As told to Shona Hendley.
While I'm happy for them, reading these stories generates feelings of failure in me.
The stories and the alcohol-free lifestyle that’s gaining popularity makes me feel anxious, even though I know it's a positive thing overall.
Watch: Your Body After 1 Year Without Alcohol. Post continues below.
It fuels my worry and sets up an unattainable expectation for me to achieve. While this is all pressure I'm putting on myself, it doesn’t make how I'm feeling any easier.
The truth is, I have been dependent on alcohol for around twenty years.
Announcing that makes me feel embarrassment, shame and absolute frustration at myself for allowing it to get to this point.
If you looked at me from the outside, you’d never know. My drinking isn’t a physical scar I bear or even a habit or behaviour that impacts multiple aspects of my life. It is a way that I manage, and I do manage — well.
I am a successful manager at the company I work at, and I have a husband and two amazing children — a life that could be envied by some. On the inside, it isn’t any different, except for one thing: I drink too much and too often, according to the current health standards.
While I don’t view myself as an alcoholic because I can stop, I know it's still a problem because it takes a huge amount of motivation or a serious reason for me to stop.
When I was pregnant and when I breastfed my two children, for about three years in total, I didn’t drink. I have also stopped drinking for a few nights here or there when I have really built myself up to it, although the latter happens far too infrequently.
For the majority of the time, though, over the past two decades, I have had a drink every single night. Usually, it's two or three glasses of wine. Sometimes it's only one. Every so often, it's an entire bottle.
I don’t do it to get drunk; I rarely have enough to get drunk. If ever I get to the point of feeling like I've lost control due to the alcohol I stop, because I don’t like that either. That’s not what it’s about.
I do it because I enjoy it, but the main reason is to unwind, to curb the anxiety that is always bubbling inside me during the day and would continue to simmer into the evening if it wasn’t for alcohol taking the edge off.