There is such a great range of AF beers here in Spain now plus some places do mocktails, so I never have any fomo.

I was a daily drinker, maybe up to a bottle of wine per night during the week and more at weekends. I only drank in the evening with dinner and then after for the two to three hours before bed. So that was OK, right? I never drank during the day, so I didn't have a problem. Right? Wrong!

Before taking the challenge

Most of the time there wasn't a problem as we stayed in (we had a little boy) so if I fell asleep (passed out) on the sofa at night, nobody except my partner knew. The big problem used to be if we went out, as I never knew when it stop until it was too late. And I would often lose part of the night, not remember what had happened, what I'd done, how I'd got home etc.

Deciding I was ready for a change

Vanessa with her dogAfter a particularly heavy drinking session with some girlfriends before Christmas 2019, (our Christmas night out) I made up my mind that things would be different. I didn't want my then 2 year old to see Mummy in that drunken state ever again, so I decided to join up OYNB in the New Year. (I had seen adverts popping up on my Facebook newsfeed for a good while). However, I decided to wait until the end of the Christmas holidays due to fomo (fear of missing out) and started my challenge on 6th January 2020. I also didn't want to start on the obvious 1st January, as figured along with everyone else, I would be doomed to fail. Lol

I decided to join the 90 day challenge as 28 days wasn't enough, but I couldn't afford the full year. I had every intention of continuing past 90 days if I could make it though. I'd abstained before, for 18 months while pregnant with my son and then breastfeeding, so I knew I could do it if I set my mind to it, but somehow this felt different as I was choosing to give up for ME! I actually felt excited about it and started the challenge one day earlier than I'd signed up to, as well, why wait? And I haven't drunk a single drop since.

My experience going alcohol-free

I think I can put my success down to two factors, the support from OYNB and in particular, the Facebook challenger group plus reading the amazing book Alcohol Explained by William Porter. After about 5 chapters of his book, I knew I would never drink again.

Sad to say I haven't really lost much weight, (but didn't really need to) but my skin has definitely improved. I have better sleep and more energy and manage the early mornings a lot better than previously. I feel more present for my son and partner as I mainly just drink tea, coffee and water now. I remember going to bed every night and I am more with it in the mornings. Sometimes still tired, but no hangovers.

The OYNB support

I found the videos each day a great idea, but the most valuable aspect was the Facebook OYNB Challengers group for me. Just to be in touch with people on the same journey was what helped most. Just to know I wasn't the only one going through this and having enough of alcohol. I suppose I could have got that for free with joining other Facebook groups like William Porter's Alcohol Explained, but the whole concept of joining a challenge where I had paid money to complete something was more attractive to me. My partner thought I was wasting my money by joining and I should just quit on my own, but that would never have worked for me.

What's next?

There is no relationship with alcohol now. Period. I occasionally drink an AF beer or AF Freixenet but for the most part I am happy to drink water in the evenings. Followed by my cup of tea after dinner.

To be honest, we don't go out much at all, but if we do, I just have one AF beer and it lasts the whole meal out. There is such a great range of AF beers here in Spain now plus some places do mocktails, so I never have any fomo. I don't think I will ever drink alcohol again.

Thinking about taking the challenge?

I would definitely recommend OYNB to friends wanting to change their relationship with alcohol. Not everyone wants to quit forever, I get that, which is why OYNB is great. You even have help now for people wanting to moderate, which is great for some people. But as I am very much an all or nothing person, I had to go the whole hog and quit forever. But I am so happy to be where I am now. Thanks guys!


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