To call myself an alcoholic would be careless and untrue, but from around the age of 17 I've had a trivial dependency on alcohol.

My first experience with booze began with a disgusting sip of dad's pint aged 12, before moving on to Smirnoff Ice and a Carlsberg when my mid-teen self felt particularly brave.

In sixth form, armed with fake ID and the hope of a warm lager at someone's free house each weekend, I got my first taste for excess.

Then at 18, and like most people my age, I went to university and, because I'd never experienced such freedom before, I navigated my way through the dorm-parties and pound-a-drink nights with gluttony.

But in my early 20s, when a day's work became harder than the average term at uni, alcohol took on a new role in helping me acclimatise to the real world.

It became a kind of escapism from being new to a harsh working climate my degree didn't prepare me for or tell me the whole truth about.

Post-grad reality rendered a sip of cold lager almost compulsory and unlike uni I stopped intending to get drunk, but would somehow always end up so.


So, aged 23, off the back of a blurry December and enjoying working life more than ever, I decided to try Dry January.

I did it out of curiosity, to see how my body would respond and to see what booze-free life was like in London, a city akin to Disneyland for over-worked adults.

Coupled with this was how cancer had affected my life personally and, since it was too late to sign up for a four-hour run around London, I wanted something to raise money for Cancer Research .

After all, how hard could it be? Very hard, actually. Very, very hard.

My initial enthusiasm got me through the first week, but I soon became overwhelmed by ajitation.

I'd close my eyes at night and dream of draught; I did beer burps in my sleep and I couldn't adjust to the perplexing sensation of feeling good on Sunday morning.

I pre-drank with Diet Coke; I ordered orange juice on card and I called it a night at 10.45pm on a Saturday.

I reluctantly became "that guy" who told everyone he didn't need alcohol to have a good time.

In short, I became totally un-British - like those tourists who look at you in dismay when you suggest you're not drunk enough to dance yet.

On the flipside I felt amazing, full of energy and healthier than ever.

I didn't press the snooze button much, I ran faster and lifted harder in the gym and I lost seven pounds as my mind sought natural kicks elsewhere.

Never again

But taking raising money out of the picture, was it worth it? Did it do enough to make me consider a permanent hiatus?

For a month, and if it's the only Dry January you ever do then yes. It has certainly made me consider drinking a little less - the entire point of the Dry January campaign.

But any longer than that then I'm afraid to report that I'm NEVER GIVING UP ALCOHOL AGAIN!

It has put into perspective what alcohol is to me, and what it is not.

I never missed being wasted, I quite liked remembering what happened between the hours of 1am and 3am and a vomit-free month was a joy.

But I did miss out on what I felt was a party going on without me; at 6pm on Friday I missed something I truly deserved for an honest week of labour and what I really did learn was how good alcoholic beverages taste by comparison to lemonade.

There were no hilarious stories to tell, no drunken messages to regret and no fry-ups that tasted extra special because of far too much grease.

I realised some of my fondest memories were with a drink in hand, adding a healthy amount of humour and zest to life outside the demanding constraints of nine to five.

Next time I'll be running in the Marathon, Sport Relief Mile or shaving my chest or legs since that would be less painful.

So although I beat you Dry January, but I'm pleased to say we'll never meet again.

Se yu atthe pubb.Xx