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Leadership & Alcohol with Ruari Fairbairns

Aug 27, 2022

This week I was excited to sit down and talk to the co-founder and CEO of the amazing organisation - One Year No Beer, Ruari Fairbairns. 

This organisation is very special to me. I have been alcohol free for the past 2 years, and OYNB was the challenge that set me on this amazing path. I have achieved things I never knew I would over these past two years, saved a ton of money and lost quite a bit of weight. Being alcohol free is something I am incredibly passionate about, and I have OYNB to thank, in part, for this! 

OYNB was launched in 2016 by Ruari and his friend - Andy. They wanted to challenge themselves to a year without alcohol, and quickly learnt that it was a complete game changer for them! They then came up with the concept for OYNB to encourage others to take on this challenge and connect with like-minded individuals who were doing the same thing.

Ruari shared his story in this episode, as well as the inspiration behind OYNB. He shares with us why and how taking a tactical break from alcohol for a while could be the best thing you do for yourself!

I cannot recommend this challenge enough. It has changed my life and my relationship with alcohol. 

My top take aways from this interview were:

  • It is about changing your perception. Giving up alcohol for a while will change your perception and your relationship with it.
  • When you approach this as a challenge, then it is easier to do.
  • The opposite of addiction is connection. And the root of addiction is trauma. Heal that trauma. That will allow for more connection.


Full Transcription


Ruari Fairbairns, James Laughlin 


James Laughlin 00:00 

Welcome to lead on purpose. I'm James Laughlin, former seven-time world champion musician, and now an executive coach to global leaders and high performers. In every episode, I bring you an inspiring leader or expert to help you lead your life and business on purpose. Thanks for taking the time to connect today and investing in yourself. Enjoy the show. 


James Laughlin 

Would you like to connect personally with some of my podcast guests? They are arguably some of the most influential leaders and high performers on the planet. Each month, members of my HPC, the High Performers Club, get to connect with a leadership titan in an intimate Q&A. They also get access to powerful high performance leadership coaching, and monthly masterminds. There are only 20 seats at the leadership table. You can apply today by going to www.jjlaughlin.com/HPC. 

James Laughlin 01:20 

How many leaders reach for the bottle when times get stressful? Look, I know I did a lot. I reached for a beer and wine and rum and Cokes. But you know what? High-performance leadership is not just about achieving above the standard norms. It's about making sure that we're sustaining our well-being and our relationships. So, a few years back, I saw this one-year, no beer challenge. And it sounded interesting. It was my partner, Caroline, who brought it up, she says look, I'm going to do that. That's going to be interesting. I delayed on that a little bit. And then eventually I slept on it woke up because you know, I want to try one year, no beer too. So, give it a go. And it's not about quitting alcohol for life. It's about reshaping your relationship with alcohol. And I find that interesting. I like a challenge. It was set up as a challenge. And I know that you can do a 90-day challenge, or you can do a year, I decided to go the whole hog. Let's do the year. And it has been transformational. It has changed my life. It has changed my energy levels; it has definitely transformed my business. And today, I'm actually interviewing the founder and CEO of one year, no beer. So, I want you to sit back and enjoy. And if you enjoy alcohol like I did a lot, maybe after listening today, you might be interested in just reshaping your relationship with alcohol. I hope you enjoy the show. 


James Laughlin 03:03 

Ruari, a massive welcome to the Lead on Purpose Podcast. How are you doing? 


Ruari Fairbairns 03:09 

Thank you for having me on James, I am very well. I'm very well and you? 


James Laughlin 03:12 

I'm great. I'm actually all the better for you. And I usually I would say I'm all the better for seeing you. But I'm actually all the better for you being in my life. And this is the first time we've actually managed to connect. But one year no beer has a whole ethos of what you're about has transformed my life. So, I just want to say thank you. 


Ruari Fairbairns 03:30 

It makes this job of being on a podcast so much easier when somebody has been through it and understands it and has come out the other side. And you know, I mean all credit to you, right? We're just some tools. I've been described as a tool in my life. But it's interesting, isn't it? And I'm still describing myself as a tool. But no, we provide tools. And ultimately, it's up to you. But it is a life-transforming program. And yeah, I'm sure we're going to get into that. So well done. So where are you on your alcohol-free journey? Are you still alcohol-free? 


James Laughlin 04:03 

Fully alcohol-free. So, it's two years just over two years in April. So, two in a few years, and I have not looked back. It's been really transformational in a lot of ways. So just Yeah, I would never look back. It's been brilliant. 


Ruari Fairbairns 04:17 

What would you say were the key things that transformed you? 


James Laughlin 04:22 

So, energy, like a lot more energy getting up earlier in the mornings. More patient, that's a big one. Really a lot more patient. I've got a little boy, he's six now. So, he was four when I went alcohol-free. So, I'm a lot more patient with him. In terms of my business, my business has gone from strength to strength, with massive growth there. Retention, just being able to remember things when I'm reading and my skin has improved, my weight and I'll tell you what, I've got this little app, and it tells you how much you've saved. So, I've saved $27,000 


Ruari Fairbairns 05:00 

But, yeah, I mean, just to qualify that, it's not that you were because of course, the app is counting in all the other associated costs, right? Not just alcohol, or is that specifically the alcohol and the units that you were drinking? 


