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"Your Mess is your Message" with Andy Ramage

Apr 1 2021

This week I had the privilege of sitting down with Andy Ramage for a chat! Many people know that my own alcohol free journey began in 2019 when I came across testimonials for One Year No Beer and signed up for a 28 Day Alcohol-Free Challenge with them, which soon became 90 days and then life. I will forever be grateful for this.

Andy Ramage is one of the original co-founders of OYNB, which was the catalyst of change for not just myself but hundreds of thousands of people all over the world. Andy has since left OYNB & designed his own live coaching programs, such as the Arete Way which is perfect for people who are a bit further along in their AF journey & looking for answers to big questions such as: “what now.” It was honestly so cool to meet someone I’ve admired from afar for a couple years and hear his journey.

Thank you so much Andy for taking time to be on the show. If you want to learn more about his programs I highly recommend listening to the podcast episode and for an all around inspirational talk have a listen to his TED Talk, The Limitless Pill.

If you do listen please don’t forget to rate, share & subscribe so the podcast can reach more people it would benefit!

Full episode


Intro: Welcome to the “Sober Yoga Girl Podcast” with Alex McRobs, international yoga teacher and sober coach. I broke up with booze for good in 2019 and now I'm here to help others do the same. You're not alone and a sober life can be fun and fulfilling. Let me show you how.

Alex: All right. So, welcome back to another episode of Sober Yoga Girl. I am super excited for this episode, because I have Andy Ramage on, as a guest. And Andy Ramage is kind of huge in the sober world, in my opinion. He co-founded One Year, No Beer. And he's also a behavioral change coach performance expert, he's an author. And yeah, I'm just super excited to interview you as you were kind of like, part of the catalyst of change for my life, so.

Andy: Oh, no. It's an honor. What a beautiful intro, thank you. Absolute pleasure to be here. Anyone that's in the alcohol-free space is like, my hero. So, anything I can do is typical.

Alex: Oh, thanks. So, while we're kind of just kicking off, why don't you give me a bit of background on you like, kind of tell me about your life, where you're from, and kind of how you got into sort of the work that you do.

Andy: Yeah. So, I sort of stumbled into it more than anything. My first career was as a professional footballer. Left 16 to pursue that dream. And then, was injured, unfortunately. My early 20s, ended up traveling the world, Australia, all over East Asia, had the most beautiful time. Back in London, fell into oil broken which is the guys in the bright jacket screaming, shouting at one another, I loved it. It was the closest thing I'd ever found to professional sport. And that world, then unlocked and unleashed a whole boatload of entertainment which was fueled by alcohol. And don't get me wrong, I had a brilliant time, for many, many years, and then I didn't. And I sort of reached that place, fast forward 10 years, I guess, into that career where I was a bit like, Oh, sort of, I've technically made it by that conventional yardstick of material success, I guess. Yeah, I was five out of ten, and unhappy, and unfulfilled, and unmotivated. Piled on the way, I was three stone heavier than I am now. I was incredibly unfair, unhappy, unhealthy. And actually, it wasn't so much of an epiphany but I looked around at those people, technically more successful than me, by again, that same yardstick, and I just saw devastation. I saw broken bodies, broken minds, broken homes. I was like, This, what are we doing? This can't be right. So, more, you know, as much by fluke than judgment, I decided I wanted to break from it. I was like, actually this can't be right, why are we doing this? Why am I working so hard and putting my body and my mind and my relationships on the line for this thing that clearly is not making anyone that happy? And I resigned from that job, and I stepped out of that career,` and I thought actually, you know what, I'm not gonna leave that industry. I'm gonna come back to that industry and just do things differently, and do things from a place of wellness, and see, could I still cut it in an industry that prized alcohol and do it alcohol-free? I'll do it in a different way. And as luck would have it, it worked incredibly well. And that was really inspirational for me and a part of that journey led to me taking a break from alcohol, which then led to this wonderful experience around being alcohol-free, which I absolutely adore and I'm its biggest fan, because I think it's the greatest gift we can ever give ourselves. And that led to the creation of Juanino beer, which was only meant to be this little thing, we didn't know what it's gonna be. And now, it's this, you know, it's helped hundreds of thousands of people. So yeah, it was more of a, it was never pre-planned. It just sort of unfolded over time.

Alex: Yeah. And I think I can totally relate to that like, of course, you know, being a party girl for 12 years, it's like, you would never foresee that you would then have a career in helping people quit drinking, you know? So, it's kind of like, you don't you don't see where life is going until you're like, looking back at it.

