Rising to the Challenge: Drew Schapper | OYNB 100

One Year No Beer Podcast Episode 100 – Rising to the Challenge with Drew Schapper 

Drew Schapper leads an interesting life. He’s a musician who plays with a band, and an academic who’s currently working on writing a book. And on top of that, he’s a dad and a husband. He’s also a One Year No Beer member who’s joining today’s podcast to discuss what his alcohol-free journey has been like. 

Drew joined One Year No Beer in September 2018 and has about 520 days alcohol-free as of this recording. In today’s interview, he explains that he’d been a binge drinker since he was about 13 years old. He found himself struggling with binge drinking as time went on, and he found himself doing things that were putting his marriage in jeopardy. 

“Initially, I was so worried about what people would think and all this kind of stuff, but then I realized they’re wrapped up in their own things, problems, and whatever.”

Drew talks about what it was like for him to find One Year No Beer and start his alcohol-free journey. He initially looked into AA but found that it wasn’t the right fit for him. However, he liked the challenge aspect of OYNB and decided to give that a try instead. He started out with a 28-day challenge and moved on to three months and then a year. 

Drew credits the community at One Year No Beer with helping him when he felt like he might be ready to backslide. He describes going out with his band to perform shortly after he started his alcohol-free journey and seeing the pints of beer in the venue where he was performing. He knew that he wanted to drink and turned to the ONYB forum for help to resist, and that was what got him through the crisis. 

Listen in to hear more about Drew’s journey, his work and writing, and how he benefited from and contributed to the One Year No Beer community. 

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Episode Transcript

Jen: Hi, guys. This is Jen Fairbairns, and you are listening to the One Year No Beer Podcast. Today, I am speaking to Drew Schapper. He is one of our old OYNB members who has been crushing his alcohol-free journey for the past 18 months. He’s a dad, he’s a husband, he’s a musician, he’s a writer, and he’s extremely supportive within the OYNB community, so we thought what better person to get onto our podcast than someone that is living the challenge right now. Without further ado, Drew Schapper.

I am just going to go ahead and introduce Mr. Drew Schapper. How are you doing?

Drew: I’m good, thanks. How are you?

Jen: I’m very good.

Drew: Thank you so much for having me.

Jen: It’s an absolute pleasure to have you with us. You’ve been crushing our One Year No Beer challenge for quite some time now, and it’s about time you get to come on our podcast. It’s taken a while to get around to this. Thank you for taking the time.

Drew: No, thank you for having me. It’s a real pleasure.

Jen: We have many wonderful ways of describing you because you have had such a great impact on our community. You contribute immensely in your writing, the way you dedicate things, and the way you’ve always been extremely vulnerable and open to sharing your journey if you like. Thank you for that. Instead of me explaining to people who you are, why don’t you introduce yourself a little bit more? Tell us who you are, what you’re doing, your AF days, and we’ll start from there.

Drew: My name is Drew. I live in Melbourne, Australia. I’m 37. I started with One Year No Beer in September 2018. I had a few false starts early on. I reset on day 5, day 3, day 11, day 70, and I always went back to the beginning because I felt like I’m an extreme kind of character.

Jen: Right, but you wanted to do it. I know you’re going all in. You wanted to go with it.

Drew: I wanted to do it without. I wanted to have a year of no beer, I really do. I actually only signed up for the 28-day challenge initially. I was a musician and working in part-time academia and part-time music industry so it’s quite like a separate, schizophrenic kind of life. I just found myself drinking more and more regularly. I’ve always been a binge drinker since I was about 13. In 2017 and 2018, I found myself more habitually drinking, more chronically using alcohol. It was my crutch, it was what I would fall to, and it was becoming a bigger and bigger feature of every day.

I actually decided to look up AA first, and that was my first protocol. I found it really scary. I took this online test to ascertain whether you’re an alcoholic. I was definitely an alcoholic, and I didn’t want to hear that. I looked for something a little bit softer in the approach. These challenge aspects of One Year No Beer appealed to me, so I signed up for the 28-day challenge, and I just kept going. I’m now day 520, I think I am now, so 17 months. I have the full intention of never drinking again.

