Three years of going without
Author discovers new life without the ‘madness’ of a bottle of wine a day
Everything we believe about booze is utter bullshit, a top selling author about sobriety told Central Otago crowds.
Lotta Dann, 42, spoke candidly and intimately about her sobriety journey at talks in Alexandra, Cromwell, Wanaka and Queenstown last week.
‘‘The power is not in the glass. We give the liquid in the glass so much power . . . Everything we believe about booze is utter bullshit.’’
Dann, who has been sober for three years, had come from a place of absolute misery, of low self worth and wine soaked to feeling ‘‘actually just normal— better than normal, happier than I have ever been’’.
She had been living a life that where the outside did not match in the inside, she said. She was happily married to a successful television journalist, had three sons, and a house— but she was deeply addicted to alcohol and miserable about it.
She spent her days in a 24-hour cycle where at 5am she would wake up guilty with a pounding head and bursting bladder.
She would drag herself through the morning and by midday she would perk up, and the chatter in her brain would start pulling her in the direction of a drink.
By 3pm she would have bought wine and by 5pm she would be drinking.
The last night she drank was 5 September 2011. She reversed over her child’s pram going to the bottle store, and proceeded to come home and skull the bottle in an hour.
‘‘It was a crazy madness. Mad. Totally mad.’’
She hid the bottle, which became the trigger to stop drinking, she said.
‘‘For whatever reason— that was enough. I could see where it was heading and it was enough to trigger me to stop. It was my personal lowest. My self worth was low. I was lost. I was completely lost. I had separated out from myself.’’
A life without alcohol was like standing on a cliff and staring into an abyss, she said.
However, once she gave it up, she realised she had been living in ‘‘blissful denial’’ and her relationship with alcohol had made her emotionally stunted.
‘‘Until I took it away, I didn’t realise what an effect it was having on my life.
‘‘It’s not just breaking habits and cravings, it is about learning how to deal with shit raw and I didn’t know how to.
‘‘My emotional coping mechanisms were flawed. I didn’t have any because I was glug, glug, glugging all the time.
‘‘It’s hard work. It’s really hard work.’’
Her journey was still one in progress, but she had gained strength and power from writing down a blog, livingwithout alcohol.blogspot.co.nz, which has 1200 registered members, Twitter feeds, as well as writing a top selling book, Mrs D is Going Without. ◗ Jo McKenzie-McLean is inspired by Lotta in Uphill Battle – page 15.
Mrs D: Author of top selling book, MrsDisGoingWithout, Lotta Dann,