Monday, June 30, 2014

Recovery is awesome!

I don't know why replies to comments come up in a red box on here. It's something I've tried to fix a few times (went on the Blogger forum and got some html code to put in the layout / properties or some such techy business - didn't work, gah! - hate this techy stuff and am not very good at it). So great that there are clever web people right now working on the design of the new site and they'll be in charge of ironing out glitches once we all start using it.

They've sent me a list of content they need me to write for the welcome and information pages.. so I'll start doing that from today.. and their design team is going to show me soon what it's going to look like. It's so exciting!! I can't wait for it to be up and running so anyone who wants to share how they are going in the adjustment to living alcohol free can do that (anonymously if you like) and we can all encourage and help each other along the way - share tips & experiences, generally boost each other along.

I'm keen to get people to send in photos of themselves for the new site holding up signs with their sober date or some wish or desire they have for their life without booze.. what do you think about that idea? Faces of recovery. Having said that you could always hold the sign up to cover your face if you wanted to keep yourself hidden at first (which I totally understand) but I think those images of actual real people can be very powerful.

The words we share are powerful too.

I'm going to spend a lot of time on the new site but I will keep blogging regularly here as well because this blog is my home and I love it and don't want to leave it behind.

Anyway.. the book launch party… SO FUN! I had a great chatty night surrounded by friends and family. I missed out on one of the pre-poured, fancily garnished mocktails but had a few glasses of  non-alcoholic punch throughout the night. I had planned to get a Red Bull from the bar during the night to boost me along (and it feels a bit naughty coz I don't usually touch that shit) but I completely forgot. I did however smoke a cigarette!!!!! There were a bunch of people outside having a fun time smoking and drinking and I joined them for a while and smoked the ciggy. That was fun but I don't think I'll be climbing back into that little habit.

Completely forgot to thank my amazing publishers in my speech which I am totally gutted about - Allen & Unwin are the best publishers a girl could ask for! Strong and wise and smart and incredibly kind. There, hopefully that gush on here will stop me feeling guilty for not having said thanks to them on Saturday night (and it's all true).

On the morning of the party I had to go and do a radio interview. I was super-nervous about it because this interviewer is a totally awesome, clever, formidable broadcaster. But it went great. I loved talking with her and actually got to go into some of the detail about how I re-trained my brain to live without alcohol. At 34 minutes long it was possible to get a good discussion going. I'd said to my sister-in-law before I left home that I was going to try and say "recovery is awesome" during the interview.. and I managed to say it twice!! Hooray!

I've had a few people message me asking about where to buy the book. It's in stores in Australia & New Zealand now.. if you're overseas and want a hard copy you need to buy it from this side of the world (here or here) and they'll ship it to you. I think from October it'll be in warehouses overseas. Or the e-version is here or here.

And now I better go get writing content and responding to some more of the lovely emails I have received. It's raining, I have a scented candle burning and Natalie Merchant softly playing. It is a good day to be sober.

Love, Mrs D xxx

Friday, June 27, 2014

Mrs D is NOT Going Without A PARTY!

Tomorrow is my book launch party - whoop whoop!! I'm sorry I've had to stop replying to emails so I can just focus on the party. Friends are starting to fly in from today and loads more friends and family are arriving tomorrow and I cannot wait! I'll get back to responding to all of you who have privately reached out to me next week. I promise.

Things have been crazy since the TV item went to air. Well, a lot of things have been normal like I'm still prepping endless meals and folding endless piles of washing and clearing away endless piles of crap.. but in my online spaces (this blog, Facebook, Twitter and on email) there is just this huge lovely wave of warmth and support and togetherness rolling in.

I'm not wanting to position myself as a sobriety guru (as someone commented to me here on this blog).. I'm honestly not. I don't have all the answers, I'm not an addictions expert. I'm just an ordinary housewife who used to be locked in a boozy prison and got herself free.

But what I am is a communicator - having worked as a journalist for 20 years - and I've discovered ...since blogging for myself about what's going on for me... that I have an ability to articulate tricky internal stuff in a way that people relate to. That's why I got a book contract and now with the publishers publicity machine behind me that's why I'm the one getting all the attention right now.