Jen: That’s awesome. Congratulations on your many, many days. The thing is you’re also being modest. You’re like academia and a little bit of music. Drew is extreme […]. His writing is so inspiring. He gets the most engagement in our challenges group when he posts something because what he writes is so beautiful. He has had me in tears, and he’s extremely emotional. He’s very good at his writing. He’s more than a little bit involved with literature. He’s very good at writing.

Drew: Thank you.

Jen: He’s also said a little bit of a musician, a little bit of music. Not everyone gets to write, gets to play at South by Southwest in Texas, let’s just say that. You’re more than a little bit of a musician. You have lived quite a life. You are young, and you have all this going on, but you felt I can do more, I can do better, I can feel better, my family is the priority, and now you are just flying. You’re alcohol-free and you’ve got big plans for the future.

Drew: I do actually. It’s been a great thing for me because I always used to write. I loved writing, but I gave up because I just would get drunk and write nonsense. I was sick of reading garbled. I’ve got these old notebooks because I’d get home from a big night or whatever and start writing all these things, these lofty ideas that I’d have in the cab on the way home. I’d read them the next day and I could hardly read them. My handwriting is terrible at the best of times, but this is just absolute nonsense. I just got sick of the sound of my own drunken voice so I stopped writing.

As I started with One Year No Beer, one of the first emails was to challenge yourself to do something different and replace an old habit of drinking with something you’ve always wanted to do—a little bit of sport, mediation, running, or anything like that. I set myself the task of writing daily. I started doing it and then I thought why not just be brave and post it on the group, that’s what it’s for. Instead of just keeping it to myself, just write it and actually share it, and be a little bit bolder.

Alcohol tends me into a little bit of a lie. I never did anything terrible, I never cheated on my wife or did anything like that, but it made me very dishonest. It made me withhold the truth, I would not tell her when I was coming home, and I would stay out all night. It just made me very lax with telling her everything. I thought I’d got myself into quite a lot of trouble with dishonesty, so I thought the only way I was going to get out of that was by being honest. I thought honest post, just try to be forthright, and be a bit more open. That’s been a big problem for me, and that’s not something I’ve ever been particularly good at, so the group’s been really great for me in doing that out.

Jen: I was going to ask a question about that. You just took the bull by the horns, you posted it, and you’re like let’s see what happens. Were you surprised? What did you feel getting all the feedback, all the calls and stuff? Is that part of the healing for you? Does that help you in the process of your journey and stuff?

Drew: Definitely. Obviously, the writing itself is very cathartic, and quite often I would process it via writing. It was hugely cathartic already, but the thing that’s really fantastic about posting it was that I’d see all the comments saying that’s so similar to my experience, or I’ve had a very similar experience with alcohol, partying or whatever. I found straight away that it made me feel much less isolated because I think that one of the traps of drinking is you feel you’re the only person drinking like that, you’re exceptional, you’re a freak, and you’re an outcast, those kinds of ideas.

They don’t really help you heal, and they don’t help you quit drinking at all. I think that’s part of the trap is that it gets you negative about yourself, you start spiraling, and your reasons to not drink become smaller and smaller so you keep drinking. Posting was great because I saw all these people that were going through exactly the same thing. It put me in contact with people at similar stages, and it put me in contact with people who were 500, 600 days into their alcohol-free journey. That was great, too, because there are people here who have done it, so it’s doable.

Jen: I can do it, yeah. It’s doable. That’s what’s so amazing about our members who have been doing this for a while and who are posting, much like what you are doing now. You’re making it look obtainable for the people who are on day 1, or day 7, and people that may have reset once or twice. It’s just showing that they can do it, it just takes all the work and commitment. By sharing and posting your story and your emotions, you are helping others. Essentially, it just becomes this beautiful snowball effect of you affecting other people at the same time, which is what we love about our community.

