHED
I was guilty of believing the absence of disease implied that I was healthy. I was not sick; therefore I must be ok. Wrong. A trip to the cardiologist revealed heart disease. Years of abusing my body with alcohol, stress and zero exercise was killing me early. Fast forward a year into my AF adventure, and the results were staggering. I’ll let Dr Gupta explain, “‘Astounding, your resting heart rate has plummeted from 67 to 42, cholesterol is a fantastic, blood pressure is lower, your 42lb lighter and you look great.’ Dr Gupta went on, ‘But what's astounding is that it appears you have slowed, if not reversed, the signs of heart disease.’ BOOM!
The Body Mass Index (BMI), is total rubbish. It says I should be around 12 stone. I will never see my pro football weight of 12:10 my body has changed. CRUSHED
I would regularly get pissed off at the BMI index. It was ludicrous. I was 15 stone and a bit. How could my healthy range be around 12 stone? What a load of rubbish I thought. Six months alcohol-free combined with exercise and a plant-based diet, I was weighed in at 12 stone 2. Sorry, Mr BMI, you were right after all.
I don’t have time for anything outside of work. CRUSHED
I had loads of time; I was just wasting it on drinking, hangovers, and lack of energy. My favourite philosopher, Seneca says is best, “It's not that we don’t have enough time, it's just that we waste so much of it.” The extra alcohol-free time I unlocked gifted me the time to get super fit and grow my mind.
I could never get up at 5 am. CRUSHED
I would fight my alarm at 7:30 am so getting up earlier was not an option. Skip forward a few months, when I started to sleep well, and I found my true energy I was getting up at 6 am, which eventually settled at 5 am. The early starts unearthed an extra 3 hours a day to study, get fit, write, learn and power up my life and career. During this time I also wrote our first book, “The 28-day alcohol-free challenge,’ and I am currently writing my next book on motivation all before the kids are awake.
Remember – You can change your world before breakfast.
My academic career was over when I left school at 16 to play football. CRUSHED
Armed with extra time and consistency, I went back to university part time to finish a degree and in a few months my master's degree in positive psychology and coaching psychology. Never stop learning. Never stop growing, This is what life is all about, and I could not recommend distance learning enough. Nothing is stopping you taking your education to a new level.
I could never go to a wedding without drinking, and dance sober forget it. CRUSHED
The whole dancing thing was the big one for me. In my mind, I could not see the day that I might dance without alcohol. Until I did. The world did not end, no one laughed. No one cared. They were all having a great time. Don’t get me wrong it was not pretty, but I did it. And my life was richer for it. Another limiting belief crushed.
My wife will think me boring and run off with the postman. CRUSHED
I would agonise over this limiting belief. Would I become so boring that my wife would leave? It's crazy when you zoom out and think about this particular belief. Alcohol had infiltrated my life and tricked me into believing that without it I would be boring — what a load of rubbish. I now know what boring is and lots of things that happen when people drink are a total bore off. What’s exciting is having the energy and mojo to make a real connection and do stuff, rather than just existing. My family and I just arrived back from a ski holiday, and it was one of our best. The reason it was so good is that I no longer drink. I have the time, energy and clarity of mind to be there for my wife, kids and family. And we have a right laugh!
I will not be able to bond with my best mates as we always had a drink together. CRUSHED
The one thing I found hard to let go, was sitting in a friendly Irish pub with my best mates Colm and Lenny. Things did not get off to a great start when Lenny jokingly put me in the boring corner and told me not to come out until I started drinking again. But they are now my biggest supporters. And something I am proud of is that Colm is now alcohol-are since Jan – I am buzzing for him as I write these words.
These are just a few limiting beliefs that I crushed during my alcohol-free journey. So, if you’re at the start of your AF adventure and your head is full of limiting beliefs hopefully my story will show that you can do more than you ever thought possible.
All you need is to do is go alcohol-free and believe.