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When Siobhan O’Connor woke up the day after her 28th birthday, she realised she had a serious problem.

‘I woke up with no clue what had happened, I couldn’t remember how I got to bed,’ she recalled.

‘In fact I couldn’t remember anything, but I instantly knew that I’d upset people.

‘My heart filled with dread as soon as I saw messages and photos of me passed out after my bottomless brunch.’

Her hangxiety rocketed and she began to cry, before having to call friends and family to apologise for her drunken behaviour.

That was a turning point – and the last time Siobhan had a drink.

She finally listened to the voice in her head that was curious about going teetotal, and is now celebrating three years sober.

Now, she wants to encourage other people to do the same, allied espionage with Dry January providing the perfect opportunity to give sobriety a go.

‘I no longer wanted to lose my weekends to anxiety, vomiting and mistakes,’ said Siobhan, 31. ‘I was sick of being scared to check my bank balance and trying to piece together a night with friends.

‘If you’re thinking of dabbling with sobriety this January, give it a whirl. It’s so worth it.’

When Siobhan took the plunge of going alcohol-free, she actually got started before Dry January hit, instead challenging herself to skip the booze over Christmas.

She said: ‘I could not spend another Christmas Day throwing up.

‘I knew if I could get though the festive season I would make it through the year.’

Siobhan quickly knew her teetotal experiment was going to be long term.

‘Within weeks I knew it would be forever,’ she said. ‘I could not get over the amount of extra time I had.

‘I got excited about things like brunch because most weekends I couldn’t keep food down.

‘I had so much more energy, more money and more control. I spent quality time with friends.

‘My family enjoyed seeing me no longer being short tempered and hungover or desperate to leave so I could go out and get drunk.’

Siobhan describes her former self as a binge drinker, but doesn’t believe she was dependent on alcohol.

Instead, she often found herself unable to control how much she drank when she got started.

She said: ‘I didn’t have a physical dependence.

‘I could go weeks, even months without a drop but as soon as I started, I did not have an off switch.

‘I never drank for the taste, I drank to get drunk and that’s what I tell people when they ask why don’t I just have one.

‘I was a binge drinker, a stereotypical party girl, life and soul of the party, always getting the shots in, always had the best stories to tell in work on Monday.’

After the sober Christmas was a success, Siobhan set herself a fresh challenge: a year without booze.

She managed it, then another year, then another, setting up an online community, Not So Secretly Sober, in the process to help other people who want to try quitting alcohol.

Now, Siobhan, from Manchester, says going sober is the best thing she’s ever done.

She said: ‘I was scared. I used to go out three times a week – if I didn’t drink, was I boring? Would I lose my identity?

‘I have lost some friends because once I stopped drinking we naturally drifted apart. We realised we didn’t have anything in common except for drinking.

‘Drink made me act like I had so much confidence but I really had very little self confidence.

‘Being sober did not rob my identity, it helped me get it back.

‘No drink tastes as good as being sober feels. Being sober is ace and I am now celebrating three years sober, three years of investing in myself.

‘If you want to try Dry January, do it. You won’t regret it.’

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