Drew: It’s one of a few areas in your life where you can talk about yourself and feel like you actually are contributing. You’re not just banging on about your problems. The other thing that I wanted to do while I did that because I was aware of posting, I wanted to make sure that I commented on as many people’s posts as I could, and I gave back that way. Those first few months, I really threw myself into the Facebook group. I probably did my neck damage from looking at my phone the whole time. I don’t want to be thinking about how many hours I was spending on screen time.

Jen: But it was a good tool for you. We do get that question a lot from people saying yes, alcohol is a bad habit, but so is social media. Sure, it is. You need to have moderation with everything. Sometimes, I know I take a little detox. We’re not talking days here, we’re talking over the weekend or whatever. It’s so important to have a little break, but it’s an incredibly important tool to have access to the forum and the challenges, especially when you’re at the beginning of your journey. If you’re not feeling strong enough, you can dip into the information and the resources that are on there, right?

Drew: Absolutely. To be honest, it actually saved me a couple of times from drinking. I remember my first gig. One of the things that I did initially was I just stopped doing everything. I can’t be in pubs, I can’t be in the old environments. I remember speaking to a few members who had been in there for a while. They just said those things will all be there, your friends will be there, gigs will be there, pubs will be there, just don’t go there. It was maybe six or seven weeks before I actually ventured out, and I was like I’m going to need to play music again. That’s how I go in that environment.

I remember it was a 37-degree day, a really hot night in Melbourne. It was a great old beautiful place we were playing in right on the […] of Melbourne, looking over the bay. It was beautiful, sunshine, all these pints of beer lining up. It was so enticing this golden amber liquid shining in the sunlight. I just really wanted one. I was only six weeks AF. I just went into the toilet and sat on the cubicle. I said to the group, I’m about to drink, I really am. I just got people to look straight away saying don’t. Ride it out. Just wait 20 minutes, and see how you feel. It was those kinds of things that actually stopped me from derailing myself at various times. I’ve done the whole way through whether it’s 6 months, a year, or 18 months. Sometimes you feel like you’re going to buckle and there are other people that make sure that I don’t because I don’t actually want to do it.

I’ve been drinking since I was 13, I’m now 37. It’s a long time of pretty recklessly abusing a drug. It may take longer than just a year or just six weeks or whatever challenge is being done so I’m prepared for that to go longer. I don’t get down now when I get cravings. I’m just like it’s natural, it’s going to pass.

Jen: You just get on the group. You find you still use the group for stuff like that. You let people know afterward? I think I’ve seen posts from you where you’re saying this is really tough and showing that vulnerability. Again, that is just showing your human side. You’re not pretending anything. You’re not like, look at me guys, I’ve done 500+ days. I’m sorted now. Generally, you still have to work on your challenge.

Drew: I still do. I don’t feel like I’m cured. I feel like I’m still in a recovery phase. I feel quite open to the idea that it could maybe last long. I don’t know. I don’t worry about how long it’s going to take. I just fall back on the group when I needed it. I have needed it a bit of late, and I think that’s partly the whole lockdown situation and everyone going. It’s kind of […].

Jen: Yeah, everywhere. Slowly triggers, triggers, triggers. It’s one of those reaction machines.

Drew: Exactly. Even this far you still get triggers. You’re still going to fall back on old patterns of thinking.

Jen: The moment the sun comes out especially up here in Scotland, we’ve had incredible weather, you get those feelings, all those memories that you’ve had of good times, but then you go no, I have my goals and I know my why nots and stuff. I wanted to ask you a little thought question on your challenge. How has it been for you amongst your friends? Obviously now we’ve been in lockdown for two months, so it’s quite easy to not get influenced by people. Prior to all this, did you tell your friends, were you open about it, and how did they receive your challenge news?

Drew: I was pretty open with everyone, actually. I have to be because I was just out and about so much. One night, you can say I’m not drinking tonight, I’m driving, but you can’t do that 360 nights in a row. They’ll start asking questions. Most of my friends are pretty heavy drinkers. I’m lucky, actually. I’ve got a handful of really close friends who are actually all completely sober as well. One very close friend of mine is actually seven years sober. He’s been a great person to lean on as well, but my really tight-knit group and all the people I was playing in bands with and stuff, they’re all still drinking, for the most part.