Andy: No, and I think it's so true. Very often, our biggest mess is a message or our biggest hurdle in life becomes our greatest gift. And it certainly was for me, and just to set the scene around my relationship with alcohol, I describe myself as a middle lane drinker, and that was someone that would drink averagely, sometimes moderately, sometimes not at all, sometimes heavily, which is pretty much everyone on the planet I've just described. And that's really important to me because, you know, all of the messaging that I'm trying to get out there is, Why? For this sort of, you know, rock bottom type moment. Let's just take a break now, it's the greatest gift that you can give yourself in many ways, and unlock that alcohol-free advantage. So yeah, for me, I found it really difficult. Not because of a physical dependency or an addiction, because it was so socially ingrained in my character in, you know, my career, and in the way that I celebrated and commiserated and socialized, trying to switch that off is really bloody difficult. And in that struggle, which was a real struggle, and many full starts and slip ups and departures from the wagon, you know, at the other side of that, and having just such a wonderful transformation in everything in my life, I was just like, I've got to share that. And I think you can't predict that, you can never see that coming, it's something that happens to you. And in your, you know, your hardest moments, you just don't know that six months later, it's actually gonna be your greatest gift, and hence, what's beautiful seeing. What you're doing as well, it is a wonderful thing that we get to do.

Alex: Yeah. I love what you said, sometimes your biggest mess is your message. That's great. Can you kind of give me a bit of context then on like, how you started drinking and and sort of what aspects of the culture you were surrounded with kind of influenced your your drinking habits?

Andy: Yeah. I mean, you know, I'm a social guy, you know, I started like most people drinking in my teens, you know, in truth, and the reason I start started drinking was because it was this like, elixir. It was a way to talk to girls, you know, as a sort of, you know, bit of an awkward, socially shy teenager, I found this thing that I could, you know, drink this liquid, and then, as if by magic, I could go and talk to girls and like, all those inhibitions were gone, like, that's a really powerful association that I had as a, you know, as a 13 year old, in truth, you know? And that's the reality of my situation. I know it's a reality of many people's situation. And that one association, in my teens, at 13, basically fueled my drinking career for the next 20 years, which is completely ridiculous when you when you think about it. But it was that association of social ease, and of just letting those inhibitions, you know, relax, so I could talk to girls, but the truth is I learned how to do that years prior to that. And then, ended up being happily and beautifully married, that I didn't need that, but that association was still there. It was so strong that for me, it was just a case of, If I was being social, I was gonna have a drink. And what really happened, I guess, for me there as I moved into that world of I've broken, which prized, you know, entertaining and being social, and you had the magic card, you didn't have to pay for anything. Everything's free. So then, that just unleashed, you know, a whole world of socializing, and again, my association with socializing was to have a drink and have fun. So, it was never excessive to the point that there was, again, a dependency or rock bottom or any of that stuff., but it was way too much. And the truth is this, most people are drinking way too much. We just awe. I mean, even like more than three drinks in a row is binge drinking like, come on, most people are gonna look at that and go, that's a warm-up.

Alex: Yeah.

Andy: Well that's a quiet night. That's like, if you said to most people what's moderating, they'd say, Oh, three or four drinks. That's binge drinking. So, I think our eye has just adjusted to way beyond what is actually really acceptable, in terms of our health and our productivity and our motivation, and I was in that bracket. It was just a bit like, normal for me, and my colleagues, and my friends, and my mates to just behave in that way. It wasn't exceptional. That's a really important point and it doesn't have to end up in some crash and burn moment. It just chips away at your confidence. It just chips away at your mojo, your momentum, you know, all these things. So, for me to remove it, it was just a revelation.

Alex: Yeah. And what, throughout your life, like, what aspects, did it accelerate as you got older and like, what aspects of life would kind of have influenced that?