But it's not about me!! It's about all of us. You and you and you and you and you. All of you people who have commented and emailed and liked and shared and tweeted and all the rest of us. It's about community. I'm speaking out to reach more people like us so we can all come together and help and support each other.




There is a fabulous new website coming - funded by the addictions sector here in NZ and with me managing it - where we can all come together in a more interactive space and talk to and support each other more. People like you and me. People who understand. I love how people are already talking to each other in the comments section on here.. the new site will be better suited for that sort of interaction. Community.

But until then.. I've got a book launching! Tomorrow night is about me and Mr D bringing all our friends and family together to celebrate with us! 70 guests! 12 staying with us! I've got a fab new frock from Witchery! The cafe has designed 3 fabulous mocktails for each guest to have on arrival and after that the bar is open. I don't care if people want to drink alcohol, that's fine by me. I just know my brain, I know what's right for me, and I don't want any booze.

Tomorrow is about friends and togetherness and celebration and fun and chatting and dancing and partying. It is not about what I have in my glass. Alcohol does not have the power to make this party more fun and special than it naturally is. Of that I am sure.

Love, Mrs D xxx

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Reclaiming the word sober..

I was in a meeting yesterday and someone was saying how the word 'sober' has all these negative connotations, that the word points to things being boring or staid or flat or dull or whatever…I've had other friends say that to me in the past as well.

I just had to pipe up in this meeting and say "for me, to be honest, I actually love the word because it sums up my entire state of being nowadays. I am sober. I live sober. Sober is the perfect summation of my life and it's far from being a bad thing.

"It's a sparkly word to me" I said. And I really mean that.

Living sober like I do now feels so unbelievably treaty and special and precious. I love it! I honestly love being sober. I'm not making that up to sound positive.. or trying to convince people of anything. I just honestly think being sober is cool and if anyone wants to think otherwise I don't care. I just know what my genuine response is to being sober and inside of me it's overwhelmingly positive.

I do know lots of my fellow sober-ites here in the sober-sphere agree. And interestingly in all the feedback I've gotten recently to the TV story no-one has said to me 'man you're a boring dick-head'. And if people think that privately I don't give a toss. It's just completely unimportant to me. It's my relationship with myself that matters and I dig being sober - a lot.

HOWEVER… when I first took the booze away my brain was not feeling so sparkly and all of my thoughts were telling me otherwise. I had to fight off so many freaked-out thoughts of being BORING for the rest of my life.. of MISSING OUT ON THE PARTY forever more.. of BEING DEPRIVED of fun and enjoyment.

Those thoughts were lies.. complete lies.. they were the addicted part of my brain trying to convince me to keep taking the drug of alcohol. That part of my brain was a monster and very powerful.. but what I now know is IF YOU STARVE THE MONSTER IT WILL DIE.

It's fucking hard at first.. when you first take the booze away.. because your own brain and your own thoughts will work damn hard to convince you to keep drinking. You have to fight, fight, fight to resist the urges. They'll come hard out for 2-3 months and taper off but continue for up to a year (this is my experience anyway and in no way scientific!). Little evil thoughts will pop in when you're tired or shitty or emotional or there's a party on or a celebration or any damn-thing that life throws at us. And you'll have to stay very focussed on the image of yourself as a happy sober person that you want to be.. keep on keep on keep on and you will become that person. The monster will die…

But I'll never forget my monster. I don't trust her. She might rise up again. And so I will be living in my sparkling sober world forever more.

Love, Mrs D xxx

Monday, June 23, 2014

Thank you...

I just have to write a quick post because I've been absolutely inundated with amazing feedback since the item went to air last night. I've received hundreds of emails, numerous new comments on the blog.. messages on Facebook and Twitter… amazeballs.

Every single email and comment has been heartfelt and warm and supportive and kind and lovely. I just feel fit to bursting with all the amazing warmth that is coming through my online spaces. And the overwhelming message I am hearing is … 'I am just like you'.

It's just phenomenal how many of us are out there. Take a look at all the comments on the last couple of posts particularly.. it's un-bloody-believable.

I write in the book how lonely I felt when I first started on my sober road. It is a very lonely place to be when you're locked in this addicted mindset and it's not visible to others.

I've said it before and I'll say it again. You are not alone. We are not alone.