They were fine about it. They were mostly very supportive. I had a handful of people that were quite dismissive and threatened, but to be honest, they weren’t real friends. They’ve kind of fallen by the way. All my good friends have been actually quite supportive, so I haven’t had too much open hostility. I’ve had to deal with the old snide remarks and all that kind of talk that you get. I’ve been quite lucky in that regard.

Jen: Just a little side note there for myself, when you stop drinking you realize how many of the people around you were your acquaintances and not your friends. They were your friends that you would go out and party with, but they weren’t there for you when you had a tough time, then they didn’t want to hear from you. They’re like I don’t want to hear this […]. Go and be depressed elsewhere.

When you cut that out, you realize it’s kind of a natural filtering if you like, natural cleansing almost. It can be tough at first. It can be like you’re worried, but then you realize the people who matter, that is really when you start seeing it. When you go and do something so fundamental, that’s when you realize who are your true friends who will stand by you no matter what.

Drew: Exactly. The other thing that was interesting for me, too, was I had this realization. I think it was about when I hit day 400 or so. The people don’t care as much about your whole drinking as you think. Initially, I was so worried about what people would think and all this kind of stuff, but then I realized they’re wrapped up in their own things, problems, and whatever. Your drinking habits actually don’t cross their minds that often.

I had this wonderful liberating moment where I was like no one actually cares what you’re doing, just run your own race, and forget about it. They’ve got their own issues. They don’t care about yours. I found that actually really liberating. I’m at a bar, I’m playing music, whatever, and I felt very shy about going and asking for soda water or pints of water for the stage that kind of thing initially because the first thing they do is offer you beers. But no one has batted an eyelid, to be honest.

I just figured that so much of it was actually in my own head. It’s actually a simple, what kind of things was I using to justify drinking? I think that the social pressure aspect of it was I was exaggerating that so I can keep drinking. I’ve had to face a few of those kinds of tougher truths about my behaviors, and that’s been liberating in all the ways.

Jen: It’s a journey of this, isn’t it? It starts with removing the alcohol from your life because that’s the end goal because it does a lot of damage to us in both body and mind. Essentially, what you sign up to when you sign up for a challenge is completely changing your whole being really. Learning to find out who you are, what really fires you up, finding those passions, and having a lot of fun without the alcohol because a lot of people, well, I don’t know who I am without the alcohol. Perfect, now is the time to find out what it is.

You found your love for writing. Someone else will find something else that they go, oh my goodness, I forgot about this. That’s what’s so beautiful because you’re reshaping your whole being. If you’ve been drinking and have been miserable, that’s in the past now. What are you going to do with the rest of your life? You’ve got so much to do. On that note, you’re dedicating yourself. You’re writing a book.

Drew: I am, yeah.

Jen: You’re really going by to your passion. Tell me a little bit more about that.

Drew: To be honest, again, I have to thank everyone in the group because after, I don’t know how many posts I’d written, people would say this would make a good book, you should consider writing a book, and all those lovely feedback. I thought I probably should at least try and tackle it. That’s been going really well. Obviously, the whole coronavirus thing is a weird confluence of things for me. I just made the decision, just before we went into lockdown, that I was going to focus on that 100% and try and really knock it over quickly.

I’m at the final draft stages of the book. I’m hoping that it could be out in the next six months to a year depending on what timeline for publishing and all that sort of thing, which I know nothing about. It’s all new to me. It’s like a memoir/quit lit. I’m hoping it’s in a similar vein to The Unexpected Joy of Being Sober. That kind of very personal, but also, it documents my first year of sobriety quite detailed. I’ve gone back into my past, tried to show a bit of back story about how I ended up in trouble that I did end up in, but also, how I got myself out of it so that I can hopefully just share that experience and hopefully people can take something from it. If not, hopefully, it’s entertaining and what not to do on tour.

