I no longer wish to spend a single moment doing anything that doesn’t excite me or drive my passion.

I joined OYNB in April 2019. I had previously considered myself to be a typical drinker who drank at weekends and occasionally in the week. I had always been aware that I had no ‘off’ switch and could often be last man standing long after the party had ended but I didn’t class myself as a problematic drinker. I held down a responsible job as a Manager in the NHS and had always told myself that because I worked hard, paid my bills and looked after my responsibilities that it was acceptable to enjoy my free time any way I chose.

I now know the reality was very different

I would drink excessively most weekends and my weekends usually started on a Thursday. I would also allow myself a drink if my team played on a Tuesday or a Wednesday or, in fact, if anyone’s team was playing. My increasingly crushing hangovers could easily last three days and if I wasn’t hungover it was usually because I was drinking.

I was neglecting my responsibilities to my partner, my children and my family. Although I was physically there, I wasn’t always truly present. I had excruciating anxiety and what I now realise was low-level depression. Whilst drinking I would behave in ways that compounded my feelings of low self-esteem and I wasted my abilities and talents through lack of confidence, self-belief and motivation.

I had seen OYNB pop up on my feed

I felt like it was sending me a message. I had ignored it many a time (it always seemed to call me when I was hungover) but I knew this time I needed some support. I had completed 40 days alcohol-free the previous year and had fallen harder so this time I decided it would take more than just my own willpower.

I had genuinely expected that my biggest challenge was to replace my favoured beer with a diet coke and carry on as normal. I was hoping that by doing 365 days I would reset my relationship with alcohol, would learn how to moderate, would stop behaving in ways that made me feel ashamed of my actions and be ‘normal’ like everyone else. I had expected my whole life to continue just the same minus the alcohol. What I experienced was life changing, magical and transformational.

My OYNB experience

I was surprised to find that there were many people who had similar issues, that normal wasn’t one thing or another and that my situation resonated with many others who shared the same experiences to varying degrees. I discovered there were other people struggling to manage on a day-to-day basis in a society where drinking alcohol is the social lubricant, we are led to believe enhances every occasion from wetting a baby’s head right through to a farewell wake.

The alcohol-free benefits

Phil after his alcohol-free challengeI am fitter now than I have been in 20 years. I have lost two and a half stone and had to replace all my large clothes with mediums. My skin is hydrated and clear, I sleep the most satisfying sleep you could only imagine. I now run and cycle on a regular basis and have competed two marathons this year. I practice meditation, affirmations, journaling, Yoga and Pilates. I have discovered a real thirst for self-development, including reading many books in the self-help genre and listening to podcasts. I have worked on my own issues around negative self-beliefs and childhood trauma and connected with some amazing people along the way.

I am now training to become a Transformational Life Coach and will be dedicating my future to helping others to realise their true potential and purpose in life. This feeling is contagious, and I want to share it with as many people as possible. I no longer wish to spend a single moment doing anything that doesn’t excite me or drive my passion.

A supportive community

I would say the most valuable aspect of OYNB is the people. Those in the arena showing up every day and striving to be the best version of themselves. The unwavering positive encouragement that we give each other. The openness and non-judgemental support that is truly overwhelming at first and has the power to change people’s lives.

Alcohol is now a part of my past. I don’t buy it, don’t pour it and don’t drink it. I am totally comfortable in the company of those who do and I don’t judge anyone else who drinks alcohol. I now realise I never needed it and I am far more content, consistent and present in my life, in my relationships and in the things I am passionate about.

I would totally recommend OYNB to a friend or a stranger. Whether you feel like alcohol is a serious issue, whether you want to change your relationship with alcohol, or if you are just intrigued by experiencing some of the benefits of a 28, 90 or 365 challenge.


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