There’s no doubt about it, people are giving up alcohol more than ever. The last set of figures form the Office of National Statistics show that 20.4% of people now don’t drink. This proportion has been steadily increasing since 2005 with larger increases in younger age groups and only over 65s showing a decrease in teetotallers.
That said, going alcohol free can be easier said than done. Drinking is a big part of our society and there’s still a lot of social pressure to “have a drink” or “just one won’t do any harm” which can make quitting harder than it should be.
Introducing One Year No Beer
Luckily for those wanting to reduce their drinking and change their relationship with alcohol, there is help on offer for them.
One Year No Beer (OYNB) is an organisation that helps people adjust their relationship with alcohol. They’ve developed a range of courses that help people go alcohol free for 28 days to a year, which is complimented by a great podcast, popular blog and a strong online community of support.
Learning About OYNB
I wanted to find out more so spoke with Amy Collins from OYNB and asked her a few questions about the history and why OYNB can be for everyone.
Tell us a bit about OYNB – what and who’s it for?
One Year No Beer is a behavioural change and lifestyle organisation aiming to transform the world’s relationship with alcohol through alcohol-free challenges. We have helped tens of thousands of people across the world change how they view and use alcohol which has helped them to live their lives better. We feel it is important to give our members the opportunity to find out what life can be like when alcohol plays no part so they can make informed decisions about when they choose to drink, and when they choose not to. It is not about life-long abstinence, more so about being in the driver’s seat, not just drinking because society says that is how you spend your free time – reprioritising alcohol within your life so you can focus on your goals.
Ruari Fairbairns and Andy Ramage, OYNB Co-Founders
Can you give us a brief history of OYNB – including the why behind OYNB.
Ruari and Andy, the co-founders of OYNB were both oil brokers, living and working in London with the classic ‘work hard, play hard’ mentality. Drinking was expected as part of their jobs and would extend beyond working hours into their lifestyle. Without the other’s knowledge, the two both independently decided to take a break from drinking to focus on family life, physical challenges and other life aspirations. Within a matter of weeks, both Ruari and Andy were noticing incredible improvements in how they looked, felt and the relationships with those around them. During a casual catch up between the two, they shared their discoveries and decided that this was a revelation they wanted to share with the world. OYNB was born!
So how has OYNB grown since then?
Fast forward to today, and OYNB is a global business that has helped 70,000 people across 90 different countries. The online community is growing daily, where members who have completed challenges will continue to support new fledgling members to get through the trickier early days.
Why do you think so many people are choosing to give up alcohol?
There are many reasons why people consider taking a break from alcohol – from seeking improved sleep, to hoping to find a new lease of life to propel them towards achieving lifelong goals. Individuals begin to see past the veil that society places around alcohol and how you need it to have fun and to be fun. Want to run a marathon before you turn 40? Want to be present for your growing children? Want to save money to be able to afford your dream house? Removing alcohol from the equation can have many positive knock on effects on both health, quality of life and the relationships you hold close.
Many OYNB members choose to take up new challenges after quitting alcohol
Why should someone looking to quit alcohol sign-up with OYNB and what do you offer?
The MEND framework that the OYNB Alcohol-Free Challenge follows is based in science and has proven to change people’s relationship with alcohol in the long term.
The benefits members receive by signing up with OYNB include:
- Daily email support with expert advice and tools for overcoming triggers and challenges.
- A unique step by step programme following the MEND approach making it easy to check in daily to build new lasting habits.
- Access to our global online communities with other like-minded OYNB members.
- Regular Lives or Zooms from our expert coaches offering you the latest in behaviour change techniques.
- A place to be accountable for your challenge to ensure you stick to your mission.
Who is OYNB for?
Everyone and anyone who is considering their relationship with alcohol and is curious to find out what their life could be like without alcohol being a priority.
What are the benefits of going alcohol free?
Statistics from the OYNB member completion survey reveals that previous OYNB Challenge members experienced the following outcomes:
- 79% found they slept better
- 92% said they felt noticeably better
- 71% they were more productive
- 81% they had reduced anxiety
- 53% lost weight during their challenge
Some direct of these benefits are direct, such as improved sleep, energy, skin, health or saved money. Others are more indirect from the knock on impacts of re-prioritising, such as motivation to achieve new goals, increased exercise, improved relationships and more.
Giving up for a year may seem daunting for some. Is a year the only option?
Depending on what your relationship with alcohol was like before you took the challenge may determine the length of time it takes to form your new habits. For example, a light social drinker may find they can achieve a lasting change of lifestyle within 90 days. For others, who may have had a more intimate relationship with alcohol, breaking down old habits may take longer. However, this journey will be different for everyone, and how you choose to approach it is up to you.
Many members say the support offered in the OYNB community was a factor in their success
How does the community support OYNB members?
The online communities are closed groups on Facebook and Slack which are only visible for others on or having completed OYNB Challenges. This is where you and others in this global community can come together to share the highs and lows experienced throughout the challenge and offer words of advice, encouragement or discuss popular topics related to the alcohol-free journey.
Over the life span of OYNB, we have discovered how important the sense of community is when going alcohol-free. Knowing there are others in the world who are having the same thoughts and feelings with regards to alcohol can make all the difference when facing social pressures or other challenges along the way.
Some of the core components of having a community can be so effective in the process of behaviour change, such as the need to trust – sharing thoughts, experiences and difficulties with others, the need to fit in – to feel normal in our attitudes and behaviours, the need for self-worth – communities can empower people to feel good about themselves, the better you feel about yourself, the more willing you may be to look after yourself, and so on.
Here are some quotes from previous OYNB members talking about the online communities:
“I can honestly say that I owe my 365-day success story to the Challengers Facebook group at OYNB. We need community, and that one is one of the best I’ve ever had the joy to be a part of.”
“The tribe at OYNB is an amazing group of people and I never knew how many stories out there are so similar to mine. With the daily support of the tribe and the continuous support from the OYNB team, I am able to succeed and can now envision a life where I am in control, not alcohol.”
What’s the OYNB success rate?
95% of OYNB members report that they succeeded in transforming their relationship with alcohol after completing the OYNB Alcohol-Free Challenge.
What are the plans for the future of OYNB?
The sky is the limit – OYNB plans to continue to work hard to provide the support for those who wish to address their relationship with alcohol across the world and hope to expand into other areas in which individuals may need help to live life better.
Is OYNB for You?
When I tell people I run an online shop for alcohol free drinks, they frequently respond that in the past they’ve thought about reducing their drinking or even giving up. They’re often put off by thinking it’ll be too hard or they won’t get support from those around them.
Drinking is so ingrained into our culture, I can see why they have their doubts. With the MEND framework, it gives those thinking of changing their relationship with alcohol a method to make that change. Even better, OYNB gives a community to offer support and encouragement throughout the change.
If you’re interested in finding out more or even giving one of their challenges a go, check them out over at OneYearNoBeer.com.