Monday, June 22, 2015

One year ago today...

I can't believe it actually. It is one year ago today since I went on the tele and outed myself as an alcoholic in recovery. One year ago since I cried reliving my last drinking days. One year ago since I came out publicly from behind my safe 'Mrs D' moniker and revealed my true, full identity. One whole year.

I made the decision to go public months before this TV outing when I contacted a publisher about writing a book. I knew that if I got a book deal I would publish as 'Lotta Dann' and not Mrs D.. and in doing so my cloak of anonymity would be thrown off. I was prepared for that, so that when the publishers said yes, it felt ok.

But boy did things take a massive turn when TVNZ's Sunday programme decided to do a piece on me and my book. I knew this would blow things wide open. This is New Zealand's most watched television show. Sunday night prime time current affairs. Holy Shit......

So yeah, I was nervous as all hell about doing it, but also quietly strong and determined. I told myself that it didn't matter what anyone thought or said, it just mattered that others who might be locked in a boozy hell-hole could see that they're not alone. My friend Sue was also asked to take part in the piece - it was also a big decision for her to go public. You can read her reflection on the process here.

Filming took four days. The crew were lovely but it was exhausting and extremely emotionally draining. On the day they packed up and left I took to my bed at 3pm with a pit of anxiety in my chest. I felt incredibly vulnerable and exposed. But I trusted that they would do a good job, and I kept firmly in mind the main reason why I was doing this - to let others know that there is a way out of the hell of addiction.

Today one year ago Mr D was in America for work and my mum was up staying to help with the kids and offer me emotional support. We went ten-pin bowling in the afternoon to keep ourselves occupied. We were nervous!

Close to the time of the show airing we all got our onesies on and gathered in the living room with drinks and nibbles. Then it aired....

You can watch it here.

The reaction was swift and immense. Holy shitballs-a-rama. I was inundated with emails, text messages, Twitter and Facebook messages, and phone calls. Hundreds and hundreds and hundreds of people reached to me out and most of them were strangers saying 'I'm just like you'. I'm not exaggerating. Hundreds. It was an amazing response and the ripples continue to this day.

Since then I've done numerous media appearances, many public speaking events and have launched a community recovery website that has thousands of members. A few Living Sober members are today celebrating their one-year soberversary because when they saw me on the tele they decided to stop the boozy madness as well.

Going public with my drinking problem is one of the best decisions I've ever made. It was worth doing.

Love, Mrs D xxx

14 comments:

  1. Mrs D, you are amazing! If it wasn't for you I may be locked in my own booze hell still. My path hasn't been smooth sailing but I am on day 36 today and I'm hoping that I never have to have another day 1 ever again. You helped me realise that I wasn't alone. And I thank you with all my heart. A x

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  2. Happy outiversary and thank you for making a difference!

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  3. Ms. Penelope. DroppedJune 22, 2015 at 10:08 PM

    Mrs. D
    Thank you. Words can't do justice to the work you are doing for families. You are quite simply a wonderful human being.
    xPenny

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  4. Thank you so much! Just watched that here in Ireland and it's so amazing to actually hear and see someone pretty much describe what not being a normal drinker is like. Love that bit where you say the 'push/pull of both wanting and not wanting to drink. I had that so much. I'm on day 46 now and while I'm struggling (not with the not drinking but with lots of emotions that have come up) I'm so glad that I've stopped. Watching that clip couldn't have come at a better time. Thank you again! My time to shine.

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  5. I was one of those 100's that reached out to you. I remember very clearly waiting all week for that segment after seeing the shorts for it advertised. I waited all week with anxiety and a desperate sense of need to watch it. It was like a helping hand reached out to me and gave me the hope and courage I needed and a place to begin from. Thanks for having the courage to put it out there.

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  6. OH MY GRACIOUS, Lotta! I LOVE your strength, your energy! That video was so inspiring! I have stopped for 106 days....my story is very much like yours. I loved what you said at the end. I will be watching this over and over again. Thank you! I loved your book, too! Bless you!

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  7. Because of you I started questioning my drinking. Thank you for everything you are doing.

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  8. Happy Anniversary!
    I love learning from you!
    xo
    Wendy

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  9. Watched the whole interview! Very well put dear. I, too am proud & 100% sure alcohol will never touch these lips again. Sober since July 5, 2011. We actually DID it!!

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  10. Awesome interview! Bravo and thank you! BTW, I also poured wine glasses that looked like yours, and I too actually looked up how much was in one serving and poured it from a measuring cup and was astonished.. and then said "fuck that" and poured the glass full again.

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  11. You changed lives forever Mrs D, few people can ever say that - your bravery enabled so many of us to find our own courage. ALONGTIMEOVERDUE.XXX

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  12. gosh! is it already a year? I cried with you and for you, for all of us and myself, I do that a lot even being still a drunk..... I bought your book... thought a lot, had a ton of little and big breaks since... finally finished your book on Saturday while overcoming a gut churning guilty hangover... it must be time...... holy shit ..... you ve been in my life constantly. one brave, awesome woman xoxo you rock sista xoxo love you xoxo sweet*pea*

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  13. Mrs. D I just found your blog & watched your video of you coming out as a alcohol dependent person. I could have been my story, although I've slipped a little further. I can do two bottles of wine before noon, and sometimes a third of I'm really on a bender. I'm a mother, feel so alone, it's obviously greatly affecting my life, but stopping has proved hard. 4 months here, maybe another month, two weeks, maybe another month...but always going back to the pit of hell. Feeling shitty, guilty, anxious, isolated from my family. I am sick of day one, but I'm going to try something different this time. I'm going to connect with others online, keep reading, keep listening. Keep posting day 1...again

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