I will reply to every email eventually.. I am going to do that because it's amazing what you've all written to me.. it just might take me a while, that's all. But I've read you all and I've cried and I've smiled and I've understood and I've been deeply touched.

Thank you.

Love, Mrs D xxx

Sunday, June 22, 2014

Here I am in all my glory...

Not sure if I've ever been so nervous my entire life .. the piece on me just aired on tele here in NZ.. here's the link to the item On Demand. I've been told that it should work overseas - please let me know if it does or doesn't.


But it's done now. And so now you know that my real first name is Lotta (short for Carlotta, my grandmother was Swedish) and I am married to a bloke called Corin, a journalist who is on the tele here in New Zealand. He reports on politics. He used to host a Breakfast TV programme.. but we moved to our nation's capital 2-ish years ago for him to take up the job at parliament.

His job involves a lot of travel and he's been in America for the past week following our Prime Minister who was visiting the UN and The White House. He got to go inside the Oval Office! He's not back for a couple of days yet so he missed out on our little viewing party here at home. Me and my mum and my boys all put our onesies on and nervously watched me cry and reveal to the nation my drinking problem. I made a tray of treats for us to eat & drink while we watched. I didn't eat much coz my stomach was churning (still is).

So anyway.. now heaps more people know about me and my drinking problem and this blog and the wonderful online recovery community that has been my lifeline and secret weapon since I took away the wine. And yeah, I've revealed a 'nasty secret'. But do you know what I'm really revealing?


My face is the face of long-term recovery. Living in recovery means I haven't touched alcohol for almost three years. Living in recovery means I am free from my alcohol addiction. Living in recovery means I am sober and I am very happy.

And getting sober is not a death sentence! It's not the end of fun! I never touch alcohol ever and it's totally fine! It's better than fine actually. It's fascinating and real and raw and lovely and honest and authentic and just bloody marvelous.

My book will be out soon. It's called 'Mrs D Is Going Without' (of course!). It's not a drinking memoir, it's a recovery memoir. Yes it talks about my final drinking days, but mostly it talks about what happened after I put down the wine and all the stuff that was going on outside of this blog. What I learned about myself, what I learned about alcohol, and the community that built up around this blog was all so unexpected and fascinating. That's what I've written about. The book will be out in stores down this part of the world from next Friday. You can pre-order it here or here or here and they'll send it to you anywhere in the world as soon as it's released. Or you can get an e-version quicker on Amazon.

I'm being inundated with emails and texts and messages and everyone I mean EVERYONE is being super lovely. My heart is bursting. Sobriety rocks. That is all. Over and out. Goodnight.

Love, Mrs D xxx

Friday, June 20, 2014

Exploding stats...

It would be fair to say I didn't have the best sleep in the world last night. In fact I was awake at 3am listening to my beloved Tara - she really does calm me down that woman.

My Facebook exploded last night after the TV promo went out in advance of Sunday night's piece airing - and I 'outed' myself to all my Facebook friends about my book coming out as well. It went nuts!

I had so many likes and comments and shares and private messages not to mention text messages and emails and phone calls. It was very overwhelming and lovely and amazing and my synapses were firing on all cylinders! I had to put my onesie on and eat some ginger crunch just to calm myself down (probably not the best idea to sugar load just before bed!).

And then my blog stats EXPLODED!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Hundreds and hundreds and hundreds and hundreds of extra hits and all from New Zealand (strangers who found out about me from the TV programme's Facebook page no doubt).

Hundreds and hundreds and hundreds of kiwis finding my blog and reading about my journey from miserable, boozy, lonely, stuck person to the person I am now (sugar binging in a pink onesie but SOBER and HAPPY).

And I think that if even one of those hundreds of hits was from a person who is right now stuck in the place I was stuck in.. feeling miserable and alone.. then all of this lost sleep will be worth it.

And all I want to say is you are not alone.

You are not alone.

You are not alone.

You are not alone.

You are not alone.

You. Are. Not. Alone.

Love, Mrs D xxx

Monday, June 16, 2014

Keep on rolling…!!!!

Just watched The Anonymous People. What a perfect, perfect, perfect, perfect, PERFECT film for me to be watching right now. Makes me want to stand up and be PROUD to be in recovery.