James Laughlin 05:12 

That was specific alcohol units for $27,000 over the last couple of years, and that was me being kind of conservative. Look, I'll be honest, that was me having a couple of drinks a day, maybe there are one or two days, I did last a couple of drinks. And I see that as totally normal. And there's probably somebody listening right now going, that's me. And it's normal. 


Ruari Fairbairns 05:28 

Yeah. And I mean, then when you go out, and you spend five times the amount on one drink, and you have 10 of them, and, you know, it's but this, you know, what you just said there, I think very specifically on you know, about being a parent about being a dad, this is what drives me so much it what wakes me up every single day, it is what makes me work till the small hours in the morning and be so unbelievably passionate about what I'm doing. Because I feel like I have this gift. And it's not me personally, it's this program, right? That if I can get somebody to take this magical pill, right, this magical pill that I'm wandering around, advertising everywhere, I'm almost guaranteed to change their life. And not just that, but probably they improve their family's life and improve the lives of people around them. And insight, what I just said, there is quite a lot of frustration, right? Because I'm like, I wish I could just get this out to the world, but also a huge amount of drive and purpose, from hearing stories, just like yours from people who've had such a huge transformation. And more importantly, like, I almost guarantee you had no idea that you would feel this way you just had no idea. You were like, quietly questioning just in the back of your mind, you know, should I stop drinking? Do I have a problem? Should I get and then take this challenge? And suddenly, bang, I'm sorry, we've got a builder in of all days, hopefully only going to be five or 10 minutes, but he is banging upstairs if you're picking that up. 


James Laughlin 07:04 

It's totally cool. Well, it's really interesting. And for the listeners listening right now, I'll describe my experience with alcohol. So grew up in Northern Ireland. And, you know, in my teenage years, mum and dad divorced. And I, of course, used that as an opportunity as a teenager to work to get some leverage and kind of get out and party a bit and dabbled in alcohol. And that then went into my 20s. I was using alcohol to socialize and seen as a very normal thing, and then the big glass of wine on a Tuesday night over dinner, and that would sometimes be two or three, and then maybe not on Wednesday, but then you're probably going to Thursday and head out with some friends on Friday and Saturday. And then maybe a Sunday session, you know, three or four pints on a Sunday over some nice live music, no big deal. And I turned 30 and I felt like crap. I looked like crap. I was overweight. I was foggy and didn't have a lot of spare change, that's for sure. And the vast majority of my social interactions revolved around Which pub do we go to? And living in New Zealand? A lot of people kind of are like, well, you're Irish, of course, you drink. And it was interesting that that was can I was labeled like that. And my partner was out for a run. And she was listening to a podcast and one year no beer came up. And this was during the first lockdown here in New Zealand. COVID lockdown. Yeah, yeah, she came back. She's like, James, did you hear of one year no beer? I was like, Yeah, I have, actually. And she says, I think I'm going to do it. Because, uh, you're having a laugh to it. No, I'm going to do it. I'm going to do one year of no alcohol. Have fun with that. And so, then I slept. Like, I'm not doing that, right? So, the next day, I said, Are you serious? One year, no beer, you're going to do that, like no alcohol for a year. She went, yep. I say why you don't have a problem. Like, she's Yeah. But, you know, I find that I use drinks to socialize and relax. And I think it'd be good to try and see how I operate without it and see if I do have a reliance on it. I think yeah, but you're not an alcoholic. And she's, well, what about you? Oh, look, my birthday is coming up real soon. My birthday is next month, and I've got this big event, bringing all these VIPs and I want to celebrate with some bubbles, and of course Christmas. And when we get out of this lockdown, I want to celebrate with some friends and some gin. And then I heard myself I was like, wow, I've got all these reasons and justifications to keep this relationship with alcohol alive. So, I said no, screw it. I'm doing one year of no beer too. Let's start as let's start tomorrow. So, as we've got some alcohol in the fridge, let's get a drink tonight. And we're starting tomorrow morning. And fair play. We did. We had a big night and a few too many drinks. And then the next day that was it. And we have not looked back once and we've helped each other but we both signed up for one, you know beer that next day. And we went through the program, and it was amazing. It was fun and it didn't feel like we were cutting off an arm. And it's been a journey and something I definitely don't regret, and you just want to say something incredibly easy program to follow. It's inspiring, actually, some of the things that you get the challenges on our own mindset, and it's phenomenal. 


