We spoke to Jane about her experience of Dry January and why she's chosen to give up the booze completely!

I officially stopped drinking alcohol on 1st January 2016, as I write this it has been 11 months since I had a drink.  I am 52 and have depression, anxieties and Borderline Personality Disorder.

I wasn’t by any means a heavy drinker but would have described myself as a weekend binge drinker, which sometimes stretched into the week, depending on the perceived stresses at work. I knew drinking alcohol was making my mood swings more severe but I was using it to mask emotions I didn’t feel I could cope with. It was before last Christmas I decided I needed to do something or life was never going to improve, in fact felt I was getting worse, so made the decision to do Dry January and try and stop altogether. I did stop drinking before Christmas but it didn’t last and on New Year’s Day I had the most almighty hang over and couldn’t remember much about New Year’s Eve or what I had said or done.

New Year’s Day was the start of a new life for me. I decided I did not want to feel like that again. It hasn’t been easy and at times, especially when others around were drinking and I have been very near to drinking; however, I have managed and now recognise that when I want a drink it is because I want to mask and drown difficult feelings so I use a different means to cope, such as talking about how I am feeling, having a bath or meditating. Early on in the process I ate a lot of chocolate and used that as a bit of a crutch but that is now subsiding.

The mood swings I used to have are much less severe, the headaches and fogginess is non- existent but if I do get a headache I now know it is real and not alcohol induced. 

I have new alternative drinks which I am happy with when I am out and have no intention of drinking again!