No shame! No stigma!

Listen to this song.. LOUD .. it'll get you going on a Monday morning…cheese-a-rama…(just had to update this post because I don't think the video insert was working properly.. hopefully clicking on this link will take you to the song..!)

"Keep on rolling… keep on rolling.. keep on rolling… "

I dare you to do wild & crazy dancing around your living room or kitchen while you listen. Kick your heels up!! Clap!! Dance like no-one's watching! Dance like you're in the middle of a big gang of mates at a wedding all trying to out-do each other with your cheesy dancing. Go!

Of course we are sober at this imaginary wedding. Coz that's how we roll…

"Keep on rolling… keep on rolling.. keep on rolling… "

I've decided all of life is about controlling your thoughts. So for me right now I am refusing to let my brain race ahead and get wound up thinking about what's ahead.. refusing to freak out and be nervous and overwhelmed. So every time I feel myself thinking too much, lost in my thoughts, reaching ahead, freaking.. I bring myself back down in to the now. Look at the bubbles in the sink.. look at the water running down the shower wall.. what shall I cook today? How did they manage to break that towel rail? Do I need to cut my nails? Oh bugger the washing machine is leaking..

It was the same when I was trying to stop drinking wine all the time. Didn't let myself look too far ahead and freak out thinking about every wedding and party in the future.. just thinking of my immediate evening.. my immediate weekend. Refusing to give space to the negative voice in my head telling me the fun would stop, that people would consider me boring, that I couldn't live without touching alcohol ever again. Controlling my thoughts. Being the boss.

Lucky for me there were people ahead - people further down Recovery Road - showing me the way .. demonstrating that a life lived sober is not a life doomed to boring-ass hell. And now I know it's true!!!!!! Whoop whoop!!

Keep on rolling.. keep on rolling… off to buy lightbulbs….

Love, Mrs D xxx

Friday, June 13, 2014

What I'm up to...

Swimming: Not once. Seems that was a one-day urge to swim. Maybe the urge will come back next week and hopefully the pool will be open this time.

Writing: A new article for The Fix about whether being sober makes me a better mum (yes.. not a perfect one, but a better one undoubtedly) - being posted shortly.

Cooking: Muffins for the baking roster at kindy. Curry & rice for the family. Hummus because it's easy and my boys love it. Coffee walnut layer cake this afternoon because it's Friday and I feel like it.

Crying: Sometimes. Watching a sad programme on the TV about a couple who lost a baby, saying goodbye to Mr D who is going to America for 11 days for work, on the phone to my mum when she offers to come and stay for a few days.

Cleaning: Always. Spraying, wiping, washing, folding, unpacking, vacuuming, straightening up, clearing away.

Loving: My boys to distraction. Inflicting lots of hugs onto them. Smelling the backs of their necks.. it's powerful that scent.

Listening: Sia's Chandaleir - still. The new Elbow album and the new Natalie Merchant album.

Reading: Tara Brach's wonderful 'True Refuge', The lovely 'Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society'. News articles up the wazoo about alcohol related problems in this country. Magazine articles headed "Alcohol: Beating the Burning Desire"

Watching: The Voice, My Kitchen Rules, One Born Every Minute, Football World Cup!

Drinking: Green tea in the morning, chamomile tea at night. Two instant coffees during the day. Fizzy water with dinner. Lemon, lime & bitters at a restaurant with girlfriends. Fancy home-made ginger beer tonight because it's Friday and I feel like it.

Waiting: 1 week until I cry on the TV revealing my drinking problem. 9 days until the magazine with my face in it hits the newsstands. 2 weeks until my book is released.

Printing: Lovely comments and emails and watching my inspiration board grow - it's now spreading out onto the study door. Keep 'em coming. It's working.

Love, Mrs D xxx

Tuesday, June 10, 2014

On community and inspiration...

I actually got up this morning and instead of showering put my swimsuit on under my clothes and drove the boys to school intending to head straight to the pool to swim some lengths. Hard out swimming, swimming, swimming to get some of the nervous energy out of my body. I haven't done that for years!

But when I bloody got there the pool was closed for maintenance. Can you bloody believe it!!!!!!!!