Ruari Fairbairns 10:08 

Yeah. Excellent, great. I'm so pleased. I think that's what we impart identified is, you know, when we sort of looked around at what was out there, and it seemed that everything was sort of labeled in this stigma and this and this shame, and like, you had to get to rock bottom. And that certainly wasn't my story. I could have gone to rock bottom, right. You know, there's, there are these things that happened in my life. There's a, there's a video of me hanging out of a train traveling 120 miles an hour. Absolutely pissed out my head. And you know, I think a month before somebody's been decapitated, hanging their head out of a dream. You know, I fell off the top of a car traveling at 30 miles an hour, it turned right, and I didn't lose all four front teeth. And you know but hang on a minute. I'm just talking to everybody out there right now, you know, have you been to A&E or had any moment with alcohol? Of course, you have, right? Everybody has, and most of them are fun and funny. So, we're actually only I love this one. And that's chuff away from being the rock bottom ourselves, right? Have you nearly been caught somewhere you shouldn't have been by your partner after having or have you been your alcohol, like the gateway where you suddenly think alcohol will maybe I'm going to go and get some white powder, or whatever it is, it goes on to next? So, we are actually always skating that line of close to something like, and I think the big thing was, I didn't want to go in and say, well, I've got a problem. And actually, a counselor once said to me, you should go to an AA meeting, just to see what you know, if you carry on the way you are, where you'll end up. And at the time, I was drinking two, three times a week as an oil broker went into the AA meeting and I was like, that's just nothing like me, I'm not like that. And so, it kind of gave me permission to carry on because I wasn't at that stage. It was like reverse psychology. And I've heard lots of people say that before. So, we wanted something which was going to be much more positive and catch everybody. So, it's like, okay, this doesn't matter how much you're drinking, we're not here to judge you on how much you're drinking. What we're here to say is that you're going to get so many positive improvements in your life, productivity, upgrade, energy, you know, better father, clarity, lose weight, reduced blood pressure, I don't know, hundreds of 1000s of diseases that will be reduced or, or, you know, less inflammation in the body, all sorts of things like that, right? So, the impact, and the positives are enormous. Therefore, why don't just give it a shot as a challenge? And instead of seeing it as this, like deprivation, I'm trying to abstain from something I love and you know, I'm hiding away from society, see it as this really positive, fun challenge to do with your mates or your partner or your wife or whatever. Let's do the challenge together. Let's keep the affirmations positive. And you know that I think that's where we've been so successful was in not labeling people not being stigmatizing and trying to make it something cool and fun. And yeah, I guess really ride with the times with what's happening in the world, because the world is changing its relationship with alcohol. It's just happening very slowly. 


James Laughlin 13:18 

Yeah, well, I'm glad that you guys are at the forefront. And you do make it cool. You do make it engaging. And I have to say, I work with some really high-performing leaders. And I shared this with them when I was at the start of the journey. And they said you're never drinking again. I said, Oh, no, it's a one-year challenge. It's one year, and they're like, you're going to go the whole year? That's epic. It turned from you're never drinking again, to all you're challenging yourself for a year, they thought that was cool. 


Ruari Fairbairns 13:43 

There was this really deep, innate psychology in there because of our innate tribalism, right. So, I mean, that is, that is, you know, our very prehistoric brain is being triggered when you try to leave the tribe. And all we've known since we were in nappies, right? Watching friends, parents, aunts, uncles, celebrate, commiserate, congratulate with alcohol, we're like, hey, I tried drinks. And depending on what sort of avenue you took, you know, if you went into a sport like a rugby, or if you, if you went to university or the army, you learned that actually alcohol is and how fast you drink and how much you drink and how quickly you drink. It's also part of the tribe. And all of this stuff gets ingrained in your brain about your identity. And then when you go to say to people, hey, I'm going to stop drinking. They're like you're leaving the tribe, you're leaving us? Why are you leaving? So, there's this huge reluctance and they want to try and pull you back. Come on, just have one why not that people talk about this so much like alcohol is the only drug that people berate you for not taking like imagine if it was heroin, you know, I'm going to take a year off heroin. Brilliant, well done. I mean, fantastic. Not what's wrong with you? Why would you know? It's just It's just crazy. So, I think a big so much of our, our drinking is in this psychological construct of what alcohol means to us on a sort of innate level. And Professor BJ Fogg at Stanford University talks about this a lot about how bad habits are created over time. And so, a good habit is, he's all about the tiny habits and shrinking them down and making them simple. But a bad habit grows over time, like a weed. So, imagine it going into your reward system and your belief system about who you are and your identity, and how you relax. And slowly but surely, over time, you know, when you're in your teens, and frustrating, it's about fitting in, right? When you're later it's about getting laid and having fun and socializing. And then later, it's about de-stressing and unwinding. And then even later, it's about how I deal with the kids. I mean, how can I survive that mummy wine time, or, you know, and as we go on, and on and on and on, it's infecting more areas of the brain, where if any of you are gardeners out there, you'll know very well that if you just go pull a weed it nine times out of 10 or grow back worse. And that's exactly the same as a bad habit. And so, the way we change this is not by just going over and ripping it out, what we've got to do is we've got to create good habits, we've got to start working on the various different areas of your brain that is infected and gently weeded out. And so, in the background of what one year, no beer does, we're steeped in neuroscience, positive psychology, we're using all of these techniques. While you are thinking, oh, you know what, I'm just going to take a break from alcohol, I'm going to go and join a challenge to do that. Each day, we're going to give you a daily habit, we're going to help you start thinking about things differently. And slowly, but surely, one step, one step, one step, one step, suddenly, you look back, and you're like, Good Lord, I've just climbed Everest, I'm actually, I'm where I never thought I would be. And that isn't a place where I don't think I want to go back to drinking again or right, I don't want to go back to drinking yet again. What's interesting is that 87% of our members say that or more, so 87% of the members get to the end of the 90-day challenge, and they don't choose to drink immediately. And that's absolutely huge, you know when you compare it to any of the other stats in AA, or, you know, people doing like a month of January. And this is because we're using that time when somebody is stopping drinking, to really get them to focus on themselves. Ultimately, there are reasons why we drink, right? And we've got to work on those things. And we've got to try and understand them. Instead of numbing them and packing them down with booze. We're going to listen to them and make some changes. And that's just what our program does, helps you iterate and make small changes. 


