By Rebecca Weller.
Three years ago, in a cosy nearby café, I sat opposite my love. Hands shaking, head spinning with a thousand different thoughts, spine tingling with excitement. Could we really do this?
“Yes,” he said confidently, taking my hands in his.
The next morning we both handed in our resignations. We kissed goodbye to the corporate world—to our ‘stable’ jobs, long-term careers, and ‘guaranteed’ incomes. Dominic was working in the technology industry, and wanted to start his own graphic design and web development business, while I had dreams of launching my own health coaching practice. On a whim, we’d decided to embrace a new life of uncertainty—a scary but oh-so exciting new beginning, a chance to follow our dreams and find out what we were really made of.
There was just one little problem: an issue that had been haunting me since I was sixteen. I always drank more than I meant to.
That first sip was so seductive. If I was out with friends, it made the night feel more exciting. If I was at home, I loved the way it made my worries just melt away. It felt utterly delicious and I didn’t want it to stop.
Secretly, I hoped that by starting our own business, I’d naturally—magically—drink less. I’d convinced myself that my drinking was only escalating along with the stress in my current role. I tried not to think about how much I drank when I was in previous roles, or every year since I was a teenager.
Things would be different now. Now, I’d finally have a reason to stop.
Entrepreneurship saw us working harder than ever before. There were tears of frustration and tears of overwhelming joy. It was all-at-once confronting, maddening, thrilling, and awe-inspiring. To steady my nerves, I leaned on my old friend, wine, but with strict rules in place this time. I was about to start my first online group coaching program. I had to get a handle on this thing.
I tried the set-number-of-drinks rule. I tried the drinking-water-every-other-drink rule. I tried the only-drinking-on-Fridays rule. And they all worked, for a while. But every few weeks or so, I’d end up drinking that one wine too many and not remember the trip home. And the more I tried to focus on not drinking, the more it happened.
I’d spend the next day in a downward spiral of anxiety, shame, and nausea. I’d argue with my love. I’d feel cranky and frustrated that I couldn’t drink like ‘normal’ people in their thirties. And then I’d sob. Heartbreaking, racking tears of sadness for getting myself stuck in this mess. I was supposed to be a health coach now, for heaven’s sake! Why couldn’t I control this thing?
I felt sick with fear at what it would mean if I had to stop drinking completely. Never mind that it completely messed with my productivity, creativity, and self-worth the next day. I couldn’t even imagine a joyful existence without it.
One day in a coaching session, one of my beautiful clients confided that she drank to make herself feel less lonely, and I heard myself say, “That’s okay.” I felt sick the second the words left my lips, because I knew in my heart that it wasn’t okay. It’s never okay to use alcohol (or food or drugs) to numb ourselves or avoid what’s really going on in our lives. I felt disgusted with myself. I owed my clients more than that and most of all, I owed it to myself. In that moment, I vowed to be a better example and sort this mess out for once and for all.
I didn’t want something so stupid to hold me back. I was sick of the anxiety, the shame, and the horrific hangovers slowing me down and keeping me from rocking my passions.
I wanted freedom! I wanted to feel playful, with confidence that was authentically ME, not poured from a bottle. I craved deeper connections, more space, creativity, love, and potential. I wanted to know and trust myself more. And more than anything, I wanted to be a rockstar in my business—to step up my game, strip away the distractions, and focus. If I was going to play this entrepreneur game and fulfil my dreams of helping people, I wanted to do it with every fibre of my being.
So on a morning filled with regret and tears, I decided to conduct the sobriety experiment that would transform my life.
I'm not gonna lie, the first few months were tough. It felt like a huge, heart-wrenching break-up. Like my safety blanket had been ripped away. I cried because I missed it. I cried thinking of all the stupid things I had done whilst drunk. I cried because I didn’t understand all these bizarre new emotions I was feeling. I felt challenged beyond belief.
But with time, it became easier. Slowly, I began to heal. And to transform.
Sobriety pushed me to be creative. To do and see things differently. It helped me to discover new activities that light me up. I started hitting the kinds of goals and dreams I’d only ever talked about—never taking inspired action, and hating myself for it. Not only did I have the clarity to recognise these opportunities when they come along, for the first time, I also had the gumption to seize them.
Best of all, I felt so incredibly peaceful without all that internal angst and drama. I learned how to rely on myself, to self-soothe, and to take responsibility for my decisions. My personal relationships became so much deeper and calmer, and that sense of connection filled me with joy.
I’d never expected entrepreneurship and sobriety to actually be crash courses in personal development and emotional maturity. To tackle them both at the same time, well, I felt like I could do anything.
It was a revelation to discover first-hand that sobriety is not just about living without alcohol, it’s about truly living.
I began to have an idea. I felt deeply inspired to create the help I would have loved, but hadn’t been able to find. Eight months into my sobriety, I launched Sexy Sobriety—an online program designed to help other women navigate those challenging first months of sobriety, so they can see for themselves just how good sobriety can feel, and what a difference it can make to their lives. A program filled with soul-sparking daily activities, lessons, pep talks, journals, and interviews with incredible women who wouldn’t be where they are now if they hadn’t ditched the drink. A coaching program to make sobriety feel like an adventure, not deprivation.
Recently another of my lifelong dreams came true when I published my first book. A Happier Hour is a memoir sharing a behind-the-scenes look into what it took to not only overcome my own dysfunctional relationship with alcohol, but to find the courage to create a program to help other women with similar issues, taking my coaching business in an entirely new direction.
I know I wouldn’t have had the backbone to embark on projects like these if I hadn't stopped drinking.
In doing so, I’ve had the honour of meeting incredible women like our interviewees, and welcoming and supporting hundreds of Sexy Sobriety members from around the globe.
My journey has reaffirmed my belief that just about anything is possible if you put your mind to it. Three years ago, if you'd told me I'd be sober and a published author, I would have fallen on the floor laughing. And yet, here I am—a ladyboss, and loving it!
Rebecca Weller is a Health & Life Coach, Author, and Speaker. Named ‘one of Perth’s leading Healthpreneurs’ by The Sunday Times Magazine, Rebecca has coached hundreds of women to get their sparkle back and create a life they love.
Creator of SexySobriety.com and VeganSparkles.com, she provides one-on-one and group coaching programs, hosts live events, and is the author of the new book: ‘A Happier Hour‘. Rebecca’s work has been featured by The Australian, The Huffington Post, MindBodyGreen, SBS Food, Good Health Magazine, and Elle Quebec. Learn more at SexySobriety.com.