Andy: Yeah. I mean, I think it was a time. You know, I remember clearly, 10 years ago, I didn't have any time. And I genuinely didn't have any time. You know, if you said to me, Look. You can go back and study or write books and all that. I would have laughed out the room and said, What are you talking about? You're nuts. There is no time. You know, it always reminds me of a lovely quote from Seneca, the great philosopher, who I really admire. It's not that we don't have enough time, it's just that we waste so much of it. And alcohol was just the biggest robber of time on the planet, you know? We all, you know, all of us face that issue that we don't have enough time to do the things that we need to do, and I would challenge that all day long. Yeah, you do. You have way more time you ever realize, you just have to prioritize it. And the first thing you can do, if you want a lot of time back, is take a break from alcohol. So, for me, again, that was the transformation, because all of a sudden, I had the time to get fit and be consistent and, you know, in my own story, I left school at 16 to play football. I studied for a degree, a master's degree. All of it part time whilst in a full-time job. Got fit, got healthy, started the one, you know, be a movement, wrote two books. Not some sort of superhero because I unleashed those alcohol-free superpowers, which gave me one to two hours a day consistently in the morning, that is transformational. You can transform, not only your own life, you can change the world a little bit in two hours a day. Alcohol, when you remove it, gives you that time back. So, I think that was one of the big benefits. But also, consistency. Consistency is king in anything we want to do, whether we wanna optimize our body or optimize our career, we need to be consistent, right? It's just consistency over time. You can do anything, I really believe in that. Alcohol destroys consistency. And again, I'm not talking about, again, real, hardcore, problematic drinking. I'm talking about middle lane drinkers that might go out once or twice, maybe three times. Right, if you think about it, especially as you get older and topic, as you get older, the sort of that, you know, that fuzziness, that sort of hangover, that "Hangxiety", hangs around in truth for probably two to three days. Well, you're just not quite right. You're not a hundred percent. Do the maths. You only have to drink twice a week or three times a week. That means a hundred percent of the time you're underperforming. In life, in business, in everything that you do, due to this so-called "happy-go-lucky" fun past time. Like, what are we doing to ourselves? And that destroys consistency, as well. We've all been there where, suddenly, we don't wanna exercise because we're a bit tired and hungover. We rubbish food the night of or the night after because we're a bit hungover. We can't be bothered to meditate, or study, or do those things. Consistency is broken. But when you remove the alcohol, Boom! I knew I was gonna show up every day in a certain way, in my relationships, in the way I move my body, in my career, in starting a new business at that stage in the broken world, and that in itself was massive. There's only two things I've spoken about there, time and consistency changes the game.

Alex: Yeah. And, you know, I watched your Ted talk recently and you said in it, you talked about how your life had just become one long hangover, and that really made me laugh. And what you just said there reminded me of that, because it truly like, you're right. I remember, once I got over the hump of quitting alcohol and you're just like, almost experiencing the world differently, and you don't realize that like, every day you were kind of bogged down by just having this in you, in your system.

Andy: You always say it's like, kryptonite, to our dreams. It just is, and you can only ever see that when you come to the fun side of the island, as I like to describe it. Because it is the fun side of the island. When we get over there, we look back in and I go, I can't believe I was doing that. And I think that's sometimes, a bit of my frustration, it's like, I just wish more people could come over to the fun side of the island and have that experience for themselves. And in my Ted talk, which is The Limitless Pill, that's basically the thesis of the talk it's like, look, if you could just take this thing for 28 days or 60 days, you'll experience that for yourself. You'll get that time back. You'll get that consistency back. Your motivation will be higher. Your relationships will be better. Maybe your shred and optimize your body a bit more. You'll have more mojo, maybe you'll make more sounds. And all of a sudden, you've just got this rich, wonderful, first-hand visceral experience of all the advantages of being alcohol-free, because that's all I talk about. I just talk about the advantages all the time, because they are mahoosive when you tap into them. And I know if I can get like, help, inspire people to get to that place, my work is done. Because then, they don't need me to tell them anymore. They've had that firsthand experience, and I'm so confident in it that my dream later this year is to go and do a PhD, to build on the Masters, to put a lot of the science around many of those subjective experiences, such as having more time, or more motivation, or more productivity. To have a real like, you know, hardcore science behind it. So, when I'm saying this stuff out front, you know, I can back it up empirically rather than subjectively as it were.

Alex: Yeah. Oh, cool. I would be, I'm super interested in kind of hearing that and learning like, learning more about what you kind of learn in that PhD.

Andy: Yeah.

Alex: Okay. So, tell me about your process quitting alcohol. What was that like?

