EP 57: Naked Life Story: Andy Ramage

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Andy Ramage is the co-founder of One Year No Beer and the author of The 28 Day Alcohol-Free Challenge. Annie and Andy discuss how One Year No Beer started by Andy describing his own personal journey with alcohol. Andy found freedom his relationship with alcohol that ignited an unmistakable passion to help others do the same.

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My Story

I was early thirties, an oil broker in the city, had a thriving business at that stage. I read Anthony Robbin’s Awaken the Giant Within and just went, “Oh my god.” That’s just changed everything for me. I’ve just finally realized that I have total control over my thoughts, my emotions, my beliefs. I had no idea. I was being dragged around by society and the world and conventional wisdom, and it was a game changer.

Putting The Knowledge To Work

I applied it pretty quickly to my business, that started to really accelerate. Then I started to look at myself. Can I exercise, improve nutrition and all these things? While I’d love to say that I just turned into this fitness god overnight, I didn’t. I really struggled with all those elements. I struggled with my diet, I struggled with exercise routines. And I’m a former professional footballer. I was a professional footballer to the age of 24, so I know all about exercise and routines and discipline. I couldn’t get anything going. At this point, I was probably a 6 out of 10 in terms of my happiness. This made no sense. If I was led to believe that when you get to the city, you make a few quid, you meet a nice lady, you get a home, you have some kids and then you’re blissfully happy. And I done all that and here I was a 6 out of 10. I couldn’t compute it.

My Well-Being Adventure

So I went on a bit of a well-being adventure really. Just to try and find out where this 6 out of 10 was and could I get it to an 8 out of 10. As mentioned, I read the Anthony Robbin’s book and then finally, I reckon about two years later, I finally … And this is almost comical when you look back on it. I finally saw the wood for the trees and thought, “I wonder. Should I address this alcohol thing?” It was nuts. It was the last thing I ever thought of even considering because alcohol was me, part of my life. It’s how I entertain, it’s how I won business, did business. I was first and last out the bar. I was a fun time, four pint Andy. Now, that was the character, the persona that I built. So the thought of even questioning that was just nonsensical to me.

This Alcohol Thing

Eventually, I plugged up the courage and thought, “Oh. Maybe it is this alcohol thing.” Initially, I started to bounce around a little bit. I did two weeks here, three weeks there, a week, then five months, back to normal, a week, two weeks, and I actually found it really difficult. Then I made this big proclaim statement one day that I was going to do a challenge, just one year no beer. Because I just needed something to grasp to because it was actually really starting to piss me off that I couldn’t actually get a decent run of non-drinking going. Everyone laughed, rightly so. And they said, “You won’t even last a month.” And do you know what? They were right. I didn’t. I’d told loads of people at this stage I was going to do this big challenge. I think I got three weeks in and I slipped up and it was really embarrassing, a tail between legs moment.

Failing At One Year, No Beer

I must admit, I started to doubt myself at that stage. I started to think, “Hold on a minute. You just put yourself under pressure. You’ve been banging around for a couple of years at this. Maybe I’ve caught this disease. Maybe I’ve got these faulty genes. Or maybe I’ve just got no willpower. You know what? I don’t think I can do this. Maybe I should do what everyone else does. Hide in the crowd and just continue drinking.” And that’s a real big moment for me because when I think back, I think so many people get stuck right at that point there because they start to doubt themselves, they start to worry and they go and hide in the crowd. And that’s where problems come from because then the next time you see them is when there’s a full-blown problem and they need a different type of intervention.

Learning

But I wasn’t there, all right? That’s key in my story. I wasn’t at that point. What I did do, I started to study. I started to study NLP, I went back to university, studied a master’s degree in positive psychology. I was fascinated. Why couldn’t I crack this thing? It starting to really interest me. Then of course as part of that learning, I looked around for other role models and other organizations, and there was nothing. Zip, zero available to me, nothing. Apart from that one funnel, that stereotypical place that all well-meaning friends, family and GPs and doctors send you to if you even mention the words, “alcohol” and “problem” in the same sentence. They send you to one place, which is amazing by the way, the 12-step program or AA. All these places for that tiny segment of people that it’s amazing for and it’s just a life changer for but for everyone else, there was nothing. Zero, zit. No role models, no understanding, no learning, no communities. And for that reason, when I started going again and I got to three weeks and then I got to four weeks, and my life started to transform.

The Start of One Year, No Beer

I never forgot that moment. There was nothing available to me. And then I got to this 28 days, I remember it really clearly, and my eyes were bright, I felt energized again and I thought, “You know what? This is fantastic. This is how life’s meant to me.” My wife was in love with me. I was in love with the kids. The sun was shining. It was one of those epiphany-type moments. I thought, “I’m going to keep going.” And I remember it really clearly. I went back to work again and at the time, my boss at the time said to me, no uncertain terms, “If you continue on this little challenge of yours, your business will suffer, if not be over.” That is serious social pressure. I’ve got a family, kids, mortgages and all that sort of stuff and here’s the guy you admire in the business saying to you, “Your career will be over if you continue on your silly little alcohol-free adventure.” And this was me about four weeks in.

Nothing Is Going To Stop Me Now

Luckily, I just thought, “I’m on to something. I can feel it building. I’m just going to keep going.” Which I did. Four weeks became six weeks, became two months, became three months. Life transformation. First thing, I lost a lot of weight. 3 stones, that’s 42 pounds. Body fat plummeted from 35% down to below 10%. It was mentioned I’d gone back to study again. I changed my diet. I was energized. My relationships were better at home and in the boardroom then it’d ever been. Boardroom, that is office. In case, you get confused that with bedroom. I know I’ve said that before, I think I got confused. I started to smash all those myths around alcohol that had kept me pinned in for so long, that you needed to have fun, that you needed to be cool, you needed to do business. Absolute nonsense. No, you don’t. Not at all. And I proved it first hand and I felt great.

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Special music thank you to the Kevin MacLeod Funkorama (incompetech.com)
Licensed under Creative Commons: By Attribution 3.0 License
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