going one year without drinking

The Life Lessons Learned from Going One Year Without Drinking

Alcohol has affected everyone in some way. We drink to reduce stress, to be more social in social settings, and to reward ourselves after a long, hard day at work. But what if drinking is actually bringing more stress into our lives? What if it’s causing us to miss business opportunities and is harming our relationships?

You’ll discover amazing insights into these questions in today’s podcast as I celebrate a whole year without drinking with three special guests who’ve all decided to live alcohol free. We discuss our experiences with alcohol, what kind of drinkers we used to be, what we didn’t see in our lives when we were drinking, and how our work lives, or social lives, and our family lives were dramatically improved when we took alcohol out of the equation.

Today’s Guests

Shane Ramer

Shane is the host of That Sober Guy podcast, where he discusses alcoholism, addiction, and recovery, and provides a platform for guests to speak their mind, tell their story and share their experience.

Ruari Fairbairns

Ruari grew up on the Isle of Mull in Scotland, and is a successful broker in London. After a few failed attempts, Ruari quit drinking and it fundamentally changed his life. Together with a colleague they decided to create something to change the peer pressure around giving up drinking, One Year No Beer.

Jason MacKenzie

Jason is an expert on peak human performance. He’s a father, speaker, author and coach, and the author of The Dadly Book of Open. He teaches audiences around the world how cultivating vulnerability will liberate the strength, wisdom and courage we already possess.

What was keeping us from quitting drinking?

Whether you’re a social drinker, a daily drinker, or a binge drinker, most of us are afraid to give up alcohol because of one or more of the following reasons.

  1. Fear of job issues – drinking is part of the corporate culture of many jobs.
  1. Fear of social awkwardness – how is it remotely possible to have fun without alcohol? Will we become a dull, boring person?
  1. Fear of losing friends – are we going to make other uncomfortable when we refuse to drink with them?
  1. Fear of anxiety – how do we cope with the stress of everyday life without the comfort of alcohol?

The Reality of Quitting Drinking

Shane, Ruari, Jason, and I debunked all these fears. Here is what we noticed when we gave up alcohol:

  1. Fear of job issues – productivity multiplies, business relationships improve, success is inevitable.
  1. Fear of social awkwardness – It was awkward at first, but we discovered that you don’t need alcohol to have a good time and you can connect with people on a deeper level when you’re not drunk.
  1. Fear of losing friends – Don’t make a big deal of not drinking. Other people will get used to it, and most don’t care as much as you think.
  1. Fear of anxiety – Alcohol increases anxiety. It can make you paranoid about how your drinking habits appear to others. It creates stress because you’re not being your best, authentic self.

Other Benefits of Giving Up Alcohol

  • Find out who you really are – Without alcohol to numb your feelings or weigh you down, you discover your authentic self and what you’re truly capable of.
  • Stop holding yourself back – Quitting drinking frees you from self-limiting and self-destructive beliefs and habits.
  • Exponential improvement in fitness results – Living a sober lifestyle reduces your caloric intake, makes life easier on your organs, and allows you to maximize workouts since you’re not hungover.
  • Increased confidence – Knowing you can deal with life without relying on alcohol is extremely empowering.
  • Feeling more relaxed – When you feel that you are more productive and capable, that your relationships are on the right track, and that you truly know yourself, stress and anxiousness is reduced.

Keys to Stop Relying on Alcohol

  • Connection – Johann Hari said in his TEDx talk that the opposite of addiction is connection. When we don’t have connection with others, we connect to alcohol or other substances instead.
  • Communication ­– Talking openly and honestly with those close to us keeps relationships healthy. Make yourself vulnerable so that you can be helped and help others.
  • Join a Tribe – Men thrive in packs. Don’t isolate yourself. Find a group of likeminded men that you can join for support.

How an Alcohol-Free Life Affects Each of Us as Fathers

Jason MacKenzie

Jason can make himself vulnerable and open about his experiences. He shares them with his children so they can make more informed choices.

Shane Ramer

Shane has found peace in the ability to give up control of everything and everybody. He is present with his family, listening and talking and being willing to put the work in.

Ruari Fairbairns

Ruari says don’t pay for counseling if your relationship is in trouble; just drop alcohol. When you’re drinking, you always point the finger at someone else and adopt a victim mindset. Now Ruari enjoys a rich life with his family and likes to be with his kids on their level, which he could never do when he was numbed by alcohol.

Larry Hagner

Your habits set an example for your kids. They do take notice about how you behave when you drink, and they will notice how much better it is to be with you when you are sober.


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 Guest Links

Ruari Fairbairns


Shane Ramer


Jason MacKenzie






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