Jen: A musician’s handbook.

Drew: Yeah, exactly. That’s right.

Jen: If you don’t mind, let’s talk a little bit more about family, what this has done to your relationship with your wife because you mentioned to me that it was tough on your wife. A person struggling with alcohol, if they are together—married or a partner—there is the opposite of that. There is the other person. Do you mind sharing a little bit about that and how that relationship has changed until now?

Drew: I think getting sober has rescued our marriage, to be honest. I don’t really know what she’s thinking. We haven’t talked in depth about what might have been because never eventuated. The way I was heading, certainly, if I’d continued music the way I was, trying to turn that into a career, and being away for months on end, it was very reckless. Every time I went on tour, I just got absolutely blind drunk every day for six weeks, and then I’d come back quite physically changed from that—emotionally and mentally not very well.

I don’t think she’s in a happy place at all. Just how unreliable I became when I drank. I felt the strain, and I certainly felt I’ve created this resentment atmosphere at home that I was really uncomfortable with. To be honest, as I’ve dug back through my life’s history with alcohol, I’ve never been that comfortable with it. I don’t think I was ever that comfortable with it. I felt like it was really a different identity that I slipped into.

The prospect of putting my marriage in jeopardy and being a bad father because of what is essentially a drink that I don't really feel was very true to me at all, just felt totally wrong. I guess it's one of those things where you can't see that until you stepped outside of it, but once I had a few weeks under my belt, I felt very strongly that that's where it was all going. I think it's saved our marriage, to be honest, and I feel like it's made it much stronger and brought me back to a more authentic version of what I feel I am and that strengthened the relationships. It’s been a wonderful positive.

Jen: What did you think about when you told her about this whole One Year No Beer? What was her opinion of it?

Drew: Unreservedly supportive, which tells you all you needed to know. There’s no, I'm going to lose my drinking buddy or my old friend that we partied with because we did. We drank plenty together over the years and all of those kinds of stuff, but there was no sense of anything but support. That was really quite telling for me that I had a bit of an issue with it because she was just like, yeah, great, do it.

Jen: Yeah, off you go.

Drew: I spent many Sundays or Mondays saying to myself, I'll never do that again. I kind of didn't talk about it too much at the start. Later, I wanted to get a few weeks under my belt before kind of opening up fully […] over for, and I didn’t want to bullshit her anymore. I just was tired of doing that.

Jen: Yeah, you want to be authentic and true.

Drew: Exactly.

Jen: That's the thing. It's hard, the whole promising something to someone else and then feeling like you break that promise. That's never a fun thing. People who come are telling us, and some people, they do blip and like, oh it’s a blip. They include that into their challenge. Some people are like you. They're like I want a clean slate. I want to feel like I've done this, the whole challenge. There's nothing wrong with either way. It’s entirely up to the individual, but what you did is you went like no, I'm going at this. I'm going to do it on a clean slate, then off I go. I love it, it's amazing. You've done so well.

Drew: It was just the way I felt I have to do it and I think everyone's got their own… I don't think there's a right way or a wrong way. I think you do whatever works for you and that's the whole idea of the program that you guys have developed. It very much can cater for everyone. For me, I felt like I was slipping into alcoholism, like quite bad alcoholism. I know a lot of people do it more as a challenge. I feel like they'd like to try life without alcohol and I think you can cover all kinds of drinking habits in that way, which is really good and what I liked about the program.

It's funny because I feel like I've ended up back at what AA would have told me to do, which is to stop drinking or not drink again, but I wasn't ready to hear it at the time. I just didn't want it going to something being told that I could never have another drink again. I like the idea of a month without alcohol. I can do that and then it was the whole three months. I can do it for three months and then it is a year. I can do that. Somewhere along the line, I just decided that it was better without it.

Jen: We like people to come to that conclusion themselves. I mean, some people choose to moderate it entirely, but at least we're not telling them what to do. We're giving them all the tools and all the information to make their own decision. We're not telling them that they are XYZ unless you do this. People start realizing how good they're feeling and that’s essentially what will make the decisions and what's next for them.

