There are so many benefits and I smile to myself because new ones are still emerging every day.

I loved wine. No matter when I called her, she always answered. She thrived on being there for me. It’s just a shame we didn’t have the same level of mutual respect.

I wasn’t a massive drinker, usually a few glasses of wine mid-week, then perhaps a bottle or two over the weekend. Covid-19 sent us into lockdown, and whilst I fully appreciated the beautiful sunny weather that accompanied this, the sunshine also brought with it a trigger for me to drink those ice cold glasses of Chablis or those velvet tasting Reds! What would normally have been a 7pm glass of wine followed by a few more, became a, finish work at 4:30pm glass of wine followed by a few more.

And with that came a new routine. A new daily routine, that lasted for several weeks and began my downward spiral. I felt like I was on holiday and so having a few glasses of wine during happy hour became acceptable. But the reality of it was, it wasn’t.

Reaching a turning point

Some mornings I was waking up with a hazy head, tired, irritable, and slowly but surely turning into a person I really didn’t like. There was an expectation that wine was on the menu every night after work, no matter what. This was often at the expense of my family. Home cooked dinners would be replaced with takeaways, I could be short tempered with my kids and my dogs, getting up in the mornings could be hard work and evenings solely revolved around sitting in the garden with a glass of wine in my hand.

One morning after a heavy night on the red wine, I sat in my bed, with my head pounding, my mouth dry, my anxiety sky high, I realised something needed to change between me and wine. For a while, one of us had to go. And given that wine wasn’t going to look after two kids, two dogs and my partner, it seemed she was the one who had to leave.

Finding OYNB

I’d seen the OYNB ads popping up on my social media news feed so many times and kept ignoring them. But clearly, they were taunting me for a reason and as they saying goes “if nothing changes, nothing changes” so this time I clicked “Sign Up”.

When I signed up for the 90 day challenge, I was scared that I would fail, having tried dry January and sober October in the past and never managed to get passed a few days. At the beginning the cravings were high, I wasn’t sleeping very well, I had bad headaches and such vivid dreams and I felt terrible. My friends were still drinking and at the time I felt like I was really missing out. But I’d signed up to a challenge and I was committed to try my best.

I joined the private facebook group community page and I posted daily at first to help me keep myself accountable. The support I received was invaluable and still is today. You see there’s always someone who’s story you resonate with or they yours. And by providing each other with that constant level of support, this team of people who “get you” and understand “why” you are doing this, is one of they main reasons I was able to not only complete my 90 days but also upgrade to the 365 challenge.

My experience going alcohol-free

As the days went by, and I’d got a few weekends under my belt, things started to get easier and more importantly, life started to get so much better. I had more time. I felt fresh in a morning. I wanted to embark on doing new things. I realised that drinking and the aftereffects were no longer appealing to me.

This didn’t happen overnight, I’d say it was around day 100, when I really saw a shift, slowly but surely, the good stuff started to show up. And here I am … OYNB…

So over the last 12 months, I have;

  • Invested in me
  • Bought a house
  • Virtually walked from Lands End to John O’Groats
  • Completed the London Marathon
  • Marketed and launched the biggest product of my career.
  • Gone back to school, part time in the evenings, to complete another Degree
  • Lost 23lbs in weight, through an active fat loss programme
  • Joined the 5am get up and go club
  • Genuinely started enjoying exercising and challenging myself
  • Made some amazing lifelong friends through the community group

What? There’s more……

  • My mental health has improved dramatically.
  • My energy and drive have returned.
  • My focus at work and home is so much better.
  • My relationships are so much more nurtured.

There are so many benefits and I smile to myself because new ones are still emerging every day.

The daily emails and videos you receive as part of your challenge are vital. They give you something to focus on each day and they help to keep you accountable and track your days.

As for the community group, wow, the support from the guys and girls is truly amazing. When you talk to regular likeminded people, who just decided to take a break from drinking, and you do this on a daily basis, it really helps to strengthen your resolve and supports your reasons for why you signed up to doing something, that at first, seemed absolutely crazy.

What have I learned?

I have learned so much and am still learning, but the important things that really helped me throughout all of this are:

  • Immerse yourself in the Quit Lit – it’s vital to understand what’s going on in the early days.
  • Connect with the community tribe –they will support you through the good and the bad
  • Find “yourself” and new activities to replace the drinking sessions and feelings.
  • Get in some alcohol-free alternatives for when the cravings kick in. This is not cheating!
  • Don’t compare your journey to anyone else’s. This is your challenge, your time, enjoy it.

What's next?

Completing the 365 challenge isn’t the end. This is only the start of my journey. I honestly feel there is so much more to come. I really want to make sure that the rest of the life is the best of my life and at the moment I have no plans to return to drinking.

Do I skip around all day every day, jumping for joy? Of course not, I have my life struggles just like everyone else, but the tough times are easier to deal with AF, and the good times are far more enjoyable and memorable!

For anyone who is maybe googling “am I drinking too much?, does drinking a bottle of wine a night make me an alcoholic? Can beer affect my running performance? If I stop drinking will I lose weight? Whatever it may be, if you think you might want to take a break from alcohol, take the challenge!

You are the greatest project you will ever work on and this might be one of the best things you ever do.


Take the challenge


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