I can’t even put into words how great it feels to be myself again.

I was a weekend wine drinker—Friday, Saturday, and Sunday evening—every week for as long as I can remember once my children got older. However, lockdown saw me drinking more than usual, initially to combat the stress of the situation. But to be completely honest, in the end it was because I could. It was so easy working from home—all I had to do was get up, walk to another room, and log onto my computer. 

I figured out after a long time that alcohol was doing me no favours. I was tired, bloated, and grumpy. My family were noticing how much I was drinking and had mentioned concern, and my partner and myself were bickering all the time. Something had to change! 

I soon realised that moderation wouldn’t work for me

I’d seen the OYNB adverts come up on my Facebook feed, and so I started to read some of the testimonials. They resonated with me, and it was an obvious choice. I really didn’t think I would be able to achieve one year, as it seemed such a long time. I started with the attitude that if I could make it to 90 days, I’d reset and start again with a clean slate. I read loads of books that people on the Facebook group had recommended, and soon realised that moderation probably wouldn’t work for me. I acknowledged the reality of the situation, and after 90 days went on to sign up for one year quite happily. Wow—it went fast and was surprisingly easy once I set my mind to it! It also helped that my partner was joining me on this journey for her own reasons, and it was just brilliant and so important to me to have someone to buddy up with.

Amazing source of encouragement and inspiration

The Facebook group, or ‘Tribe’ as we call ourselves, is an amazing source of encouragement and inspiration, offering truth, understanding, and kindness. The people there are more helpful than they realise. The daily videos are essential as a starting point. They offer an understanding of the way we feel both physically and emotionally during those early days, some of which can feel quite dark and as we face some of the demons we had buried beneath the drink! 

I never knew how good it could feel to be alcohol-free

I was worried I’d be bored with so much free time, and what felt like a big void after stopping drinking. It was my main hobby: we used to collect (and drink) wine, and travelled to France many times to add to the collection! However, time soon fills the void, and in the early days I took up embroidery and knitting just to keep my hands busy. I drank alcohol-free drinks when I felt the need—they were vital in the beginning and proved to be a really useful crutch. I now go to the gym and I have taken up cold water swimming/dipping. The health benefits of this alone are worth the pain, and it’s been such a revelation! It’s something I do with my partner, and it’s been so lovely to have a shared hobby that does not involve drinking. I never knew how good it could feel to be alcohol-free. It also enabled me to stop smoking, so that’s double the good news!

It’s pure freedom

I feel fitter, healthier, and more vibrant than I can ever remember. I can’t even put into words how great it feels to be myself again—it’s an almost childlike quality I’m tapping into, and it’s pure freedom. There are still all the usual stresses of life, of course, but now it’s easier to cope with them as they appear, with a clear head and focused like never before. If only I’d realised this 20 years ago! I have lost some weight and still struggle with sugar; it seems harder to give up than the smoking and drinking, but I have every belief I will get there.

I’m proudly alcohol-free

I would suggest people try 30 days to start with. I really believe that’s enough time to realise how much of a benefit OYNB is, even just to take a break from alcohol if that’s what they wanted. But I’d suspect most people would continue to 90 days and beyond. It’s that great a thing! I’m proudly alcohol-free (and try not to preach too much). My neurons have truly created another pathway!

Take the challenge


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