Jan. 30, 2024 – My first drink was a Smirnoff Ice aged 16. I took a pack of four to a party and had a glass of water after each one because I was scared to get drunk. I don’t think I finished the pack. My tastes have matured since. My alcohol cabinet now includes port, sherry, wine, gin, vodka and rum. My motivations for this year-long challenge were fourfold. 

I wanted to see what socialising without alcohol felt like, and whether I could continue to have as much fun when seeing friends without the booze.

Its impact on my monthly spending was also to go under the microscope – although the rising price of alcohol-free cocktails may limit my savings.And waking up full of energy without “hang-xiety” (a feeling of dread from the night before), and seeing how sobriety affected my body were also key motivators.

There was also a part of me that wanted to buck societal norms. Yes, I’m 25 and sober – so what?

“So what? You’re no fun. Come on, just have one! Don’t be boring, you’re wasting your youth,” were the kinds of protestations I expected to come my way.