'Party animal' who drank 100 pints a week says toxic culture 'destroys lives'

He drank up to 100 pints a week
He drank up to 100 pints a week -Credit:Collect/PA Real Life

A business man has shared how he gave up his party lifestyle after sinking up to 100 pints a week. Ryan Smith* would go on a lads' holiday to Ibiza every year and start drinking before he even got on the plane.

But now he is encouraging revellers to escape the toxic lifestyle ahead of the summer, saying: “You are risking your career, relationships and health.” The 31-year-old from Derby was once a “party animal”, binge drinking four days every week until last summer.

He changed his ways when he discovered an online fitness programme set up by British ex-soldier Sean Willers and he now touches alcohol only in moderation around once a month. Ryan, one of the three founders of doughnut-making company Project D, now maintains a healthy lifestyle, getting up at 6am to go running and exercising four times a week.

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Launched in 2018, Ryan’s company has around 60 staff and delivers more than 10,000 doughnuts a day nationwide, and setting aside the beers, rum and tequila has helped him “be a better boss”. His physical appearance has also changed dramatically since cutting down on the booze and he says he is now a lot more productive at work, as he no longer suffers from “moody Mondays” and “recovery Tuesdays”.

Man still enjoys the part island is Ibiza, but now goes to the clubs sober. He said: "You are risking your career, your relationships with people you care about and your overall fitness as well.

“It takes a toll on everyone. People think they’re immune to it, but they’re definitely not and it gets everyone eventually. Now instead of getting in at 6am, I’m leaving the hotel at 6am.

“It’s really difficult to stop drinking, especially here in the UK where everything seems to revolve around drinking. But if you can do it in Ibiza, then you can do it anywhere.”

Up until the summer of 2023, Ryan was a heavy drinker who would go on alcohol-fuelled party holidays with his friends every summer. Like many partygoers, Ibiza became one of Ryan’s favourite destinations, having been more than 10 times over the past seven years.

He added: "When I went to Ibiza in the past, we would have four or five pints at the airport before we even got on the plane. Then we’d continue drinking on the plane and buy duty free bottles of alcohol so that when we got to the hotel, we could start drinking again.

“Then we’d go out, maybe go to a club and stay there until 6am. Then come back and carry on in the hotel room or maybe head to the beach or go straight to the pool.

“We’d just carry on drinking, sometimes not going to bed for a couple of days.” Ryan said that over the course of one week, he put away more than 100 pints of beer and barely remembers his time on the Balearic island.

“You just get completely carried away,” he added. “Even on the flight home I would be drinking.”

Then in the summer of 2023 Ryan signed up to an online fitness programme by Sean Willers, a former British soldier, which claims to help people “transform their lifestyle”.

“As you get older you’ve really got to start thinking, you can’t keep on hammering it,” Ryan said. “He’s an online personal trainer and he works on your diet, your training plan and cutting down your alcohol.

“I honestly never thought I would be able to do it, but when I finished, I didn’t even want to have a drink.” Ryan has seen a number of changes since cutting down the booze, including to his physical appearance and level of productivity.

“It completely changed how I look and you’re so much more productive,” he said. "I wasn’t fat but I was skinny-fat, with a beer belly, and drinking was a big part of that. I look quite a lot different.”

Ryan would be drinking from Thursday through to Sunday non-stop before turning up to work hungover and needing several days to recover. “Who you are with” is one of the biggest factors when it comes to maintaining a healthy lifestyle, Ryan said.

“I’ve not fallen out with anybody or stopped seeing people, but I’ve just started being really selective about what I say yes to,” Ryan continued. “I don’t want to be a party pooper or anything like that, but until I feel confident that I can go to these things and not drink, probably best to give them a wide berth really.”

The change in lifestyle has not stopped Ryan from returning to Ibiza for this year’s opening party weekend, except this time he did not touch a drop of alcohol.

During his sober stay, Ryan started learning Spanish, went on regular runs and attended a number of the island’s famous nightclubs which he described as a “great time” but said he was shocked by how much people were drinking.

“This time I left Ibiza feeling good, which is how you should leave a holiday, whereas in the past I’ve just left feeling absolutely terrible,” he said.

After his first successful sober trip, Ryan is already planning his next one with friends. But instead of flying, Ryan is considering booking a ferry and sleeper train from London through the online travel agency First Choice, which stops off in several cities along the way.

“You board the train in London and visit the Spanish city of Girona for a night before arriving in Ibiza town, then on the way back stop over in Barcelona and Paris for one night each,” he said.

The 2,600 mile round trip is organised by sustainable travel company Byway which is hoping to attract people like Ryan, who want to visit the Mediterranean island without getting drunk every night.

“These are all the things that you just wouldn’t do if you were drinking,” he said. “Because you would just want to get hammered and just wouldn’t want to do any of that. It’s a completely different experience.”

*not his real name