Drew: Exactly. I think sometimes the labels can make more problems for you and I never liked the alcoholic label. I just felt like it was very hardcore and I wasn’t really ready to face that. Even though looking back on it, if you're drinking two bottles of wine a day every day, that's definitely alcoholism. I'm completely happy to admit that now, but at the time, I was like, I could justify it.

Jen: Everyone else is doing it. That’s what we tell ourselves, right?

Drew: I know people that drink more than me, all those kinds of things.

Jen: Essentially, it's not about what you drink. It's all about mind, body, and soul. It’s what's going on your head, what's making you drink that much, what's making you reach for another one. Once you start dissecting that and realizing that you can go back and find your true persona, your true authentic self.

Drew: Yeah and one of the reasons I don't think I will try to moderate is that kind of internal negotiation, after I'd had one drink and then I could have another one, or I better not. That constant debate after I'd had one drink, I found really quite taxing, after all these years and I feel like it just occupied too much of my intellectual activity, this constant negotiation. Getting rid of that to me is wonderful and that's why I haven't bothered to even try moderating yet. I doubt I will, just because I like that silence, it’s just not there. One of the things I did pick up from AA that I loved is that you only need to say no to one drink, you just need to say no to the first one and that's it.

That's been a motto that I've really lived by. I don’t have to worry about the second, third, or fourth negotiation. I just say no to the first one and that’s that. Door shut, no need to worry about it. When I was out with friends or anything like that, I just found it after that one initial surge of about 10 minutes where everyone's getting their first drinks and everything, you just have to ride that out, just not get that first drink and then they're all starting to get drunk and by 10 minutes later, no one cares and it's great. You’ve passed the rest of it and you can—

Jen: You realize you just had as much fun as anyone else and then after a while, you start feeling like, they're not going to feel good tomorrow. I'm going to feel great tomorrow, and that makes you a little bit—

Drew: By the time like 11:00 rolls around, people are talking complete nonsense and it's time to go home.

Jen: Yeah, exactly.

Drew: You jump in the car and drive home. It never gets old.

Jen: Never gets old.

Drew: That was the time at which I loved that really solidified my decision to drive home knowing that I got home safely and then I could get up the next morning, go for a run and go to the gym, do something completely different to how it would’ve been if I was drinking. That was where it started, the change started really solidifying, they were the moment where you sort of hang on to it, that first-hour discomfort or first 10 minutes discomfort was really worth it for that drive home and the hangover free weekend mornings which just never get old.

Jen: Yeah, sure. I thought about what you said, if you're strong enough to say no initially. I give this tough tip to people, make yourself busy at that first hour, because it’s only like they say, the first half an hour is […] be the one that gives drinks to everyone else, be busy, help out if you're at a barbecue, help out at the kitchen. Don’t just be around for people to shove drinks in your face and like, here you go. Be active, do stuff because it'll pass. Before you know it, you're not going to even think of it. Just keeping yourself busy, get past it and you'll feel so empowered.

Drew: That’s right. For me, the socializing aspect wasn't probably as tough. Music was the one that was really difficult. When I would arrive at a venue and set up my drums, do a soundcheck or whatever, that was all fine because like you said, I was busy, I had something to do, I had a mission, I had something to occupy myself with. 

It was the idle hands between set up, and if there are a few bands on, and then you’d finally play like maybe three hours later. That was the time for me that was really uncomfortable. That was the time when we were touring a lot that I would get absolutely hammered. That was always the time where the drinks were flowing, because I was bored basically. After 36 hours or whatever in a row watching other people's bands, you get bored of it, you get sick of the whole act, so you just get drunk to kind of pass the time.

Jen: You get free beer, free beer all the time.

Drew: You get free beer.

Jen: There you go.

Drew: Everyone else is doing it, exactly.

Jen: There’s stuff left and right

Drew: Shot and all kinds of stuff.