James Laughlin 17:51 

I have to, you know, again, I should say for the listeners listening right now, this is not a paid partnership, there's no collaboration. This is simply because I'm someone who's gone through this, and I'm getting the joy of connecting with one year, no beer right now. And I did send a message through to you guys who may be interested in it. But I have to say, from my own experience, got to the one-year mark, and it's kind of slowly got there. I got to the one-year mark Caroline, and I said, Let's go out for the most amazing dinner tonight. And let's just sit down and celebrate. And you know what? Let's get a bottle of champagne. If we feel like that's what we should do. So, we got all dressed up, headed to this beautiful restaurant, sat down, we ordered our meal. I said you know, what would you like to drink? We both looked at each other. And the body language said at all. I said Heineken zero. And Caroline was like, yep, same here, zeros. And we talked about that. We're like, why do we not want to do that? And I guess it had been such a slow gradual transformation. And we just felt like, it would be weird to drink. Like, it just didn't feel like psychologically, there was no desire. Emotionally, there was no desire. And still to this day, people say, well, you never drink again. I say I don't know. I still say I don't know. Right now, I have no desire, but I don't know. And there's nothing in the back of my mind. That's like, go get that bottle of whatever, there's no drive. I don't even think about it. But I always say I don't know. Who knows? And it's I think that's the difference between say an AA where it's like it has to be no versus this where it's an absolute choice. 


Ruari Fairbairns 19:28 

Totally. Interesting as well. And you know, what, what people are looking for and what they think they want. Let's just touch on that for a minute because the reality is for many people, might be listening to you and saying for goodness's sake I definitely don't want that I don't want to not drink again. I just can't I cannot imagine that like the I know my friends and they would disown me, right? And this takes me a little bit back to my story right I'm I played a bit of rugby when I was young. Unger certainly learned a bit of boozing very party boy entrepreneur from a young age. And, but I worked hard. And I, you know, definitely used alcohol and other things to escape at the weekends. And I was always the first last out guy, I was always the one who had to act up strong, ADHD, super hyperactive. If there was somebody doing something crazy, it was always me. And, you know, the last man standing every time, and then I managed to get a job in London as an oil broker. And this is where literally two worlds collided, I got paid to be the idiot, right? I could go get smashed three times a week, lunches, dinners. And that was part of my job. And it made me better at my job. And it made me earn more money was getting people out and getting them into clubs and building those relationships with bouncers. So, I could get people groups of guys in at any time in the night, you know, all of that stuff. 


