I run a hospitality group in Hong Kong. That means I run ten bars, pubs and restaurants in a vibrant, all-night city. Drinking was part of my job, my life.
Then it started to take over and black outs became the norm. One day a friend wanted to show me a video of how drunk I was the night before, and this ultimate humiliation was more than I could bear. Obviously, I knew that I had been wasted, but to actually SEE IT – no thank you!
So, I took control and started looking for help.
That’s when I found OYNB, and honestly the rest has been (relatively) easy!
I thrive on challenges, deadlines and competition, so doing 90 days AF was easy for me once I made the decision to actually DO IT.
People were surprised, but as soon as I said it was a “challenge” they accepted that it was a short-term thing and I didn’t have too many problems with friends and colleagues pushing me to drink. I stocked AF beer in all our bars and that was that.
After 90 days I had a night out.
A date – and got smashed. I didn’t remember the date, what I had said, or even how it had ended. Back to square one. So, I signed up for the full year. Back on track, and again it has been easier than moderating.
My personality thrives on this sort of control, and as soon as I got back on the challenge I started to identify as a person who does not drink, not as a person who is trying not to drink. BIG difference!
I set myself a challenge early on – to trek to Everest Base Camp.
And on St. Patrick’s Day, day 306 AF for me, I made it!
Just under two years ago I had a fifth operation on my right knee and had almost given up hope of being able to hike again, but thanks to a great surgeon, a lot of physio and training, and ten months without drinking I have now ticked off Number 1 on my bucket list!
I also raised some money for charity whilst doing the challenge, and that has uplifted me far more than I expected.
This would never have happened if I had been drinking.
To get to where I am today has required 10 months of weekend hikes, after-work personal training sessions and evening physio appointments. I can’t imagine making even a tenth of these if I had been drinking!
Now that I am comfortably going on with my AF lifestyle, I find very little really knocks me off track.
I still have bad days, and some people still annoy the hell out of me, but rather than reacting like I used to, I now take a deep breath and more often than not can find something to smile about in this wonderful AF life I am creating.
The unconditional support of the tribe at OYNB has been a huge factor in my success so far. I read posts daily and realise how hard so many people are working to improve their lives by going AF.
I am working hard too, and I know I have changed my relationship with booze for ever.
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.
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