Jen: Of course.

Drew: That was a hard one to get my head around, so I had to do other things. Step outside, call someone, get in the group and post something, just keeping to kind of get out of that situation. I also realized that if I go off and have to go for walks a couple of hours even, if I just go off and leave, or go home and have a nap or anything, no one ‘s going to care, so I just started doing that. I made through the worst of it.

Jen: I was going to say when you realize that no one else cares actually, I'm worried that people are going to care, people don’t actually care because they're so busy that people only ever care of what they're doing. If you're making someone uncomfortable, it’s because you're triggering something within them. You're making them uncomfortable because probably, they're feeling like they drink much more. They're going to put that on you.

Since becoming sober within the music business, did you find that you're actually […]  actually, that person doesn't drink either because we just assume that everyone in the music business just party, party, party. When you party, maybe that's what you think, but when you don't drink, did you find that there were actually a couple of people who don't actually drink, or drink that much?

Drew: Absolutely, everywhere. As you said, the taste of the people in the music industry and I'm sure in many industries are the same as the drinking industries. They're not drinking, they're not partying, and they’re just there for a lot of music. It was really interesting. My band itself, two of the guys in the band didn’t really drink. The lead singer didn’t drink at all and our lead guitarist drank very minimally in the drives fine. The bass player would be getting hammered.

I actually toured around the world with someone who doesn't drink alcohol and never has. It's funny how much you can get in that bubble even within a bubble where you're spending so much time together. I actually thought back on his experience with me and I thought he must have just got so exasperated with me getting that drunk every night. 

Jen: Have you ever spoken to him about it since becoming sober?

Drew: The band kind of ran out of steam about six months after we got back. I spoke to him about it. He is always quite nice about it, to be honest. He never said that it bothered him or anything. I'm sure that he was hanging on to a bit of resentment from all that behavior. We got up to […].

Jen: Fair enough. That's the thing, we all have lived a life. That’s one of the important things to remember. If we have baggage, as we perceive as baggage, you start out as a fuel, you start out as, I know I've lived a life that's awesome, what do I do with myself now to feel even better, the best I can about myself, and do the best I can with my future? No matter what age you are, it's never too late to hit the reset button and go, what do I do next? Because a lot of people tend to do well a lot but like, I messed up with this and this. Whereas they should be focusing on, today's that day one. What’s next? I keep everything in a little bag. This is my past, it’s awesome. It’s made me into who I am today and it helps me with what I'm going to do with the future, right?

Drew: Absolutely. Looking at the past, taking all the positives out of it is quite amazing. That’s one thing I love about the group. It’s just seeing how some of the things that people have lived through is just […]. There are so many stories that I can't believe that people actually made it through that, and much worse stories than I've ever experienced. I think that that’s part of the power of it. You see people live through those kinds of things and you can start to take a bit of heart. Not in a competitive way of saying, that person has had a tougher life. I should shut up. It’s not like that. It’s much more supportive and it’s more about encouraging people. Taking the good bits of your past like you said and grabbing the future.

I think that one of the great things, as well, is the age spread over. One is quite big and you see people getting rid of alcohol in their 20s, 50s, 60s, even in their 70s. You think it’s never too late to stop drinking. It’s a great thing to witness really. I love seeing people that are just like, I'm not going to drink forever. It’s not what I'm going to do. I'm going to get rid of it now, which is good.

Jen: That’s awesome. That’s great to hear from you as a member because that’s what we see, that’s what we love so much about our group. It’s the diversity and how you have the 20-something and the 70-something, and they're all commenting on each other’s post. There's no discrimination between ages and genders. Everyone is just supportive. I think everyone ought to find what you're saying, support in each other’s journey and be like, hang on a minute. I've got this. It spurs people on. When you're having a tough time, people will just shower you. It’s a beautiful thing to see. It’s good to hear that from you as well as a member for sure.

Drew: It’s one of the things I've enjoyed about it the most actually. Connecting to people from all around the world in all different ages and stages, different stories and different lives. It's been really fascinating actually.

