Letting the world know all about us!!

Thursday 21 Aug, 2014, 10:54am by Mrs D 14 comments

I’ve just had a new article published on The Fix – another addiction and recovery website you should know about (if you don’t already). Loads of great stuff on here, news, expert advice, etc etc.

They say about themselves; “The Fix is the world’s leading website about addiction and recovery, featuring a daily mix of breaking news, exclusive interviews, investigative reports, essays and blogs on sober living, lifestyle and cultural resources, as well as knowledge and wisdom from expert counsel. Our stated editorial mission – and sole bias – is to destigmatize all forms of addiction and mental health matters, support recovery, and assist toward humane policies and resources.” So yeah… quite an awesome website. I urge you to visit them and take a look around.

When I was emailing their commissioning editor about what she wanted me to write about this time she said “Do you have anything in mind? You have such a fun, optimistic attitude. Maybe how to stay upbeat when depression threatens? Or how to deal with cravings? I trust your judgment – what do you think?”

Shit.. I couldn’t think what to write! I sat on it for a few days…shit…I have to be upbeat.. but I’m not an expert in dealing with  depression… shit shit shit…

Then I thought; “Fuck it. I’ll just tell them what’s happening around me.” This is what came out….

Online Recovery Revolution, Kiwi Style

There’s a mini revolution going on in New Zealand. From where I sit it feels like the Internet has exploded! Hundreds and hundreds of kiwis are flocking online with one purpose and one purpose only – to get sober.

It all kicked off when a memoir I wrote got released last month. The book describes my drinking problem (high-functioning housewife, seemingly fine on the outside but in reality miserably addicted to wine), charts my route to sobriety (a solo mission with blogging my only support), and reveals the incredible community of support that I discovered online.

The book carries the same name as my blog – Mrs D Is Going Without.

My main objective in writing the book was to let people know how powerful and amazing online recovery is. That you can reach out anonymously from the comfort of your own home and connect with others around the world striving for the same goal – to live happily being alcohol free. Because getting sober requires two seemingly contradictory things, you have to do it yourself but you can’t do it alone.

I knew who I wanted to write the book for. I formed a picture in my mind of a shadowy figure, a housewife like me with her arms wrapped protectively around herself, feeling helpless and miserable and alone. Someone stuck in a boozy nightmare like I’d been. I’d hear her whisper to me “don’t stop, don’t stop.” It sounds cheesy but this imaginary person kept me going through the entire writing process. I wrote the book for her and thought if even if she alone entered into online recovery and freed herself from the clutches of booze after reading my book then I’d be glad.

I even wrote in the book’s introduction: “If one person stuck in a boozy nightmare instigates their own amazing transformation because of what I’m sharing, I’ll be a very happy camper.”

My publishers worked hard to generate publicity for me when the book came out. I went on the TV and cried reliving my last drinking days (couldn’t help myself, it’s a painful memory). I had my photo taken for magazines and newspapers. I did numerous radio interviews. It was an intense period, I didn’t sleep great for a few weeks. I was nervous but also wanted to talk about how wonderful it feels being sober. I don’t have any shame about revealing my drinking problem. Alcohol is addictive, everyone knows that, and I don’t think getting addicted to something that is addictive makes me weak or a bad person.

And I think it’s important to share about how amazing recovery is. Recovery Is Awesome! I’d shout it from the rooftops if I could. Luckily TV cameras, reporters notebooks and radio microphones meant I didn’t have to.

And shitballs…. the response. The night my crying face was revealed in full-screen glory on our highest rating TV programme (Sunday night current affairs) I had 30,000 hits on my blog.

THIRTY THOUSAND HITS IN ONE NIGHT!!!!!!!!!!

And I could see in my stats – all the hits were coming from New Zealand. The mini-revolution was on.

I was inundated with emails. Comments galore arrived on my blog. My Facebook page jumped from 11 to 2,000 likes in just a few days. Messages flooded in on Twitter and via text message. The torrent of feedback was unbelievable. Hundreds and hundreds and hundreds of people reached out to me. And overwhelmingly the message was “I’m just like you.”

