I have watched every single OYNB video that is emailed each day and I try and embrace what is being suggested.

I have suffered with anxiety most of my adult life, I have always been a weekend drinker with one other night in the week, normally a Wednesday. I used to drink 2 to 4 beers each time and things were okay. Over the last 5 years though I had become aware that I was drinking more each time I did drink so 4 became 8 or 10. I then started having a mental battle to work out when was okay to drink and if I was trying to moderate, once I had reached the agreed amount on that day in my mind, the mental battle to stop there was horrendous.

I also realised my sleep patterns were terrible and the cycle of waking at 3am after I had drunk and then hating myself for doing it again and lying awake for 1 to 2 hours and having constant anxiety. Then I would wake the next day tired, knowing the only thing that would take the tiredness away and make me feel better was more beer and so the cycle continued.

The final straw

I was getting a blood test at the doctors due to my annual check because I was on statins and blood pressure tablets. The liver function test came back abnormal and the doctor felt it was most likely due to my level of alcohol consumption. That was New Year’s Eve 2019, So on 2nd January 2020 I stopped drinking for 2 months.

My blood test after this time had shown a returning to normal but not 100% perfect, I thought I could moderate, so I started drinking just one day a week, then that build to 2 to 3 days a week. By the time I got to July I was not back to where I had been, but I no longer had control and the anxiety and other issues returned.

So, on the 17th August 2020…

I stopped drinking and joined OYNB

Like everyone I guess I joined OYNB with some vague hope this could help my battle but not being certain I could stop drinking for a year, it is such a long time in your mind and to think about it right at the start when I was drinking 3 to 4 days a week and over 20 beers in that time felt so enormous.

I didn’t know if I wanted to stop forever and couldn’t think about that at the start, but the first week passed okay and I felt a bit better about myself, then another week and I started really enjoying the feeling of waking up sober on a Monday and not having that anxiety of 3 or 4 days heavy drinking and also the fog that comes with that not being there.

I read William Porter’s book, Alcohol Explained and this really helped, I read it during the first 10 days and it just focused my mind on why this was so important and made me put alcohol into a context of almost loathing it for the effect and control it had, had over me. I was determined to not let that happen again.

Cravings are a terrible part of drinking, I had moments in my life when ordinarily I would have drunk, I was your stereotypical drinker, I drank when I was happy, I drank when I was sad, I drank when I was excited and I drank when I was nervous, I druank if it was a Friday, Saturday or Sunday.

My experience of OYNB

I never expected to get so much from the Facebook group of OYNB, I spent hours during the first month, reading and commenting on posts, I posted when I needed to and I took so much comfort that I am not odd, I am not alone and there are thousands of people out there that understand and are trying to do the same thing as me.

It hasn’t all been plain sailing, I didn’t expect to feel every emotion in the way I now do, alcohol had allowed me to hide away from things that are quite raw in my life and I have had to face them without alcohol and that has been really tough at times. But I now know if I had drunk, it would not have made those situations any better it would have just masked the problem to another day.

What I have gained

Stephen after his challengeWow, the outcomes for me are huge, my anxiety is still here but is now exists in a controlled way that I can see it for what it is and it no longer rules my life. I am no longer on Cholesterol or blood pressure tablets. I have been on these for nearly 10 years. That feels amazing.

I have tried to lose weight my whole adult life, on 8th January 2020 I weighed 15st, I hit my target 1 week before Christmas of 11st 10lbs. And as I write this my weight is 11st 9lbs and has stabilised within the healthy weight range.

I no longer crave alcohol at all, I get an occasionally passing thought of thinking about alcohol in some sort of rose-tinted way and then I remind myself that it gave me nothing, yet it took everything away and those thoughts drift off.

I have started studying again and developing my business I am taking further professional exams that I would not have taken had I not stopped drinking, I now try to meditate, do mindfulness, and Yoga. My diet is now a 90% plant-based with no processed food at all.

How OYNB helped me

I have watched every single OYNB video that is emailed every day and I try and embrace what is being suggested. As I have stated above, the Facebook group and support they give is so important, that feeling that you are not alone is amazing and gave me the belief that I could do this just like some many others were.

The emails OYNB send with suggestions of things to change in my life now gave a new focus and an opportunity to be the best person I can be.

I do not think I will ever drink again; I do not see it being part of my life again, I have now got so much going for me without alcohol I cannot see why I would change from that. The only reason I am not saying I will never drink again is just in case I have, say, a glass of champagne at a wedding – I don’t want someone throwing it back in my face that I said I would never drink again.

100% I would recommend OYNB to a friend or anyone who wants to change their relationship with alcohol, I do think if your relationship isn’t great then moderation is not easy but whatever your agenda taking the One Year No Beer Challenge is one of the most liberating and gives you the best chance of success on that journey.


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