Jen: Awesome. What I'd like to kind of wrap this podcast up with is, what would be your words of wisdom, words of support be to our newbie members who are listening to this podcast? People who are in the beginning of a challenge, or being reset once or twice. What are your words of wisdom for them?

Drew: I guess to use the group as much as you can, as much as you need, to not feel bad that you're taking up too much air time, or that you feel like you shouldn't post. I was always a bit worried at the start that I was posting too much. At some point, I just thought if I need to do it every day, then I have to do what I need to do. If people are going to be as supportive as they were, then it can't be a bad thing. I guess, be brave and post. Don't be afraid that you're going to get people being anything but supportive because that's mostly what I'm seeing.

Obviously, there are times when people rub each other up the wrong way or whatever, but we're humans. We are bound to do that. Also to make connections with people. People that post regularly or that you’ve commented on their post or whatever. Don’t feel afraid of shooting in a private message. That's been one of the other things that helped me so much, it’s the private messages from people that I've either started with or people that just wanted to reach out, share their story, or some of the people that have been around longer as well. Just kind of reaching out and saying, you're doing the right thing, or message me if you need, and I've tried to pass that on and reach out to newer members and say that I'm always there if they need to reach out. I guess it’s using the people, using the connections, making the connections, and don’t be afraid to go along. That’s what we’re all there for.

Jen: That’s awesome. That's great advice. Thank you so much. Thank you again for coming on the podcast.

Drew: My pleasure. Thank you for having me.

Jen: Thank you for being such an active member and keep on inspiring. Promise me when you've got that book done and dusted, you’ll send us a copy.

Drew: Absolutely.

Jen: We can't wait. It's going to be great to see it. It’s lovely hearing your story.

Drew: Thank you. I appreciate it. I've obviously mentioned One Year No Beer in the book because it’s obviously been the way I've done this. I thought I had to mention you.

Jen: That’s awesome. Thank you.

Drew: It’s been an amazing experience and it's not something I would have done without getting off alcohol. I owe it to you guys.

Jen: You're doing what we're doing. We want to empower people all over the world to help other people quit the booze and reset button. This is essentially what's happening here. You're in love with Australia. It’s filtering out and spreading through you there. What more can we ask for? This is what we are doing. There are so many people within the OYNB community who either start their own podcast about not drinking, written a book, coaching business, or whatever. All of that has come from One Year No Beer, connections, learning and stuff. What we're doing is working. It’s so good to hear.

Drew: It really is working. I think that one of the things that I remember Andy saying, it was very early on, when I listened to a podcast that he's with, it's just to give it a go. Try living without alcohol and just see, because that was the thing, I've never tried it. I had all these ideas about what it would be like, and what sobriety would look like, boring, and it would make me bored, it would make me no fun, and all this kind of stuff. I actually have nothing to compare drinking to.

That thing is even if you're slightly curious about it, I think it's a great thing to try because alcohol will always be there. It’s not going anywhere. You can go back to drinking if you don't like being sober, and I'm sure plenty of people will do that, but there are also plenty of us that won’t. Sobriety will grab them and […].

Jen: That’s awesome. Drew, thank you so much. To everyone who’s tuned in today, members, you might be aware of what Drew is doing and he’s posted in the group. If you are a member, go search his name in the group and you can find all of his awesome posts. For those who are not members but are curious, keep your ears and eyes out for Drew Schapper’s… Andrew Schapper actually. I guess the book would be Andrew?

Drew: I don’t know yet. I haven't actually decided yet.

Jen: Andrew or Drew Schapper, title to be confirmed.

Drew: I think at the moment, the working title is After Party, that's what it's called.

Jen: I like that. I think it has a strong title.

Drew: Yeah, that’s the working title for the moment so keep your eyes out for that.

Jen: To everyone who tuned in, thank you so much. Andrew, thanks again for coming on the podcast.

Drew: Thanks, Jen. My pleasure.

Jen: Everyone, tune in for the next podcast coming up. Big thanks to Drew.

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