EP 73: Drinking in Full Control with Ruari Fairbairns

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Ruari Fairbairns is the co-founder of One Year No Beer and the author of The 28 Day Alcohol-Free Challenge. Ruari shares his story with Annie starting with how he got drunk for the first time at the age of 12, to having a career in his 20s that required taking clients out for drinking and entertainment, to an anger management class that gave him the idea to just take a 90 day break from alcohol. That 90 day break from alcohol changed Ruari’s life in so many amazing ways that he and his friend Andy Ramage decided to start One Year No Beer to help others find this amazing freedom as well.

Welcome Ruari Fairbairns

Today I have one of my favorite people, which is super exciting for me. I am here with Ruari from One Year No Beer. Where I want to start with you is your story. Why don’t you just back right up and into the good old days and tell me … or the bad old days however you want-

Ruari Fairbairns’ Story

The good old days. Let’s not go too deep into that, I might sensationalize alcohol, cause I had a fairly wild time. So a bit of background. I’m originally from the West coast of Scotland, a small island called the Isle of Mull, and like many places all over the world, you learned very early on that everybody celebrates, commiserates, and congratulates with alcohol. The first time I got drunk, I was 12 years old. I got so smashed that I convinced this girl from school to basically babysit me. I’d seen that whiskey got mixed with a dark color whenever parents were drinking.


I went rummaging around the parents’ alcohol cabinet, and I found whiskey and then port, and I thought fine I’ll mix these two together. So I mixed whiskey and port together into a coke bottle and cycled down to the village. There I got this poor girl to assist me, and I drank about three quarters of the bottle, which I think probably would have killed some people.

My Relationship With Alcohol

I’m certain I had a very normal relationship with alcohol pretty much all the way through my life. I was very much a social person and I think I care very deeply, or far too deeply about what other people think about me. Social situations and things like that I’d always be drinking and being the sort of party starter. I was the last one in and the last one out. First one in and last one out rather.

For Ruari Fairbairns Drinking Was All About Business

I had a very entrepreneurial life. I started my first business when I was 15 years old. By the time I was 25 I’d set up five companies, and all of which had failed. Eventually found myself down in London to be an oil broker, and I found two worlds really collided. My social life and business really came together, because as a broker, there’s one thing you need to be good at doing is taking people out and entertaining them.

First Comes Love

Through the broking, I met my wife in London, and we had our first child. Things started to wear a bit thin. I was coming home at 4 o’clock in the morning, we had a young child, first one born, and my wife Jen, she doesn’t suffer fools, so she was less than happy with this situation. And if I’m honest, I was really caught in a rock and a hard place.

Changing Course

I wanted to prove to my wife that alcohol was not a problem in our relationship. That really there was other reasons that we were fighting or struggling. I took this anger management program, and on this program it said that alcohol and coffee are the two biggest instigators of anger. I was like, “That’s really interesting. Okay well I just want to let people know here that I’m not a raging angry man, but I’ve found myself snapping at my children now and again, so I was like let’s understand more about this anger.”

Commercial Suicide

I dropped the alcohol for 90 days. Pretty much against everything. Like my boss had said to me if I stop drinking I would be committing commercial suicide. I actually felt like I don’t know if I can keep this up the whole time because I may lose all my customers. I don’t know if my friends will love me. Will my wife still love me? It was like wow, I was going into seriously unchartered territory. On that night and day challenge I was just blown away with how much started to change. I just felt better, and it went against all my wisdom. I just felt so much better.

Live Event

Ruari Fairbairns along with Andy Ramage are the founders of One Year No Beer. If you’re in the UK, you can join them for a live in person event on the 9th of June. It’s at the London Strand Palace Hotel. It’s an all day event and we’ve got the amazing Annie Grace speaking. Beamed in live, which I’m very, very excited to have. So yeah, come along and join us for the event.

Keep Listening

Continue to listen to the podcast to find out more about how Ruari Fairbairns came to stop drinking, how One Year No Beer was started and how to get full control of your drinking.

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