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Members pay a monthly fee to be a part of the community which will enable them to connect with other members (both online and in the real world), access exclusive resources and attend exclusive events with notable guest speakers. The idea for the Over The Influence community came from the success of the Over The Influence podcast – currently in it’s third series and with nearly 50,000 listens – hosted by Sharon Hartley, Freddie Bennett & Ben Anderson.
The stress of the pandemic has unsurprisingly caused an upturn in people’s drinking with research from the University of Cambridge showing 1 in 3 people increased their alcohol consumption during lockdown. And those with children reported a greater increase, possibly reflecting the need for stress relief in the wake of the need for home schooling. Sharon, a mother of 3 herself says “I drank too much, too fast and too often but the prospect of living a life without alcohol was utterly terrifying. But then I decided to make a change. I gave up the booze and something quite incredible happened… I fell in love with alcohol free life”
Launching on 19th July, the new day the country is set to completely reopen, Over The Influence offers support for people wanting to continue or even start to live alcohol free while being barraged with news of pubs opening with no restrictions, huge parties being planned and festivals set to return – all activities intrinsically linked to alcohol. On launching the community, Freddie says “this isn’t just about having the stereotypical problem with alcohol, it’s also about people realising they can choose to feel more motivated, more energised, and stop doing something that has become part of holding them back from fulfilling their full potential”
The Over The Influence community takes an unfiltered, no-holds-barred approach to changing drinking habits with their motto of ‘zero preaching, 100% positivity’. Offering advice and practical support to help when faced with the inevitable questions of why you don’t drink, being labelled ‘the boring one’, or just how to choose to do other things on a Friday night after work when you’ve always headed straight to the pub. More and more people are choosing to live an alcohol free life and the low and no alcohol drinks market is seeing a huge boom with consumption expected to grow 31% by 2024, according to the IWSR. Ben summarised “there’s lots of support out there for people who want to do alcohol free challenges or stop drinking temporarily, but we want to build a space for people to connect with others who want to make this a sustainable way of life for the long term and be part of their journey of realising all the amazing benefits that can bring”
Sharon Hartley is a BBC broadcaster from Lancashire. Sharon is 47 years old, married with 3 children and used to be a bottle-of-wine-a-night daily drinker who loved to ramp it up at weekends. She has just celebrated 1000 days alcohol free!
Freddie Bennett is a former management consultant who has recently emigrated to New Zealand. Freddie has gone from being addicted, suicidal, unfit and unhealthy, to now over 2 years alcohol free. Since ditching the booze he’s run across the Sahara Desert, won ultramarathons, become a Guinness World Record holder, an Ironman and published his first book, ‘Starting at Zero’.
Ben Anderson runs the podcast production company Sound Rebel and is the former Managing Editor of three Capital FM radio stations in the North West. Ben spent his 20’s and early 30’s living the typical ‘lad lifestyle’ of pizza, beer and fast food on a hangover. After noticing his alcohol consumption creep up to unhealthy levels in the first lockdown, he decided to ditch the drink, and has since lost nearly 3 stone and seen his stress levels fall dramatically. Ben has just celebrated 1 year alcohol free.
The Over The Influence community launches on 19th July www.overtheinfluence.co.uk
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