I’m actually getting shivers writing this right now. My one shadowy figure – my imaginary person that I wanted to help – she was real. And she wasn’t alone.

We live in a country where alcohol is sold in the supermarkets next to the bread and milk. It’s treated like a harmless commodity and not like an addictive drug with a dark, destructive side. The government isn’t taking any action to change this approach, but quietly online hundreds of kiwis are rebelling.

We are taking that shitty alcohol out of our lives, we are gritting our teeth through the rough early adjustment phases, we are retraining our brains to see alcohol for the shit it is (and not the golden ticket to fun) and we are becoming fully alive, fully emotional, fully realized human beings.

Raw. Real. Recovered.

My Facebook page keeps growing. My blog stats are still through the roof. And we’ve now just launched a new online forum called Living Sober (www.livingsober.org.nz) which has nearly 1,000 registered members in just a couple of weeks. They’re all busy in there trying hard to turn their lives around and get sober. They’re boosting each other along, sharing tips and advice, being kind and non-judgmental – so grateful that finally there is an outlet to address what has previously been an unspoken problem. It’s heart-burstingly awesome.

Consider me a very happy camper indeed.

=====================

You can see the post online at The Fix here.

Love, Mrs D xxx

14 comments

  1. It sounds so inadequate Lotta but thank you from the bottom of my heart, I don’t believe in all honesty that I would have made it this far without you and this site to shimmy me along. 38 days ago i was desperate to get this stuff out of my life, now I am free , so please, just keep doing what ya keep doing, you are needed and appreciated more than you know xx

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  2. Mrs D, I read your book cover to cover and are now re reading the front chapters again. The reason your book was so powerful to me was not the online community ( although I am really enjoying that) but the fact that you are so normal (sorry to call you that!!!). I too was a high functioning boozer! I think the power is in the fact that we can relate to you. You are the face of a new kind of boozer ( can’t say the “A” word yet).

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  3. Thank you, thank you thank you. My husband is using the site and doing good today. He encouraged me to look at it too but I am not a drinker and feel like a gatecrasher and while I learn a lot from the comments I am mindful that he and others need this to be their space. That said, those loving and trying to support their loved ones on the sober ( or drunk) journey would really benefit from a sister site where we could help each other, offload, give tips and rant . Although not a drinker I have a terrible relationship with alcohol and the buttoned down anger at how it has impacted on my life, as well as the feelings of shame, lack of self worth and guilt ( sound familiar- not totally the domain of alcoholics!) is sometimes a lot to take on your own. So please Mrs D if you can think of a way to set up or help those in the periphery too that would be great. I know you have taken on so much already, so I hate to even suggest it to you but happy to help if I can.

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    1. That is a great post. I can’t speak for the partners but my husband did just say it would be nice to offload about his grumpy wife (again) some days. He loves me really. :0

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  4. Superb Mrs D – you are going to go down in history! QSM in the offing ! For those non-kiwis – here’s what a QSM is :

    About the Queen’s Service Medal

    The Queen’s Service Medal (QSM) was instituted by New Zealand in 1975, at the same time as the Queen’s Service Order (QSO). The purpose of both the QSO and the QSM is to recognise voluntary service to the community and also elected or appointed public office. Up to 60 awards of the QSM can be made each year and recipients are entitled to use the post-nominal letters ‘QSM’ after their names. Military personnel are not eligible to be awarded the QSM for their military service, however, community service performed in a civilian capacity can be recognised by the award of the QSM.

    Between 1975 and May 2007, the QSM was divided into two sub-divisions: “for Community Service” to recognise voluntary service to the community, and “for Public Services” to recognise service through elected and appointed office. This distinction was removed on 21 May 2007. At this time the design of the QSM was slightly amended to reflect the changes. The effigy of The Queen is now the same as that used on other New Zealand medals, and the inscriptions on the medal now reads “FOR SERVICE” and “MŌ NGA MAHI NUI.

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