Sexy wasn't something I had ever considered to be of relevance to me when I was a drunk lass. I'd never felt attractive. I'd never been in a relationship with anyone I was attracted to (which is pretty good going for someone who was a serial monogamist for the 10 years I drank abusively). I didn't understand any man who found me attractive, I felt pity for them for aiming so low as to be with me.
Because let's face it, the only reason I chose to be with me was because I couldn't leave. At least they had the choice.
I knew I was in trouble back then. I accepted that every night I drank was going to turn into chaos. I also knew since I pretty much drank every day that chaos was going to be my life now.
I accepted that I was in a relationship I wasn't happy in. I knew for a fact that I hated who I was and who I saw when I looked in the mirror. I knew my career wasn't going to go any further, because I earned enough to keep a roof over my head and keep me drinking yet still allowed me to be as hungover as I needed to be. A situation tailor-made to keep me in my rut.
Summers were free rein for me to drink as much as I could physically get in my body. I got paid not to work during summer. So I could dedicate myself to self destruction.
Summers I would feel awkward in what I wore because I couldn't cover up the body I despised so much like I could in winter. I would try and hide as much as I could in bars until I was too drunk to feel the self-loathing anymore. Then it was ok. And it actually didn't matter that much because I looked pretty nondescript so no one noticed me anyway most of the time.
I don't think I ever expected that part to go away. I thought I would hate myself-outside and in-forever. I didn't even dare to aim for a feeling of indifference about myself.
So it stunned me when it turned out that a side effect of stopping drinking meant that I surpassed both. Effortlessly.
I look different now. Very different. But I felt different first. And I thought differently. About myself and about the world around me. And it's the feeling different that prompts the looking different. Every time.
I don't mean I had a makeover. Although yes, the clothes I wear are different because my body shape is so very different. Shockingly so. My face is different. Really different. My demeanour is transformed. How I feel about myself is different because I am a totally different person. There's not one part of my life that is the same.
That's what I want for every woman who isn't sure that they deserve to love themselves. That's what I shout about the loudest. That's what breaks my heart. Women wasting not just summers, but years of their lives hating themselves purely because they think there is no other way. That it's a fact that they are appalling and beyond saving.
No woman ever needs to live like that. There is a different way to start living. Right now. Irrespective of any external circumstance because they change. They always change. They have to change. That's what happens when a transformation occurs from the inside out.
I hated myself so much that I wanted to tear my own skin off and escape. I lived in that state of repugnance permanently. It oozed from me and everyone picked up on it. And all I had to do to remedy that was
•keep doing it
•cultivate an actual relationship with myself.
To stop drinking, keep doing it and have a real relationship with ourselves does not take anywhere near as much effort as living a life of self loathing and alcohol abuse. But it does need a little love and guidance and support from those who have been there.
Lucy Rocca, (founder of Soberistas) and I are on a mission this August to get you started on all three actions. Because we did all of these things. They transformed our lives. And we want the same for you.
Do you fancy having yourself a Sexy Sober Summer? Or just flirting with the idea a little? Come over and join us. We'll be showing you how we do it on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat; all the usual suspects. Concentrating on the aspects we feel Sober Girls can benefit from (this week it's the Mind aspect of non drinking, then it's the Body, after that it's the Soul).
And we'd like you to get involved. We don't care if you aren't committing to non drinking permanently. Having yourself a Summers day of non drinking? Send us a picture. Can't be arsed to send us a picture? Take one anyway, use the hashtag #sexysobersummer and we'll find you.
Let us see what you are up to. Help us build a resource for all women who want to flirt with sobriety. Something they can come back to and reference long after summer is over.
We are ready if you are x