One evening in October 2017, my son (then 12 years old) brought me a beer. It was 8pm and I was sat at my computer, working.
He hadn’t seen me all evening and as he presented me with his offering, I had a moment of clarity. What kind of example was I setting?
That night I couldn’t sleep, but this was nothing new. The daily routine of soothing my noisy brain with a few tins of something strong often saw me awoken at 3am to a cacophony of anxieties and fears.
Going back 15 years ago
At first, I felt uneasy.
I kept it quiet, worried that I would be judged. As weeks rolled into months it became exciting… a cultural rebellion, an act of defiance in the face of social norms. Very soon it became liberating. I was free. Free from the physical, mental and social confines of alcohol and its consequences. No hangovers, no half-forgotten conversations or arguments, no unexplained aches and pains and fear. I could drive whenever I wanted, choose to party hard or sleep like a log, then get up early and seize the day.
And people didn’t really notice. The not-drinking that is.
I am now waiting for a kidney transplant, but am able to live (outwardly at least) a fairly normal life. Despite my medical predicament I am able to work full time, run marathons (confounding my doctors’ expectations), party like a maniac and enjoy life to its absolute fullest. I’ve also saved a small fortune and bought myself a caravan. Holidays used to be limited by finances. Now I can holiday whenever I want, the limiting factor is time.
For me, going AF was a life choice.
A logical next step, a well signposted but often ignored fork in the road. In this day and age of bold rebellion, I wear my AF badge with pride and a clarity of purpose. I am not evangelical but will extol its virtues to anyone who will listen. I am reaping the benefits of an alcohol-free life and would not be where I am today without OYNB and their quiet and unwavering support. Deciding to quit was hard, but once I had decided, OYNB made doing it easy. I have moved on and am a better person for it.
An entrepreneur and former senior oil broker, Ruari gave up drinking after excessive consumption almost cost him his marriage, and worse, his life. Going alcohol-free improved his relationships, career and energy levels, leading to him founding OYNB to provide a support network for others.