Dysfunctional Drinking – Am I Being the Fun Police?


I was scrolling through Instagram a couple of days ago when I saw a photo that a local celebrity had posted. It was of a takeaway cup filled with wine and the caption read: “Sneaking a light beverage into the school prize giving tonight.”


The photo was liked by over 2,000 people and there were over a hundred comments. All of them of the “love your style!” and “this is genius!” variety. I thought for a second about posting an alternative viewpoint (“this isn’t healthy behaviour!”) but stopped myself. I didn’t want to come across as the “fun police” (a dreaded thing to be in my country), nor did I want to judge this person publicly. But I was being a bit judgmental I have to admit.


 Sneaking Alcohol?

The truth is, I do think it’s dysfunctional taking wine into a public place not meant for drinking. A school prize giving, I mean, really? Are you that desperate for your fix? I know these events can be torturous and long, but they don’t happen often. Can’t you wait until you get home to have a wine?


I also felt dismayed because it was yet another example of an outward normalizing of dysfunctional drinking. This celebrity has a following, many people like and admire her, so her actions have power. With this post she is influencing people to think this type of behaviour is ‘cool’ and acceptable. Which in my view it’s not.


I know I’m being a judgmental cow, and that I’m totally biased, being as I am an alcoholic in recovery. But I’d like it if we didn’t glorify this type of drinking behaviour.



Personal Baggage…

I’m bringing plenty of my own personal baggage into my judgments. And not just because of how I view things now as a sober adult. I was actually kicked out of my own senior school prize giving for being drunk. In 1989, at age 17, I arrived at my school hall full of gin and a sassy attitude and made a spectacle of myself, so I was asked to leave. I thought I was cool and hip and got kicked out. I didn’t give a toss.


Didn’t give a toss about how people saw my drinking behaviour for the next 20 years either. In fact truth be known I probably had a similar attitude as the wine-sneaking celebrity when it came to my alcohol consumption.


I thought it was fine to drink pretty much anywhere, any time, and I did firmly believe that booze was vital for fun and guaranteed to make events fun.


The Times are Changing…

But times have changed for me. I’m 6 years past my last drink now and have had a complete turnaround in my thinking. My eyes are now fully open to the fallacy that alcohol is necessary, fun, cool and ok to drink whenever and wherever.


Now I just see it as an expensive, soul-numbing liquid that shifts reality unnecessarily and detaches me from my natural emotions. But this is me now. And not everyone needs to live and feel like me.


Actually, as I write this and reflect on my judgments I think I need to not be bothered when I see social media posts like this one. I think I need to not care what others are doing. I think it’s probably best if I just focus on what I’m doing and the impact it’s having on me and the people around me.



That way I won’t end up being a judgemental cow, I’ll just remain content in my personal life choices and comfortable with the fact that other people are free to make theirs.


And that’ll be a very good thing.



Lotta Dann drank alcohol steadily and heavily from the age of 15 to the age of 39. She stopped drinking only when her habit had reduced her to a sloppy, miserable mess and it became apparent she had no control over her intake. She wrote her way sober with the help of an anonymous blog called 'Mrs. D Is Going Without', which started out small but slowly turned into something incredibly large and powerful. Her memoir 'Mrs. D Is Going Without' was published 3 years after she stopped drinking. Now happily sober, Lotta spends her days parenting and running a busy household, promoting recovery through her blogs and social media accounts, and managing the Living Sober NZ website. She lives in Wellington, New Zealand with her husband, three sons and a Labrador puppy. Lotta's book 'Mrs. D Is Going Within' was published in June 2017. And her newest book, 'The Wine O'Clock Myth: The Truth You Need To Know About Women and Alcohol' is available now. .