Andy: Messy, in a big way. I made every mistake, I guess, in the alcohol-free handbook, because it was really difficult to me and I know you'll identify with this, but it was a bit like, losing part of my character, you know, I wasn't, I'd become that person that was fun to be around and being around me meant we were gonna go and have a few drinks, and hang out, and have a laugh. So, the thoughts of taking that away is really scary, you know? It is scary. I was thinking is my wife gonna run off with the postman? Is, you know, my mate's gonna disown me, right? Because again, I built a life. I met my wife out socially. I met my best mates out socially. I was that person, that persona, so to turn that off is really scary. And also, I had the added pressure of a career, in many ways, that was built around the same thing of being a bit of a character, and the larger the life guy that took you out and entertained you, again, which means alcohol. So, I found it really difficult. I had my rubber arm twisted on many, many occasions. I'd promised myself I was only gonna drink water and I'd get to the bar and order a beer, you know, and I got despondent and disappointed I thought, you know, maybe I was, you know, different to everyone else, and I couldn't crack this thing. And then, I started to study. A lot. It was really key to me. I've always read a lot of books. I've always really been interested in studying psychology, and the brain, and the mind, and the more I dove deeper into the subject of how the brain works in practice, I realized that actually I was behaving perfectly normal for someone that had been socially and psychologically conditioned for the last 20 years to behave in a certain way. No, I think we underestimate the power of the environment, for example. So, every time I stepped into a social arena, because for me, by the way, it was very much around that social element. I know lots of people come at this from very different angles, it could be loneliness, could be boredom, it could be unhappiness in a marriage, or a depression. For me it was the social angle. But to step back into that, you know, a bar or a pub environment every single, you know, environmental clue was triggering me towards one ends which was to have a drink, so try and override that takes time, and it takes quite a lot of failures. And I think that's the really key part to all of this and a message that I always try and get out there, slip-ups, failures, departures from the wagon, they're part of the learning process. And they're a necessary part of the learning process for most people. They're not a reason to give up or throw the toys out the pram or, that's it, I'm broken. I've failed. And use it as an excuse to go and have a load of drink. Actually, it's a sign that you're on the right track. It's an opportunity to learn, and I think once my mindset started to shift a little bit and I started to realize that, that these were opportunities to learn, they weren't reasons to hit myself with a stick and tell myself how bad I was and what failure I was, then I started to gain that momentum. And that was really fundamental, I think. And then, it took me probably two or three years of bouncing around before I got to that stage where I did 28 days alcohol-free, and that was it. You know, seven years ago, I haven't looked back.

Alex: Wow. I think a lot of listeners can probably relate to that whole like, on and off the wagon, because I don't think anyone that I know has had him very clean like, Okay. I'm done. That's it. And then, they just quit alcohol. You know, everyone kind of goes through that little kind of journey to get there.

Andy: Yeah. I mean, I must have said never again about a thousand times. I mean, I bet everyone listening at some point, said, Right, that's it. I'm not drinking again. I've had enough. And then, it's amazing. It's not, sometimes it was a day later or, you know, two days later, were you like, Ah, I've sort of, well, normally, it was about, if that was on a sort of Monday, by Thursday I'd feel sort of normal again. I'd be like, Oh, feeling pretty good again. Oh, like, yeah, well, maybe I will pop out. I'll tell you, I might just have one. And then, boom, you're back, you know, where you started. So, it's a messy process and I think that's important to get across to people. There's some great research from a guy called James Prachaska, we created the stages of change model. And at first blush, when you look at that, it looks like it's this perfect circle, you know, you come in at one end, you're just contemplating that change and then slowly but surely, you work your way around the circle, and then, Tada, you've made a change. But if you look at the research behind the research, what you see is that it should be a corkscrew of change. You know, failure is very much built into any change, whether that's around smoking, or drinking, or career change. Things go wrong and I think the sooner we can embrace that, it removes that excuse of, I've failed, well, I might as well have 10 drinks. What the hell effect. And it gives us a bit of space to treat ourselves with compassion and realize, most everyone stumbles and slips at some point, and in that space is often just enough time to actually learn from that experience, and then we grow stronger, and then over time, we start to go on longer streaks, if that's what you wish, it certainly was for me, to the point that we're like, Well, I'm not gonna go back to that. Why am I gonna go back to hangovers, and tiredness? It can't be asking us and strained relationships. I'm loving this fun side of the island. Look, come on have a look. That's my approach now.

