I have been a drinker for as long as I can remember, initially a social drinker but gradually turning into a bottle of wine a night and more at weekends. I am an all or nothing kind of person. I couldn’t just have one drink so I would end up drinking too much and not being able to remember most of the night. I was gradually becoming unwell. I felt older than my years, was overweight and breathless when climbing stairs. I would wake up with feelings of anxiety and dread, and had was unsatisfied with who I was and the life I was leading. I knew for about 3 years that needed to stop drinking but I couldn’t maintain it longer than a few days.
Then out of the blue
I scrolled past a post on my Facebook feed showing a woman who had undertaken an OYNB challenge. Her before and after photos were incredible, she looked 10 years younger in the after one. I immediately looked into OYNB and researched the reviews and comments. I decided there and then to stop drinking.
I expected quitting drinking would be hard, and I knew my friends and family expected me to cave after a few days – this was my usual level of commitment. I bought every kind of AF drink imaginable as I presumed I would need to substitute my intake with other things. I quickly realised I didn’t need them. It was good to have a fall back drink that isn’t full of sugar but I was more than happy with water and I initially drank gallons of it. Over time I discovered a love for herbal teas, and I like Seedlip as a party drink but often I prefer to stick to sparkling water when out.
My OYNB journey
After doing this challenge, I felt I could achieve anything. I got a lot of online support from the group and even did a live video. I have been amazed at how reflective I have become, how aware of my feelings and inner responses I am now. I am a lot calmer and my anxiety left me after about 2 weeks into the challenge. I read ‘This Naked Mind’ and started a reflective diary. This helped to clear thoughts and ideas from my mind which allowed some rest from my inner voice that used to play on a loop in my head. I had some periods of regret for the times I lost to alcohol, the things said, memories lost and opportunities missed. Gradually, I have come to reconcile with myself for the choices I have made. Alcohol may have affected some of them but I am determined to go forwards with enthusiasm and an open mind, making the best of my life ahead.
My AF achievements
I have enjoyed meeting new people, taking on new challenges; running, sailing and career changes. I have lost 2 stone in weight, become fitter (running at least 5k each week) and I am healthier and enjoy healthy food. I am surprised at how easy it has been. I have read a lot about how our subconscious mind influences our decision making and have made a great effort to try to impact on my own subconscious by repeating positive thoughts and mantras in my head. I have been open with anyone I meet, happy to tell them I don’t drink. I have had little negative feedback and if I did, I would see that as their problem not mine.
OYNB without a doubt has massively supported me on my quest, being able to share thoughts and ask questions in a safe environment has been key for me. I have inspired others to become alcohol-free and it has been a great place to direct them to for support. I don’t know if I would have achieved 365 days without OYNB but I doubt it. It has been a sounding board for me and an opportunity to try new things and push myself to be better.
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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