So here I am home again and will instead do some housework with the music turned up loud.

Yes there is a part of me that is freaking out about the media that is about to come out with my book being released… and that fact that I am exposing myself so widely … but then yesterday I thought to myself that I can choose to head into this phase of my life with nerves and fear.. or I can choose to head into this phase of my life with energy and excitement.

I choose the latter…! Energy and excitement! But will take measures to help with the nerves and fear that will creep in from time-to-time. Hence the swimming that wasn't. Maybe tomorrow.

The thing is it might seem like I'm doing this all on my own.. exposing my big dark demon, sobbing on the tele as I recount my last drinking days.. showing everyone all my truths. Yes it's just me. But what people won't be able to see - and what I feel so keenly - is the massive bubble of support that I have behind me.

Because the truth is I'm not alone. I've just one member of a massive community of like-minded men and women. I've actually formed this image in my mind of me standing alone (in my pink onesie) and a ginormous hot-air balloon sized bubble floating up around me .. grey and shimmery and ghostly.. like magic.. made up of faceless but ever-present and very lovely and grounding people.

You - the online recovery community. We are all in this together. And just because I'm enough of a show-off to get my face on the tele and in a magazine doesn't mean this is all about me. This is about all of us. This is about demonstrating that so many of us ordinary, everyday people can't control the drug of alcohol... so we dig deep, do some amazing, brave hard work, take it away and live sober.

I've started making myself a little inspiration board .. have printed off some of the amazing comments that I've been getting lately and stuck them on there.. I'll keep adding to it. Because you guys are here with me and I really appreciate it. You are giving me strength.

Love, Mrs D xxx

Friday, June 6, 2014

A pimple on the backside of my life...

I think that's how she described it. Or was it a wart? I can't remember. It was two days ago and I'm exhausted.

We were in a bookshop filming sequences for the TV item they're doing on me ... sequences of my book going on shelves.. me signing some.. yadda yadda. The bookshop lady had a quick chat with me off camera at the end and said "so well done on the book.. are you feeling excited..?" and I was like "yeah.. I guess I am.. it's hard to separate the whole I-wrote-a-book joy from the whole I'm-opening-up-publically-about-my-drinking-problem nerves." She nodded wisely and then said "yeah.. because you're baring your wart (or pimple) to the world." Gulp.

Yes. Yes I am.

There's lots I could say about how intense and draining and fun and freeing and nervewracking and exciting and {insert adjective here} this filming process is. Three long days of me doing this, that and the other over and over. But I just want to talk about the most lovely moments.

Standing at the end of a peer with the wind whipping around me...fresh air in my face. Not sure what the cameraman was doing behind me but I just breathed long and deep and looked at the clouds. It was freaking awesome.

Standing at the kitchen sink pausing from washing dishes as the camera moved away to film something else.. pausing.. closing my eyes and pausing.. breathing...eyes closed... it was a peaceful, calm, lovely little moment...

Getting a break from filming for a couple of hours today when the crew went to interview someone else. Running a bubble bath and lying in it. Just lying in it. A bubble bath.

The longer I am sober the more I take those moments when I can and relish them. It makes a big difference.

But it's all going fine, the TV crew are lovely, and I'm trying to push aside any tricky emotions that I might be feeling and remember the reason I am doing all of this. I'm not doing it to bare my pimple (or wart) to the world. I'm doing it to show that it is possible to go from a place of utter boozy misery to a place of lovely, ordinary, happy sobriety.

It's not a wart (or pimple) it's a badge of honour. I used to be locked in an addiction and now I'm free. Look at that.

Love, Mrs D xxx

P.S. Are you inn AA or did you use to be? Take part in this study!! A wonderful, curious, dedicated sober woman is doing the research. Totally anonymous. All the info you need is here.

Monday, June 2, 2014






1000 DAYS SOBER TODAY!!!!!!!!


Still can't wait to be one of those super-cool experienced old-hands who casually drops that they've got 15 years of sobriety under their belt. That will be awesome. But for now I'm just going to celebrate my big 4-digit milestone.

And because I'm being so ridiculously self-centered and self-congratulatory here is a picture of ME ME ME!! Taken on Friday when I was all glammed up for the magazine shoot.


Love, Mrs D xxx