Ruari Fairbairns 20:58 

And so, you know, it was totally and utterly ingrained in my identity. And then more importantly than that, you know, over the time, where I was starting to think, you know, I think alcohol is actually causing me more trouble than I realize. And I'd forgotten so much about myself, I'd got paid too much party too much. And built up a great life met a wife had kids, you know, now, but still this party thing. And there were lots of, there were lots of sort of teething issues I felt and the teething issues where you know, my wife was unhappy, right. But that was just normal in the broken world. I mean, you know, when I got married, the guys were like, great, well done, get the first one in early, you know, and there are people there on three marriages and stuff like that. It was a pretty crazy environment. And yet, in my heart, that's not who I was. But I was behaving that way. You know, and so alcohol enabled me to behave that way. And yet there was this niggling in the back like this, aren't you Ru, you know, this is not you, your, you're Ru. And so slowly, I started to listen to that. And I was like, okay, you know, I'm going to, I'm going to take a break from alcohol. And initially, my boss told me, I was committing commercial suicide. Now you talk about peer pressure. Up until shortly before that moment, my number one goal was to be the number one oil broker in the world. And I was at the world's largest oil brokerage, I built up a desk from nothing to market leader in three years, we absolutely destroyed our competition. And yet here, I was committed to contemplating committing commercial suicide. So, there was enormous pressure on me. And it took me quite a long time to make the decision. So, when I did, I sort of fell into it, right? I was like, okay, I'm going to take 90 days off. I actually stopped coffee and alcohol at the same time. I know, crazy. But we can come back onto that. Why? that's another time. But yeah, and then I wanted to carry on and I eventually carried on for a year and, you know, grew my business. So, it didn't actually commit commercial suicide, it was the opposite. I grew my business, I improved how I did entertain. Instead of taking people out and doing long lunches, I started doing cycling trips, or I organized a relay race at the Olympic Stadium. And after the London Olympics, and you know, that was like three, four months of camaraderie rather than three hours of camaraderie drunk, right. And so, because of that, I built closer relationships with people that were more genuine. And it was a very relationship-driven business. So, this is the thing. And this is a very long-winded way of saying that I know many people will be listening and saying, yes, I don't want that. And I think the truth is, I don't think you know what you want, right? I think that you're so under the mystique and the I can't think of the word right now. You helped me out. But you know, the lies that the bullshit of alcohol that is sold to us that you think it's totally pertinent to your life, and I can absolutely guarantee you, I will promise you with everything I have in the world, that if I can pluck you out of today, which is today, I'm regularly drinking alcohol, and let's just quantify that, right? So, if you're drinking more than three glasses of wine a week, right, okay, everyone's nodding. That's pretty much everyone. If you're drinking more than that, I would like to pluck you out of today and drop you to your 90 days self right now. And I absolutely guarantee you you'll be blown away by how you feel. You'll be like, I can't believe I feel better. I feel younger, a slight caveat. You might sit here and say, oh, really, I've been pregnant before and I've stopped drinking, or I've done a bit of stint of not drinking. There's a very big difference between not drinking and a one-year, no beer program. Very, very difficult. Not drinking is abstaining from something you love, right. I'm going to do a month I'm going to white knuckle it; I'm going to cancel all my social circle. I'm never going to see my friends. I'm going to go into Twitter and talk about how bored, I am life's crap, this is shit, I'm going to hide away. And then I'm going to count down the milliseconds to the first of the next month so I can get absolutely ass holed again. Well, what is that done, right? If 99.9% of your drinking is psychological, all you're doing is reaffirming to yourself that alcohol is pertinent to a good life. What's the point in that? What you need to do is change your perception of alcohol, change how you really think it's giving you these benefits in your life? Oh, it's helping me relax. No, it's not. It's actually ruining your REM and your deep sleep, oh, it's helping me unwind. It's helping me sleep better. No, it's not, you know, etc., etc., etc. So, one of the things and, again, just circling fall back onto that is, ultimately, many people will listen to this and think, well, I don't want to not drink I can't imagine my life not drinking. And that's where I have to just reiterate one year, no beer is not about drinking, right? We're here to help you change your relationship with alcohol, we're going to, we have to accept please accept that you are in a toxic relationship with alcohol, an abusive relationship it is doing you way more damage than you realize. And like a toxic relationship, you cannot see the truth when you're in it. Everyone around you is saying, look, this is causing you trouble, like you're drinking a bit too much or something like that, well, maybe they're not, maybe they are. But ultimately you can't see the truth. And when you separate from it, you will see the truth yourself, you'll see the truth. And then you say hang on a minute, I just don't want to let that back the same way. Now, the real thing is here, the magic for people for you, for most people is that ultimately, no alcohol in your life is the best, it is the best because alcohol is 100% Poison. Okay, that's dead simple. However, it's the most readily available drug on the planet. And many, many occasions, it's struggling, and some people would prefer to be able to find a better relationship with it. And this is where we are really focused, we're focused on helping people Yes, 100% if you get to the end of your challenge, and it's never again, brilliant, we'll support you all the way through that. But if you want to get to the end of your challenge, and drink less, we'll support you all the way through that. And that part of controlling your drinking actually led us to launch a new program recently called to control your drinking. And we saw that literally 1000s and 1000s of people, a high proportion of people don't sign up to one year, no beer, because what they're searching for control, even though the fastest way to get control is actually absence or a break from alcohol as we just described, except the hard thing is for many people, they're just like, Well, I'm just not going to, I can't do that. And I'm not going to do that. And so, we had to develop some programs. And this is what we have now done, we're extremely proud of having launched them that will help people to control their relationship with alcohol. And ultimately, the big piece that we're saying to people here is in there is that going from drinking heavily, or binge drinking, or being out of control of alcohol and trying to control alcohol is very tough. It's very tough. There are all sorts of depending on who you are, right? There are all sorts of, as we mentioned before areas of your brain there's, there are past traumas, there's stress, your environment, your lack of meaning and purpose, your daily habits and routines, all of these things are impacting your relationship with alcohol. And for you to just suddenly go from being a heavy binge drinker, or binge drinker, or even a daily drinker, to being in complete control where you can take it or leave it, that journey is tough, it's actually much easier to separate from it entirely to get control. But that's not what people want. What people want is to try and control so anyway, we launched controlyourdrinking.com, And yeah, extremely proud of that. 


James Laughlin 29:05 

I'm so glad you've done that. And I think it's nice for people to know that there is a stepping stone if they want to go that far. And the one thing about the way you set it up I felt like I was getting an incredibly in-depth personal growth coaching program for a year, like the quality of the content that you sent out an email, it was amazing. It was timely when I got to the end of it and still you know a couple of years in, I didn't feel like I had to go out and convert people, I didn't feel like you know guys really you know either alcohol-free or you're a loser like life is yeah, there's none of that rhetoric and I love that like I never telling people they got to do so you think it's amazing the way I've experienced the program anyways. You don't feel like you have to pressure people to join you on it you talk proudly but when asked but you're not shouting it from the rooftops. 


