My relationship with alcohol has completely changed and I know there is no place for it in my new life, the life I love and cherish.
I’ve enjoyed a drink for as long as I can remember. As a teenager, in defiance of my parents, (who were tee total) socially with friends on nights out, and over the last 15 years or so, a glass of wine with dinner. Before I knew it, several glasses each evening and a couple more bottles at the weekend.
Deciding to make a change
I knew my drinking was causing me problems. There were several evenings that I couldn’t remember. Often, I would wake in the night anxious, heart pounding and promise myself – tomorrow I would quit. But it wasn’t that easy. I attempted dry months, forcing myself to abstain. Counting down the days until I could drink again. I tried moderation. I failed.
Alongside this, I had been gaining weight. I had always been slim and athletic. I enjoy dance and walking almost daily, I eat healthily, but my waistline was getting worse and worse. I was unhappy and sought help from a personal trainer, who confirmed my fears… could this extra weight be down to the alcohol?
He introduced me to OYNB, and I joined up. I opted for 90 days as I had completed 28 in the past many times and had just returned to drinking, often more than before – I knew I needed a longer challenge.
Starting my OYNB challenge
The first few weeks were the hardest. I followed the email advice to the letter, working through every challenge. I dove into the online community, seeking support through those early days and drew so much inspiration from those on 40 days… 60 days… 365 days!! If they could do it, so could I. I read the books and listened to the podcasts suggested my fellow members. I counted the days, each one a mini victory.
I set myself a 10K run challenge, something I would never have considered whilst drinking. As my AF number increased, the need to drink decreased. I bought almost every type of alcohol-free drink – beer, wine, cordial, sodas, teas, coffee and soon found favourites and no longer missed the wine. Around day 60 I found that I could say with confidence that I didn’t drink and believed it.
What’s changed? Literally everything.
My attitude to my self-care has been one of the biggest changes. My food intake, my fluids, my exercise, my sleep. Everything I need to be at my best for me and my family.
Sleep is now continuous and good. No more “3am anxiety attacks” and my resting heart rate has dropped from 61 to 52. My relationship with my children has improved considerably. (The realisation that I had been failing them when I was drinking hit me like a tonne of bricks!!) My waistline is back, and I’m am now happy with my weight and my shape. My self-confidence is up, and I truly believe I have superpowers I didn’t have before! And then silly things – my taste buds have changed – no more sugar in my tea!!
My alcohol-free benefits
I no longer have that conversation in my head… Shall I drink… how much should I drink. It’s gone. That dialog that possessed my mind for so long, is history! I’m enjoying life so much more now – simple things like cooking new meals are a joy and now a hobby. My relationship with alcohol has completely changed and now I know there is no place for it in my new life, the life I love and cherish.
OYNB constantly challenged me to look at myself and work out who I was, I had lost me to alcohol. OYNB made me find myself again. The support from the emails and the online group is so powerful. You always know you have someone to turn to who is going through the same journey or can offer some words of encouragement and there simply is no judgment. I have been amazed by the outpouring of support over the smallest things and I know that without that group, this would have been another failed attempt.
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.