This way of life is limitless and I’m so excited about how much more I can achieve on this path personally and professionally.

I originally joined the OYNB in July 2019, after some heavy drinking episodes at Glastonbury and in Ibiza. I decided that I needed to break away from the cycle of binge drinking which had been my life since 16 years of age. I was drinking less frequently but more heavily and putting myself in dangerous situations, experiencing blackouts and displaying negative behaviour to those around me.

Mornings of regret, wondering what I’d said or done became the norm. Depression and anxiety in the days after became unbearable. In short, I was a real Jackel and Hyde and it was absolute self-sabotage with drinking and I needed to find a more positive path, or I was in danger of jeopardising everything of value in my life. I also wanted to be the best Husband and Dad I could be to my family (two sons who are 4 and 1).

Getting started

I managed 77 days in 2019 and was feeling great for it but fell off the wagon dramatically when an innocent and planned AF drink with two mates turned in to a session! I then struggled to find the discipline to get back in to the challenge.

Then after a particularly heavy amount of drinking on Christmas Eve/Day in 2020, I woke up on Boxing Day with the dreaded regret and ‘sick to the stomach’ feeling of not knowing what I’d said or done, vowing that I would aim to take the longest break from drinking that I ever have and I am now going strong at nearly 5 months and not regretting my decision. I am on the 12 month challenge but want to identify as AF for the long term.

My experience going alcohol-free

As I’ve taken a step back for a sustained period of time, I’ve realised how ubiquitous drinking is in every day life and that taking this path whilst tough and lonely sometimes, puts you in a very small minority of people who can be shining examples of how you can live an awesome life without alcohol.

In the first challenge I found it very difficult explaining to people why I wasn’t drinking and realised I was coming at it from a point of ‘depriving myself’ and that it was punishment for the fact I’d been too crazy over the years, and that everyone else didn’t have a problem and I was the weird one. This has now completely flipped and whilst I’m still trying to figure out what statements work best, my tone is much more positive and I genuinely feel I am not missing out on anything when deciding not to drink.

One of the disappointments on this journey is how much this decision can trigger other people, meaning your relationship with them changes. They distance themselves, they struggle to understand and probably talk negatively about you behind your back! However, it also highlights those friends who will support you whether you are drinking or not. Ultimately, you have to make the right decision for you, and not worry about other people – they are not walking in your footsteps or living your life! I’ve embraced AF beer and spirits and also love sparkling water with lime as a substitute (rock n roll! Lol).

Where do I start on the benefits?! They're literally endless.

Healthier, fitter, better looking skin, high energy levels, more clarity, handling stress better, more productive, more time to do other things…but the absolute best one is waking up fresh, no hangovers, no regret or shame, no apologising, remembering what I’ve done and said at all times, being a good example to my kids and people around me. I could go on and on and on… this way of life is limitless and I’m so excited about how much more I can achieve on this path personally and professionally.

The OYNB support

The daily emails and videos are fantastic, and serve to keep you on track particularly in the early days of the challenge when you are forming new habits. The facebook group is the real game changer with the ability to communicate and interact with thousands of people who are working through the same challenge with similar issues and problems. It’s also inspirational to see those that have gone multiple years with no alcohol and how much better their lives have become.

What's next?

I have now managed to take a different view on alcohol and see that it was taking more than giving. I rarely have any cravings and alcohol free drinks are such a good substitute. A new identity is emerging, the ‘real me’ that is fresh, energetic, hardworking, honest and reliable.

This challenge changed my life for the better and has given me a fresh start as I approach my 40th birthday. Choosing to stop drinking is one of the best decisions I have ever made and I aim to continue on this path for the long term.


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