Not drinking meant I was noticing how I felt physically and mentally and could recognise triggers and cope better.

I needed to change my relationship with booze and take back control. Similarly to a lot of OYNB-ers, I was noticing patterns that I wanted to change and that I wasn’t happy with for one reason or another. Personally, I needed a break, and I was reaching a milestone birthday too.

I am a product of the 80’s, so the weekend binge drinking culture was very much part of my life (but it’s ok as I didn’t drink in the week right?!). When I look back – in 20 years of drinking, alcohol has not done one good thing for me – other than offer an escape from dealing with my insecurities, mistakes and low self-esteem.

Time for a change!

The Covid Pandemic was the trigger for me to make the first step to 365. It was quite clear that once the first lockdown wasn’t going to be over anytime soon, I could either come out the same (or worse) or come out better. I had also started smoking again when I drank which added to the list of shame. 

Although I had a seemingly good weekday routine and got things done (work, crossfit, paddleboarding, cycling, chores), I was struggling, and Sundays were often spent hungover. OMG Monday’s were the worst – WHAT-A-GRIND and so much harder than they needed to be with the knock-on effects – tiredness being the main factor for me.

The impacts on my mental health were clear – stress, anxiety, imposter syndrome, the fog, low confidence all a vicious cycle. I also felt I was missing out on certain physical aspects. I couldn’t be performing at my best could I, and my poor body was focusing on recovering from the weekend rather than being a well-oiled machine. The benefits far outweighed the negatives, so once I started there was no looking back.

My alcohol-free journey

I’d completed 90 days before so knew what to expect in a sense, but I fell back into bad habits. With 365, once I started noticing the initial and continued benefits and improvements, I had no desire to negate on my challenge. Late Saturday afternoons were always hard, but that was just a habit I needed to break. Going to the pub in between lockdowns was fine – 0% beer choices, good company and a nice garden all help, and lunches/dinners were fine. No desire for long drinking sessions either.

Turns out, one year really isn’t that long!

Most of what I wanted to achieve aligns with other members so it’s nice to know there’re common themes and that you’re not alone. The best bit for me though was once my sleep started to improve everything was a little easier. Then your skin and overall appearance improve – for me personally 5 months was the wow factor to be able to see the drastic change and be really happy with where I was at, but others could notice earlier.

The alcohol-free benefits

Ben after his challengeNo more wasted days and I was making the most out of every weekend – up early and in awe. Not drinking meant I was noticing how I felt physically and mentally and could recognise triggers and cope better. My diet changed as I was able to assess how I felt after eating certain things and fuel for exercise (and life) properly. I really enjoy my food now. I’m far from perfect, but I take time to pause, meditate and check in with myself daily. I’m learning to be present, to better value myself and my time and to be more confident.

I climbed mount Snowden with my Son for the big 4-0, I’ve been able to train for cycling Land’s End to John O’Groats in June 2021, early enough to have the rest of the day to spend with family. Physically I’m leaner too. Overall though, it’s the clarity not drinking brings to help you make better decisions and invest more time in yourself – and therefore others benefit too. Nothing is stopping me from achieving more. Perhaps an Iron man next – Any coaches out there?

My experience with OYNB

OYNB offers a structure to follow and creates accountability, and a target to hit so you’re more likely to succeed. Timely videos and targeted reminders. In our house we practice the “three G’s”! Three things we’re thankful for each day before we go to bed to level set on how lucky we really are. The weekly emails keep you checked-in and up to date, and additional upgrade support is there if needed. Not forgetting the community on OYNB connect. Reading some of the stories really helps inspire and reaffirm just why you’re doing this – whether it is from someone starting out where you were, or further down the line, where you want to be. Keep sharing. 

Yes. There is no magic wand to turn off the “all or nothing” switch let’s be honest (or there isn’t for me!), and I still get urges sometimes; but my reasons for drinking alcohol have changed and I’ve broken the back of the habit. I don’t see or need alcohol as a coping mechanism and why would I want to go back to the way it was, struggling every Sunday and dreading that feeling Monday and not fully optimised until a Thursday with low self-esteem? It’s all about the journey so onwards and upwards – BOOM! 

As a starter to re-evaluating one’s relationship with alcohol for whatever reason, there is no better starting point. So much so that I became an investor in OYNB. 


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