“To wake up every day, fresh and ready for what’s ahead of you, is just the best feeling”

Before taking this challenge, life was only going one way for me. I didn’t notice how bad it was at the time. Being a heavy drinker for most of my teens, living and partying in Tenerife, I didn’t have the best outlook on drinking. From there, the I fell into the work hard, play hard mentality. It just became normal to drink at every situation I could. If I couldn’t drink, I wasn’t going. My answer would be “that’s boring” or “I can’t do that without a drink”. When I could drink, I would always get as much in me as quick as I could to make me feel relaxed and confident. The more I drank, the louder I got, the more confident I felt, and the more things went wrong. 

As time went on

Drunk on train before quitting alcoholMy drinking was becoming more frequent and I was starting to drink alone. This was ruining any quality time with my four children and amazing wife. My work was getting massively affected and I had terrible anxiety, something I never thought I had. I was putting on weight and just had a ‘I don’t care’ attitude to most of my life, except for DRINKING. I had no desire to want to do anything. There was no passion or dreams, there was no get up and go in me, I had become lost, lost in the world of drinking and it had to change. 

I came across OYNB on Facebook

At first, I didn’t have the confidence to sign up. I put it off for months and kept telling myself, yeah one day. Eventually, on an August bank holiday, after a big drinking session the weekend before, I couldn’t take it anymore. I signed up to the 28-Day Challenge on 1st September.

My aim was to show my wife that I could stop, and that drinking didn’t have a hold on me. The first 2 weeks were awful. My emotions were up and down, I just wanted to hide away from the world and sleep. I started putting in the work with the daily emails and chose to get involved in the community. They are an absolutely amazing group of people who just want to listen to your story and help you. When you start seeing other people’s stories and how many days, they’re on, it helps you to understand there is a life out there, we are all just stuck in this MATRIX of drinking.

Starting to see the positive changes

I didn’t know what to expect from this challenge, I just knew I wanted a break. Once you start getting a couple of weekends out the way, you start gaining momentum. It was then that I joined a gym and established a routine for myself. Mornings are beautiful now, I’m up before anyone, seeing the sunrise is priceless. I’m out walking my dog, I’m at the gym, I’m swimming and I’m so much more productive at work. I’ve lost over a stone in weight and I’m so much fitter. I have patience with life and the time I have with the family is just amazing. 

What next?

Ricky competing in Spartan after quitting alcoholWhen my 28-Day Challenge was ending, I didn’t want to stop. I had all this new-found confidence, so I signed up to the 90-Day Challenge without much thought. It’s such a powerful to be sober and in control of your own mind. You feel as though you can take on anything. 

It was when I reached the end of my 90-days that I really started to realise what I had been missing out on for all these years. I booked a few challenges and I started to have things to look forward to in life, such as Spartan Races climbing Mount Snowden! It felt great to spend my time like this, instead of all my time and money being thrown at alcohol, being hungover and telling stories of how pissed I was. 

I could tell that my mindset had shifted. My anxiety, stress levels and all the other usual downsides to drinking started to disappear. I wanted to see how far this could take me, so I did it I signed up to the 356 challenge!

My life has changed so much

I’m 100+ days alcohol-free which is mind blowing. I just don’t want this to stop. To wake up every day, fresh and ready for what’s ahead of you, is just the best feeling. Having no fuzz in your head and a positive approach to everything is the way life should be. I’ve only got one chance at this life and to waste it all on alcohol is something I’m not prepared to do. I could never dream of having fun sober before this, but when you give yourself the chance to experience it, it’s so much better. I am now in charge of my own decisions, actions and thoughts.

The thing is, I like the alcohol-free me. He doesn’t put me down, make me feel anxious or depressed, make me angry or feel like sh*t. He doesn’t get me into so trouble with my wife or make me so stupid things. He gets me up every morning, feeling fresh, he makes me confident and clear minded, he brings out the best in me and he is the best version of myself!

I am looking forward to all the things I can experience alcohol-free; Christmas, birthdays, holidays, summer, it’s all possible when you give yourself the chance. There is so much more out there than drinking and I could not have done this without the help of One Year No Beer.


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