Alex: Yeah. It's awesome. So, tell me about the foundation or like, the creation of One Year, No Beer. How did that come about? So, that came about, really again, sort of more through frustration in the sense that around the time that I was thinking about taking a break, I couldn't actually find any role models. Couldn't find any role models that I identified with, I couldn't find any groups that I identified with. And again, I was coming at it from that place of, not dependency or addiction or any, you know, it was more just this problematic social habit that I'd created. So, the role models that were there were amazing but they were very much, I guess from that traditional model of having had a real big rock bottom, and they were clawing their life back. I didn't really resonate with that. It didn't exist. There were no groups that I could find that existed. So, I sort of thought, Why not let's just create our own? You know, maybe we can help inspire other people. So, it was a real, I think a tug, I always described, just describe it to something more, to just sort of wanting to give back. I had such a beautiful experience. I just wanted to share it. I didn't know how to share it. I teamed up with a guy called Rui Fairbains, and he knew about the Tinterweb and stuff, because I didn't have a clue. You know, I was just a footballer, broker in the city, but I love writing. So, I was writing all the time, so I said, I'll just write this little eBook, it was only about 10 000 word eBook. He created a website. We put it up on the website, thinking that probably, you know, brokery types might be interested. Six weeks later, 10 000 downloads. It got all over the world. China, Brazil. People were really resonating with the messaging that, was there to give up? There's nothing to give up, right? This is all about, the advantages. It's a celebration of all the wins that you get when you take a break from alcohol, and it doesn't have to be a big permanent thing it was like, just take a break, and if you feel amazing, you've just learned something really cool. Keep going. People resonated with that side of the story, so that triggered. Shall we start a group? Which became One Year, No Beer which then led to many wonderful things. And at first, the story behind it is that we gave it all away for free because we were, you know, city guys and, you know, we were in a position to do that. We did that for about two years. And it was everything. I had my spare time was 100% One Year, No Beer. Writing, podcasting, you know, everything that we could do, and then we got about two years in, and we were very close. We had a meeting that was meant to be about the next six months, and we both looked at each other and we were broken. We were just broken. Physically, mentally, financially, we'd put so much into this thing that we were like, I just don't think we can do it anymore, yet we've had literally years now, of people saying this has helped change my life. There's nothing more powerful than that, and I'm sure you've experienced it many times, but we were like, Look, we can't carry on. We were literally going to close it down. Only by fluke, I just created a course online that you could flick a switch into a paid format, and I said, Well, look, let's just flick that switch on anyway, and we closed it for two weeks, we just walked away, left it. Came back two weeks later, we'd sold five of these courses. Then, it was a bit of a penny drop moments like, Oh, maybe people would invest to learn the latest science and psychology from us with a community, that will then allow us to build some structure and bring some staff in, so we're not trying to do it all around our jobs, and also give us marketing leverage to meet, reach more and more people, and really, I guess we haven't looked back since then. And now, it's reached many hundreds of thousands of people, and continues to grow, and for the full clarity, I have stepped down from One Year No Beer now, I've left that to Rui to run, and I'm incredibly proud of everything we've done. I've got some new ideas and initiatives that I'm working on really to come at this from all sorts of different angles, because I think the more, the merrier. We should be out there celebrating every single alcohol-free hero, like yourself, and that's why I want you to come and be on my podcast, because I think everything you do is magical. Anyone that's out there, in this space, genuinely, and I don't care at what point or what stage from, again, addiction all the way up to prevention, genuinely, is a total hero in my eyes because this is a messaging that needs to be out there and everywhere. It's absolutely, you know, something that can transform, not individuals lives as well, but their families, and their networks. There's nothing more powerful than that in my opinion.

Alex: Yeah. No, I completely agree with you on the idea of like, there's just so many amazing people out there and I really like, bringing on different people like, even though it's like, you're another coach in alcohol-free world, but we're together, we want the same thing. And, you know, people that resonate with you might resonate with you and people might come to me and people might go to other coaches, and I think that there is no, what we're doing is collective, it's not competitive. That's how I see it.

Andy: I totally agree. And that's the way it should be and, you know, that's what's nice about this, now I've got a bit more freedom to do that. So, I'm really excited, that'll be a big part of what I do going forward is to try and champion as many alcohol-free heroes as I can, and maybe create new ones, which is really exciting as well.

Alex: Yeah, it's amazing. So, why don't you tell me more about like, the projects you're doing now.