Ruari Fairbairns 29:52 

Yeah, I think the big thing is, again, you can shout it from the rooftops but shelter it about Hey, look, there are so many advantages and benefits of taking a break from alcohol. Why don't you just give it a shot? Oh, but I don't drink that much, well, then it's even easier for you to give it a shot, right? Do you know? And what if, you know what if I had one of the top one very successful entrepreneurs in the UK, come into our program. And he was 90 days into it. We had him on the podcast. And he built multiple businesses. And he was saying Ruari, I have just realized I've spent the last eight years operating on 80%. I don't know what that's cost me, but it's millions. And so, you know, you talk about that product productivity upgrade, you know, okay, I mean, he said, he wasn't even drinking that much. He was like, I mean, a couple of beers, maybe three, four nights during the week, and yet he suddenly had this light go on. Of course, it is not just drinking, as we've said, as you said, there's an awful lot of strong science-backed, you know, positive psychology and neuroscience in this program. And so do these small things like, you know, whether it's meditating, or journaling, or having a good morning routine, or all of these things, they have an exponential impact on people's lives. 


James Laughlin 31:17 

Without a doubt, and it's so true. The way I looked at it was this. So, if I had a slightly foggy morning, once a week, so a bit of a hangover, once a week, you know, maybe I said five, six drinks on a Saturday night, Sunday was a bit foggy, but let's say it was Monday, but whenever, well, that's 52 days of the year, where I'm subpar. Where I'm a bit lazier, where I'm not productive, where I'm a little bit more maybe irritable. That's almost two months of like, lacking productivity, two months of lacking meaning, two months of not working on the things that I love working on, and two months of not being really present with the people I love. And when I started to think of it like that, that was just one kind of foggy morning, imagine if there were two hangovers a week, all of a sudden, you're looking at three months of time across a year. And at that point, I was like, okay, this, this doesn't add up, I can't be doing this anymore. I have too much I want to do in my life. And one year, no beer, give me the structure, it was the strategy that I needed. And I tried it a month, and I've done a month before and then two months before, but I think getting past the 90 days, that was like a habit installed. 


Ruari Fairbairns 32:20 

Yeah, the sweet spot is usually 40 to 60 days for people, which is why I get really frustrated blowing through the month. And it's like, oh, you're so close, you're so close to finding a bit of an epiphany. And again, you know, so for me, personally, I choose to have a drink now and again. And, you know, so there are occasions, right now, I haven't had a drink for two and a half-ish months, in fact, three months, when this podcast will be over three months when this comes out. And that's because you know, we're going through a growth phase right now we've got an awful lot on, I can't add that into the mix. Like when you've taken a break for an extended break from it, it doesn't have the same impact on you anymore, you really see it for how it is. So again, in the back to that abusive toxic relationship, you really don't see it, and then you come out of it. And now you see it clearly. So, I know if I have a drink that it's not that the hangover, right might be a day or two. But the real hangover like feeling low, feeling anxious, self-loathing, any of those things sleep knocked out, you know, that there's at least a week, if not longer. And then so but then if you're and we sort of see this quite a lot is, you know, if you're drinking each week, or anything like that, the impact on people is so huge. Ultimately, I don't think people realize how suppressed they are. If they're regularly drinking, and you remove that piece, they just bounce up to a much higher version of themselves.  


James Laughlin 33:53 

Have you ever gotten any criticism or flak for having that drink every now and then has anybody ever?  


Ruari Fairbairns 33:59 

Oh, yeah. I mean, bear in mind, that there is a huge proportion of or, you know, there's a big system that has been very successful in helping well, not very, so it's done a lot of good in the world in helping people stop drinking, you know, AA. And there's a lot of models of AA that say, you know, it's you can't have ever drink ever and all of those things. And I think a lot of people have had very difficult relationships with alcohol. For them, they must say that there is no way to moderate a lot of people like moderation is impossible. It's been shown it's been proven moderation as possible. I'm really sorry, but I am here to prove that it's not true. And I'm going to prove that it's not true in my lifetime, that I believe that anybody can moderate alcohol. And there are books out there and all sorts of authors and people who will say that is not true and it's impossible. So, I know I've got a fight on my hands. Don't get me wrong. Somebody who wakes up in the morning and they pour whiskey on their cornflakes is going to Have a very, very significant challenge in order to be able to get to the place of being able to moderate alcohol, in fact, with their means, and things like that it could be impossible for them. But I know because of neuroplasticity and the way the brain works, and from our latest research that we're seeing out there, that we can change the brain, and we can change the way these things are working. And we can change how these reward systems are firing inside your brain. Yeah, you might have to change your job, move house, change your relationship, you might have to totally transform what you do. Let's look at my life. I was commuting via a tube to a windowless office in central London, as an oil broker, probably one of the most high-pressure jobs out there, right shouting, screaming, swearing all day, doing huge volumes of transactions, that if I got wrong, there were massive costs to the business. I used to talk about this job, like, every single conversation I'm having with the customer is like that incredibly emotional moment when you're lying to a loved one, but they've caught you out, but you're trying to stare them dead faced in the eye and convince them that you are the truth. And you're doing that every time on the phone or the moment, that emotional drain and exhaustion on that. No wonder I was looking to act out every evening and have a drink. But could I so going through all this journey learning everything I have help, you know, hundreds of 1000s of people? I mean, when you look at the wider impact of one, you know, beer and the number of people who email in saying I never signed up to your program, but listen to the podcast, or I changed my relationship with alcohol, it will be millions of people now over the last seven years that we've impacted. Ultimately, so I've, I mean, now totally transformed my life, right? You know, I have incredible meaning and purpose for what I do every day, I wake up every day, and they change people's lives. And that's one of my core things. You know, I wrote a letter to Richard Branson when I was 14 years old, I said, I'm going to change the world one day, and I'm looking forward to having lunch with you. That hasn't happened yet. But hopefully, it will. But you know, I was very, very, very driven to help people. And so, helping people, ticks all my boxes and how I operate in the environment I live in, I now live in New Yorker 300 meters from the beach. And, you know, so totally transformed my life and my environment, so that I can, and it's not just alcohol, right? Alcohol is one symptom, you know, one effect, right? Ultimately, there are all these causes. And it might not be alcohol for you. It could be porn, right? the uncomfortable conversation here. It could be Netflix or donuts, or, you know, I don't know how addiction shows itself. And, you know, people don't want to use the word addiction. But we are all addicted. We are all, you know, work addiction. And ultimately, I said this recently, 


