Go­ing with­out is a Lotta strug­gle

Mum and re­porter JO McKEN­ZIE-McLEAN is tak­ing on one of the big­gest chal­lenges of her life train­ing for the North­burn Sta­tion 50km. She re­ports on her progress.

Central Otago Mirror - - FEATURES -

I am­not an ad­dict. How­ever, I have a strong love of food that is bad for me, and an even stronger love of wine.

Those of you who have been fol­low­ing my Up­hill Bat­tle jour­ney from day one, may rec­ol­lect I men­tioned part of the mo­ti­va­tion of tak­ing up the chal­lenge of the North­burn 50km was I had got into a rut with drink­ing too much, run­ning to the fridge after work for the wine bot­tle.

Over the past sev­eral months, my phys­i­cal train­ing has been rig­or­ous and I have been to­tally com­mit­ted to it — get­ting up dur­ing win­ter in mi­nus five de­grees Cel­sius frosts - so cold my sweat would freeze to my face; I would grum­ble but still sol­dier on scal­ing a hill on my hands and knees; and after hard days at work when all I wanted to do was get into my PJs and have a drink, I would pull on my beanie, get my head torch and hit the pave­ment.

I lost the de­sire to drink as much be­cause get­ting up at 5.30am to go for a 10km run with a sick stom­ach and parched mouth was not pleas­ant.

Slowly, the wine bot­tle that was in my fridge on Mon­day was still in the fridge on Fri­day.

Pre-train­ing days, that would have prob­a­bly been re­placed three times over. Don’t be fooled, though im­proved, I have not been re­formed and I con­tinue to strug­gle with the nu­tri­tion and drink­ing side of my ‘‘rut’’.

I have found some in­spi­ra­tion from a woman who I had de­vel­oped a slight dis­like for.

One of my best friends, and drink­ing bud­dies, has not touched a drop of al­co­hol since read­ing Lotta Dann’s book, Mrs D is go­ing with­out.

We don’t catch up that reg­u­larly, so when I saw her in Wellington re­cently, in­stead of hit­ting the wines like we would have done in the past, she drank pots of tea while I drank wine. Damn you, Lotta Dann. Last week, I headed into a room where the woman her­self was de­liv­er­ing a talk in Alexan­dra. I texted my friend and told her I was go­ing to lis­ten to her ‘‘cult leader’’ (my friend refers to her­self as one of Lotta Dann’s dis­ci­ples).

After the first 15 min­utes, I started to squirm in my chair as I could re­late to many of the sto­ries she told of her re­la­tion­ship with al­co­hol.

She showed a pic­ture of her as a 15-year-old drunk on bub­bly wine. Been there. Drunk at her school ball. Been there. Fast for­ward 20 years with a hus­band, chil­dren and house— clock-watch­ing for the time she will let her­self take her first drink, us­ing al­co­hol as a re­ward after a busy day, drink­ing an en­tire bot­tle and not feel­ing the ef­fects.

Been there. I am­not say­ing I am or was an al­co­holic— or that I want to stop drink­ing— but I had let my­self get into a bad habit of drink­ing al­co­hol, for what­ever rea­son, far too fre­quently and drink­ing far too much.

After lis­ten­ing to Lotta Dann, I felt she had em­pow­ered me with some prac­ti­cal, help­ful tips to fight that urge to pick up that bot­tle as reg­u­larly. I amalso go­ing to ring my friend and apol­o­gise for has­sling her de­vo­tion to an amaz­ing woman that is help­ing change lives around the coun­try, and world. ■ Feed­back and com­ments wel­come to jo­mac­mac@stl.co.nz, on twit­ter @jo­mac­macjourno or on her Up­hill Bat­tle Face­book page.

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