Andy: So, right now where I predominantly focus is in the sort of what next space. What I've found, especially around alcohol but not just around alcohol, that people take a break, or they have an experience in their life. I call it the rise. Very often, something shakes you from that first half of life malaise. And unfortunately, very often, it's a fall of some type, it's a relationship with alcohol, it's a relationship breakup, or it's a bereavement, or redundancy. But in that space, like I said, that mess becoming the message, there's an opportunity to realize that maybe everything that you thought life was cracked up to be it's not quite what it was at first glance, and there's an opportunity to be ready to listen anew and learn new ideas. And I think that's why so many people in the alcohol-free space, for example, are so like, ready to listen to new learning and podcasts, and they're just excited about life again. So, really where I see at the moment, it's very much in the self-development space to try and catch all of those people that are really excited, but also a bit unsure as to what to do next. Maybe they're starting to ask some of those bigger questions, What is my meaning? What is my purpose? You know, What could I achieve? Now, I've got, you know, my mojo back and my consistency back. So, I run six-week online live courses effectively, it's called the Arete Way. So, it's a bit like, the Camino for your mind. It's a good way to describe it. It's all online but really it's just a space to learn about how your brain works, to learn about how habits work, how to set goals, to try and elicit some more meaning and purpose in your life with a cohort of people that come together, and that's where the power is. And you, I'm sure you've seen that. The power's always in the group, and I absolutely love doing it. I've been doing about six years in different guises, but now, this is something that I've run myself, it's called the Arate Way. I absolutely love it. And then, we have ongoing self development from there, and then in August, I'll probably come back into the alcohol-free space, which would be super cool.

Alex: Cool. What does "Arate" mean? Or why did you choose that as a title for it?

Andy: And that's a brilliant question. Because it's an Ancient Greek word that means, to fulfill your meaning. To unlock your full potential and achieve excellence. I just thought it was such a beautiful word that I think, incorporates so much of what we're trying to do, so much I think of what happens to us once we take a break from alcohol, for example. There's just a sense of something more. We feel this tug to something a bit bigger to our full potential, to our meaning, to our purpose. Maybe it's the first time in our life we get a glimpse of what we could really achieve. That is unbelievably powerful. And I found that word, the Ancient Greek word, and I just loved it. I thought, what a lovely word, that just symbolizes everything, you know, so quickly and so neatly. And it's also, because it's a word that lots of people might not really have heard before, it doesn't come with so many connotations or, you know, it's not stigmatized or generalizations that makes it confusing. It's this new, it's an ancient word, but it's a word that I think we can use to get straight to the point that really, what is this life about. It's about reaching your full potential. It's about finding meaning and purpose. It's about achieving excellence. So, that's why I love that word. Great question.

Alex: Yeah, that's a great choice for it. I know when I was looking around on your website and I saw this program, I thought immediately like, Oh my god, like, I've been sober for two years now, but I know the exact point where something like that would have benefited me, you know, like I was just over 30 days, and I was completely like, just lost because it, you know, I had been using alcohol to numb out the fact that I wasn't really content with like, where I was, with the career I was in, with what I was doing. And anyway, so I saw your program and I was like, Wow. That would have really benefited me. And like, I bet I know a lot of my clients in kind of my sober yoga world that would go for that as well, because you do kind of wake up to like, you know, is this all there is or is there more that I can do, and what am I here to do.

Andy: Yeah. And I would see it so often and that's where the course came from, especially when I was, you know, with One Year No Beer. So often, people would come to me exactly that somewhere between 30 and probably 90 days and beyond, and sort of say, I'm a bit lost. I don't actually know what to do. I've got my time back, I've got my energy back, I've got a bit of mojo going back, I've got the consistency, but I sort of don't know what to do with it all, you know? And there's almost a bit of an unsettled sort of low-grade anxiety that hangs around of, Oh, I wanna do something but I just don't know where to channel all this stuff. And also I think, that's why it's really important what you do as well. That there's so much information out there. You can get bamboozled in about five seconds flat. You know, everything that you ever want to know is on the Tinterweb, but it's like, you know, looking for the one source of information, and you just get hit with a sort of fire hose of information, it's overwhelming. So, I quite like, the idea that we've packaged it up in such a way that it's this nice sort of journey and adventure that we go on together, and it just filters out a lot of the really relevant information, so that everything, hopefully, is on point, and people have a lovely experience. And I love doing it, you know, that's all that I do now. I don't really do online courses, purely online, everything I wanna do is online live. I am fully immersed in it as the guide, because then, you get that connection again. The connection's so important. We haven't even spoke about that as much but, you know, I think you're now alcohol-free, gives you a real opportunity to make even more connection, whether that's online, you know, because it's really powerful, the connection that you can create online but also offline, you know, and I think building communities around these sort of subjects and these topics is incredibly, incredibly important because the truth is this as well, especially in the alcohol space and the self-development space. Very often, as soon as you step out of this world, your friends, your family, as much as you love them, they just don't get it. They don't understand it. You know, it's just not on their radar. It's not on their wavelength. So, to have a space or a group of people to get it, they're on that adventure with you. I think that's unbelievably powerful, where you can go to that group and celebrate your wins or equally, they're there to help you when you're struggling a bit, and equally, you're there to help them. I think that's a really important piece of the whole puzzle is community.

