Last time I went teetotal, I told my friends who are all around 18-20 years old. They were surprised and couldn’t understand why I would want to stop drinking. This time I seem to have chosen to tell more ‘mature’ people. Most assumed it was just for January, and weren’t expecting my reply of “for good”. Still surprised, but this time they seem to think I’m brave and that I’m doing something difficult.

I guess I never considered it to be that big a deal, but maybe it is. People – including me – drink for a variety of reasons: confidence, socialising, to turn a bad night into a good night, to forget, to numb, and I guess just cuz it’s ‘normal’. But it also brings negative effects, which are part of my reason for stopping. I’m fed up with bad hangovers, not remembering nights out, and doing stupid or embarrassing things cuz I’ve lost control of how much I’ve been drinking.

And aside from the things I’m trying to prevent by going teetotal, I’m hoping to gain some things. A healthier liver and fatter wallet to start with. Confidence to chat to strangers and dance sober. The chance to have real fun – to enjoy a night out for its merits, not cuz everyone got wasted to make it seem more fun. Real instead of Dutch courage.

Five days in. I had a great New Years without drinking, and when I was out on Saturday. And I’m quietly confident about it lasting. I’ll be the designated driver for the rest of my life! But providing no-one throws up in my car, I don’t really mind.

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