Ruari Fairbairns 38:02 

the opposite of addiction is, connection, which is a fantastic phrase, but the root of addiction is trauma. And so, this is the work that we need to do so that we are not getting these effects in your life beer alcohol. So anyway, do I get rounding that? Do I get questions? Yes, because people struggle to understand that this is possible. I know it's entirely possible. I live by that without any problem, right? I can completely take or leave it with alcohol, I can go to any event, I've just been to a few weddings in the UK, and not touched a drop. I just don't want to I had to get up early in the morning. Plus, I was in really nice places. So, I did fun stuff in the morning. It's a completely take it or leave it attitude. And this is what I want to help people get to I want people to get to a completely take it or leave it attitude, where most of the time they're going to leave it right because life is busy life is precious, you know, you've got kids to show up for or you've got a business to show up for or you want to show up for yourself. And but if you do want to go in, let go or have a few or just have one, whatever it is, we want to put you fully in control to have to do that. Interestingly, the first part of the launching your control your drinking program was a program aimed at busy executives, leaders, and CEOs. We launched that two months ago. And we were just trying to see if there was a little bit of interest out there. And we were absolutely blown away. We give a very big guarantee that will give you the tools you need to control your drinking in eight weeks. And you know, for a lot of very busy professionals out there. They don't want to spend a year trying to work this out right or seven years in my case. They don't want to spend years trying to figure out what are the things that are going on for them that are going to lead them. I spoke to one of the people on our current cohort, you know is an on the board and major global organization, and they said, look, you know, I never had a problem with alcohol, I've never had any problem with alcohol, lockdown came along, I just started drinking a little bit too much in lockdown, nothing crazy, just a little bit more. And now I'm back out and socializing. And I've been to a couple of seminars, and I'm getting a bit fuzzy later in the evening, I can't remember what's going on. And at my level, I cannot afford to behave in that way. And also, I can't afford to spend the next year trying to figure out what's going on. And I don't want to not drink forever anymore. So, we kind of found a sweet spot where we're like, look, we're going to throw the absolute kitchen sink at you with this program, brought in some of the greatest specialists I've worked with for myself over the last seven years. Using all sorts of research, we found interesting stuffer and supplementation, we use a medical device-based device to study their heart rate and heart rate variability on a sort of minute-by-minute basis, we can see whether they're in sympathetic or parasympathetic, are they getting enough rest and recovery, all of this stuff is ultimately causing this negative relationship with alcohol. And I'm so proud, you know, we're halfway through this first cohort, and people are already having massive shifts in their life. So yeah, excited to get this program scaled up and out to the masses. 


James Laughlin 41:21 

Yeah, it's amazing. And so, if somebody is listening right now, and they're kind of tempted to kind of jump in, or even just go and check it out, where's the best place for them to check that out? 


Ruari Fairbairns 41:30 

controlyourdrinking.com is where the whole control programs lie. And then our programs that we've been doing for many years are all on oneyearnobeer.com. Yeah. And I think coming back onto this here is one thing is, I know that some of this message, the fact that you've listened to this podcast this way through is that some of this message has resonated in the back of your head. And it may have just set off to some memories of like, oh, that happened. And somebody said that to me, and or maybe this is causing me more trouble. And I want to say two things. First of all, really, really listen to that, because I absolutely guarantee you that if you're getting even a small bit of noise about that, it's much worse than you realize, and it's causing you way more damage than you realize, I absolutely promise. And you will figure that out yourself. When you come and decide to take a break from it, you'll see and there'll be like, you'll see what every single member of one year, no beer has said to me. Has said, I wish I did this sooner. And I never knew I never realized the truth of what impact alcohol was having on me. So don't wait. Don't wait any longer. Don't spend the next few months thinking about this. Don't like I'm in the AR, don't stagger around in the dark. Just come and take the challenge. And if you do get through the challenge, and you get to 90 days, and nothing has changed for you, then please, please get in touch with me because you'll be the first person in over 100,000 people in 138 countries to tell me so. 


James Laughlin 42:59 

Yeah, it's incredible the statistics of the impact that you've made, it's just it's phenomenal. And the one thing just, I know we're getting close to wrapping up. But the one thing I just want to say is that it's science-backed, and there's neuroscience, and you've done, you've done the research. And that's what I like. And I know there are a lot of other leaders out there that will be listening to show me a detail. So, I just know that you guys have done that. And when you jump into the 90 days, you'll actually you'll see it all unfold. And every day you're getting a training email directly to you each day, training you and inspiring and it was a lot of positive psychology in there. It was incredible. So, the other different tools that you bring together to get the focus away from I'm not drinking to Hey, these are other positive things that can be doing meditation journaling, as you mentioned, as well. So really powerful program. So, thanks for taking the time to put it together. 


