In 2013, I also took a one-year break from drinking. The motivation behind my break, was hangovers, honestly. I’d gotten sick and tired of them. Sobriety was a very interesting experience and I also felt everything you’ve just described.
You CAN, actually, have fun without drinking. Like you, I also received my fair share of negative comments from ‘friends’ and others. That definitely took me by surprise. I did eventually go back to drinking, but am planning on taking another break, this year.
Thank you for sharing your experience and good luck on your journey.