Alex: Yeah, absolutely. I think that's one of the hardest things is people, or I know, for me, I tried to do it alone for like, seven days before I ended up joining One Year No Beer, because I just, it is, you know, you're stepping out of this world where, you know, your family and friends are in one lane or doing things one way, and you're making it such a big change that it really helps to have people kind of around you supporting you.

Andy: Yeah, it does. But people that, you know, you can be inspired by as well and something that I think is really important, dialing it right back to the start, is that, you can easily fall in though to a trap of assuming that, I call it the Iceberg Effect, that those people that are on a year alcohol-free, or two years alcohol-free, or 90 days, have sort of had it easy and that you're a bit different, especially in those early stages. But when there's community, you start to realize, Oh, they found it really difficult at the start. They stumbled and slipped up and departed from the wagon. It wasn't this perfect moment of never again and then, Tada. You actually get to see it up close that there is a real struggle at the start, and then you get to celebrate in other people's wins. And I think being close to that, are you not being on your own, because when you're on your own, you start making assumptions all over the place. And again, if you're not doing it right that, you know, you're broke and everyone else is perfect. When you get in a community and you see it with your very own eyes, it's unbelievably inspirational, you know, and I think there's as much power in the community as there ever is in the the courses as it were.

Alex: Yeah, absolutely. Let's talk about your book as well, because I saw, let's do this, in a bookstore in Dubai, which I thought was like, the coolest thing that it's come all the way here. Tell me a bit about that.

Andy: Yes. So, that was really interesting. Again, that was sort of stepping outside of the alcohol space as it works. It's just a book on motivation. But being in the alcohol-free space just taught me tons about behavioral change and motivation. I had to study a lot around it and my Master's was in positive psychology and coaching psychology. So, the opportunity came along to write the book, I was asked to write the book and I just threw myself into it. I loved it, and it's been really rewarding on so many levels. Not only because it's really leveled up, I guess my skill set, because writing a book is unbelievably difficult by the way. If you wanna take on a big challenge, you know, write a book. But equally, it's just given me so much more insight into how motivation works and behavioral change, and ultimately, whether you're trying to change your relationship with alcohol, or change your relationship, or level up your career, or quit smoking, or optimize your health, or start moving your body. It's all the same stuff, really. It really is. Most of the techniques, most of the science, most of the research is all talking about the same underlying principles of motivation. And one of the big things I noticed around alcohol was that motivation changes. And I'm sure many people have experienced this. The motivation to start, all those lovely reasons why, which is an incredible, you know, really powerful exercise to get you going, you know, why is it that you wanna take a break from alcohol, keep you going only for so long in the real world. I think you need something more than that, and that's a point where a lot of people trip up in the sense that they feel like, their whys should be powerful enough to keep them going for a long time. And even though they're the most powerful, wise, you could think of such as if I, you know, don't sort this thing out, I might lose my family, or my relationship, or my health, or my life. People still slip up and that could be really confusing. But actually, if you look at motivation, it changes over time. So, the motivation to get started is different to the motivation to keep going, and what I mean by that is your wise will get you started, but the motivation to keep you going is, and I describe it in the book as like, marshmallows, focusing on these wins in the moment like, what is, let's just use alcohol as our example. What is being alcohol-free giving you? Not in the past, not in the future, right now, this second. Have you got more momentum? Is your mind a bit clearer? Is there no low grade "Hangxiety" hanging around? Is that dark cloud dissipated? Are your relationships better? Do you feel more energized? Are you healthier or you're more productive? If you start to shift your focus towards those elements, you'll be forever motivated. That's why a lot of what I do really is all about the positive, because I know the whys will get people started, then my job really is to try and shift that motivational focus to these wins in the moment. So, the book was sort of instrumental in provi