Throughout my twenties, I was in a toxic relationship with alcohol.
It gradually ate away at my self-esteem, self-confidence and self-worth, until I realised it wasn't worth it anymore. I deserved better, so I broke up with alcohol for good.
Drinking was of no interest to me as a teenager.
I was very focused on doing well at school and trained obsessively as a competitive runner. Being socially anxious, the thought of going to parties with boys and alcohol was terrifying.
That all changed when I hit university.
It wasn’t cool to not drink, and I was sick of being the shy girl I was in high school. An invitation to go to an older friend’s cocktail party was my opportunity to shake off that boring, innocent image.
Getting drunk for the first time was a totally foreign feeling of relaxation and confidence.
Watch: Your body one year without alcohol. Post continues below.
Finally, it was easy to talk to people and a lovely break from the anxiety which was always holding me back in social situations.
I didn’t want to miss out on anything the university social life had to offer so I decided to give up competitive running, because morning training sessions and hangovers don't mix.
I guess you can still go to parties sober, but isn’t alcohol an essential ingredient for making friends and fitting in?
My first year of university was fun. My girlfriends and I would get dressed up in our tiny dresses, get drunk off passion pop and go out clubbing together.