Two months ago I set myself the challenge of going 30 days without alcohol.
There wasn't one major reason, more a few minor ones, plus I'd been introduced to the One Year No Beer movement and I'm a sucker for a rhyme, so here we are.
I'm a social drinker, usually having a few (or more) drinks three nights in any week. If I go out there is plenty consumed. I love red wine and cold beer. Before the challenge I couldn't possibly have imagined actually going out out and not drinking.
The only other time I did 30 days completely off alcohol was one dry January that was so miserable I promised myself I would never, ever do it again. I even went on BBC radio urging others not to make the same terrible mistake.
So what changed?
One very simple thing. My mind. Instead of focusing on what I was depriving myself of, I focused on what I was gaining. And this really is one of the key pillars of One Year No Beer.
So what exactly have I gained?
Well quite a lot really.
Obviously there have been no hangovers which has given me that holy grail that money can't buy - more time. And speaking of money - I've saved a ton of that too. I've also much more energy, less anxiety, less stress. I'm more ready to take on the world. My skin is brighter, I've lost weight, and maybe even gained a little patience.
In the two months I've managed to fit in finishing a diploma that I had been slowly plodding through up to that point. I've painted two rooms of the house. Ticked off my ever growing reminder list on my phone, and run my fasted 10k race ever. I've now dusted off my attempted novel and am focusing all my extra energy on that.
My app tells me I've saved myself approximately 113 drinks, €570 and 17,370 calories.
And then of course there's the untold health benefits...
Okay, okay, I can see you rolling your eyes. But what about the going out, the fun, the release, the well earned glass of wine at the end of a long day?
It's all actually easier than you think. Many of us see alcohol as a stress reliever, but in fact it just presses pause on it, and then all that held back stress comes back in a rush the next day - worse than before.
The fun can mostly be had without the drink - though so far not that 'lost weekend' kind of fun. But then again, most of those lost weekends are actually lost from memory too - wiped out other than a few random flashes.
So far I've been out to gigs, a festival, dinners and a girls night out and had fun at all of them, with the added benefit of actually remembering them. Sure I'm ready to head home at midnight - but I'm more than happy with that. A good night sleep and you're leaping out of the bed the next day. Best of both worlds. (Annoying aren't I?)
The only thing I've shied away from so far is ordering a steak. Indelibly linked to a big glass of red for now at least.
Next weekend I head to Dingle for a weekend that revolves around live music, pubs and Guinness, I think I'm ready for it.
Those first 30 days passed easily. I actually enjoyed it. So I decided to keep going.
I'm two months in now and planning on having an alcohol free Christmas. After my 90 day target is hit I then weigh up if I want to go for the whole year or not. One Year No Beer. 365 days.
And after that there's just the rest of my life to decide on.