Ruari Fairbairns 43:47 

Thank you. Yeah, no, it's, it's an amazing thing. I'm, you know, constantly frustrated because I'm a big, big vision guy. And I see how big the word opportunity is from the business perspective. But the truth is the pain and the sadness, and that's one element or you know, the incredible changes we can give to people's lives, right? This potential that we have is so huge. And I really feel like our product is a half of 1% on its way to where we want to go. And I can't wait for us to over the next few years. So, we will be raising our Series A soon. And you know, we're going much further down app side of things, looking at wearables and casinos sweat is one of the most accurate calculators of whether you've had alcohol in your blood or not and enabling people to track and monitor and you know, giving them that awareness, but also then matching that up with heart rate variability and stress levels and sleep so that they can very clearly see look at that I had two units yesterday, just two units and I didn't sleep well for two nights. That's the kind of thing that empowers people to change their relationship with alcohol. So yeah, really excited about the future. And we've got a big challenge on our hands. But I'm excited. 


James Laughlin 45:10 

It's an amazing one, anyway that I can support you guys on your mission just yet always reach out. And I know there'd be a lot of people during this neck of the woods here in Australia, New Zealand, that will want to get on board and check it out. The aura ring is a hugely popular device down here, the minute you've got yours on, there you go. I love it. It's amazing. And people do love tracking the stats on their sleep and their heart rates. So, if you guys can tie some software into that around what you're doing, it would be phenomenal. 


Ruari Fairbairns 45:37 

Harpreet is a lovely chap; I've met him a few times. So, he's the founder of aura. So yeah, tying into things like that. Yeah, it's an exciting future. 


James Laughlin 45:49 

It's powerful. Well Ruari, I've just got one last question for you. Before we wrap up, I wanted to fast forward, and let's say many, many decades in the future, and it happens to be your last day here on Earth. And one of your kids or grandkids, says Dad or granddad, how do I lead my life with purpose? What would you say to them? 


Ruari Fairbairns 46:11 

I guess, living your life on purpose. I well. Having been somebody who chased money, and chased, you know, trying to be wealthy and things like that. Living a life of meaning and purpose, and delivering and helping other people, I think is the best thing you can do for yourself and for others. And I guess the other part of that is not everybody has to get out there and change the world. And I think there are huge sacrifices that have to be made. If you choose to try and do that in the world. As you know, building a business is not easy. I think we can do it simply by just trying to get people to smile more or holding a door or picking somebody up or asking somebody how his day is. And just caring and being that kind of person. So, it's just in the very small ways of shining a light. Yes. 


James Laughlin 47:17 

That's beautiful. Thank you so much for sharing that. And I look forward to the day that possibly you and I are saying cheers on Necker Island and you're getting the hang of Branson. Are you going to go? Oh, definitely. It's on the cards. It's one of my bucket list items as well. I'd love to connect with Richard and his amazing team and Necker Island looks like the place to do it. 


Ruari Fairbairns 47:37 

One of his team, two or three of his team have done one year no beer, but they haven't yet. They haven't yet. Come out to him. So, we're going to work on that one. And interesting. I was invited to Necker Island, had been putting this out for years about, you know, meeting Richard Branson one time. And the friend of the US said, I'm going to Necker Island in June, do you want to come in the big thing was, the reason why I wrote that letter to Richard Branson is that I just tried to take my own life. My dad wanted me to find hope. And so, he asked me to write a letter to somebody that meant something to me. And so wrote the letter and talked about this many, many, many times. Got invited, and I was supposed to go to Necker Island in 2020, in June, and I couldn't believe how everything was falling into place. And, you know, the guy who ran the whole event out there was like, look, I'll sit you next to Richard. He's going to absolutely love your story. It's going to be amazing. And I was like, visualizing FaceTiming my dad sat next to Richard Branson. And then COVID hit. And of course, it all got canceled. And very sadly, my dad passed in July of that year. But yeah, I still know it'll happen. He's building a hotel around the corner from us here. So, whether I bumped into New Yorker or Necker Island, it's definitely going to happen one day. 


James Laughlin 49:07 

Thank you for sharing that story too, Ruari. It's incredible. It's very courageous of you to share and I really appreciate it. And I know your data will be proud when he sees you there sitting. He'll be there watching 


Ruari Fairbairns 49:18 

Completely he will absolutely be there with me. 


James Laughlin 49:21 

Amazing! Well, hey, I want to say all the best with your mission, keep up the great work as I say reach out anytime that I can support you with it. 


Ruari Fairbairns 49:28 

Well, you are! So, thank you very much for supporting us. 


James Laughlin 49:31 

You're welcome. 


James Laughlin 49:48 

Thanks for tuning in today and investing in your own personal leadership. Please hit that subscribe button. And I'd love it if you'd leave me a rating and review. I've got some amazing guests lined up for you in the coming weeks. And leaders. It's that time to get out there and lead your life on purpose.