In 2017 it was clear that drinking was having an adverse effect on my health. I didn’t sleep, had a low mood and was less motivated. I was always tired, I wasted weekends, I was overweight. Life was dull. Drinking had become a habit, mainly through boredom. I saw OYNB on the BBC and decided to sign up for 90 days. There was nothing to lose!

I stopped drinking immediately.

I just needed a nudge and OYNB gave me that. I had stopped before, in fact for more than a year, but life was dull. It felt I was somehow depriving myself and when I re-started I was quickly back at square one. Joining OYNB was like a life raft for me. It took a long time for things to change and after decades of drinking. I was not expecting a miracle. For the first three months I just held on tight knowing that the alternative was bleak.

Then approaching New Years’ Day…

..around the 90-day mark, I started to participate in the OYNB group. It was an absolute revelation to appreciate there were many others like me. I posted that I was thinking of doing a New Years’ Day 5k park run and the encouragement I received was phenomenal. I had not run for about 30 years, but I just did it, no training and ouch did I feel it! But that one small achievement for me was massive, it was a turning point and I felt great. Since then I have continued to run, and now it is just part of me.

My first OYNB social was a leap of faith.

I've always been anxious, risk averse and uncomfortable in social situations. It was touch and go if I went but I threw myself into it and it was a tremendous confidence boost. I’ve now attended several OYNB events including a mini ukulele fest on Brighton beach (swimming included) and a London Power-Up event.

I’ve been able to devote time to a personal ambition to learn Russian, attending weekly lessons. My fitness has improved through running, I’ve lost weight (8kg in a year) and I’ve been inspired to meditate. You can achieve so much without alcohol! The magic of OYNB, which I never realised at the outset, is that of replacing the bad with the good – it is not denial, it is quite the reverse and that has been enlightening.

I shall continue to be alcohol free and I know there is a lot more to come.


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