Three years of go­ing with­out

Au­thor dis­cov­ers new life with­out the ‘mad­ness’ of a bot­tle of wine a day

Central Otago Mirror - - NEWS - By JO MCKEN­ZIE-MCLEAN

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,

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