“Quitting alcohol isn't just for alcoholics.”
Over the years, I have openly shared my personal journey with alcoholism and that of many guests. A lifeline for the desperate many that struggle in silence, I do this to underscore that there is always hope, no matter how far down you find yourself.
But what if you’re not an alcoholic? What if you, like millions of people, occasionally drink just a little too much? Even though it doesn't destroy your life, it leaves you feeling off. You're tired of the hangovers, the lethargy and the low grade depression it provokes. You'd prefer to stop. But because drinking is integral to your social or professional life, opting out seems impossible. What then?
This week's guest faced this very predicament, a relatable scenario for a vast number of people. The only difference? Andy Ramage decided to do something about it.
A former professional footballer (as they say in the UK), a career-ending injury prompted Andy to hang up the cleats and enter the world of finance. Channeling his work ethic, it didn't take long for him to become successful in the traditional sense, co-creating two multimillion-dollar city brokerages.
But doing well in banking ‘required' (or so he thought) drinking. Lots of drinking. Long Mad Men style booze-soaked client lunches. Countless happy hours, pub crawls, and cocktail soirées, followed by clubbing and the occasional after party. It's just what you gotta do to play the game.
Andy didn’t necessarily have a drinking ‘problem’. But the lifestyle left him drained. Listless. And looking for a change.
Bucking the unwritten rules of his professional environment, he decided to to take a break from alcohol and embarked instead on a quest for peak performance and well-being. It stuck. Not only did Andy feel markedly better, his work performance improved. His relationships became more meaningful. He fell back in love with the simple things that brought him joy as a young lad. Slowly, a new world of life opportunities began to emerge.
Transformed, Andy enthusiastically began sharing his experience, challenging friends and colleagues to quit the booze for 28, 90 or even 365-days. What he didn't know was that the friendly contest he concocted among peers would soon explode into a full-blown international movement he ultimately dubbed One Year No Beer.
Today, Andy and his friend Ruari Fairbairns have birthed OYNB into a world-leading behavioral change platform offering instruction and support for a variety of alcohol free challenges. Their companion book, The 28-Day Alcohol-Free Challenge* is a UK bestseller (now available in the U.S.*). To date, their endeavors have inspired over 50,000 people to boot the bottle and invest instead in well-being.
I first met Andy two years ago when he turned up for our Plantpower Ireland retreat. Fast friends from the outset, I've wanted to share his story ever since.
Alcoholism is a self-diagnosed disease. Left untreated, it will progress, ultimately leading you to one of three places: jail, institutions, or death. So if you are a true alcoholic, or a sober member of a certain unnamed 12-step program, Andy's message isn't necessarily aimed at you.
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