One of the positives from the 2020 social distancing mandates was the development of new technology for making connections. Video conferencing tools made it possible to commune with far flung loved ones. And in the case of Sanford and Lotta Dann (known to many as Mrs. D), Zoom made it possible to “meet in person” after many years of working together long distance.
Lotta lives in Wellington, New Zealand with her husband and three sons (and a Labrador retriever). She “wrote her way sober” with a popular blog called Mrs. D Is Going Without. And her books Mrs. D Is Going Without and Mrs. D is Going Within were published in 2014 and 2017 respectively. Currently, Lotta runs a busy household and promotes recovery through her blogs, books, social media accounts, and by managing the Living Sober NZ website.
Lotta Dann has been a long-time contributer to Excursions as well. So, it was nice to chat with Lotta about her newest book, The Wine O’Clock Myth: The Truth You Need To Know About Women and Alcohol (available now).
The Wine O’Clock Myth – Interview with Lotta Dann
SH – You’ve been in recovery for nine years, congratulations. How did you do it?
Lotta Dann – I tried for two years to moderate my drinking, and I just couldn’t do it. So, I stopped cold turkey and have not had a drink in nine years. The one thing I would say is this – you cannot do it alone. For me, the online community and my blog were so important to my sobriety. You need that scaffolding: either with therapy or peer support. I hear it all the time, my husband doesn’t understand. Or people are crippled by shame and stigma. Connection is a game changer.
In New Zealand, I live in an environment where alcohol is normalized. We all do; and women are targeted. After I wrote my book Mrs D is Going Within, I told myself I was done writing books. But I kept seeing that the environment is stacked against women and felt the need to write one more book. Now I’m done!
SH – In your new book, The Wine O’Clock Myth, you talk about disconnection. You say sobriety allowed you to register your true feelings. How have your relationships changed?
Lotta Dann – Monumentally! I was totally disconnected and my emotions were blurred. When I got sober, I was forced to be with myself all the time. Be there all the time, and it caused me to soften to others. The result is that every relationship is deeper and more authentic. It all comes from within.
SH – Why do you think women’s alcohol use is increasing?
Lotta Dann – Because women are targeted in a damaging way! Alcohol is the latest ‘mother’s little helper’ for women who are busy, tired and stressed. The liquor industry tells us they have the answer. And the continuous barrage on social media, with ‘funny’ memes about ‘mommy juice’ and the ‘stress relief’ of alcohol reinforces the myth. It’s bloody not the answer!
SH – In your new book (it’s great by the way – for men and women), you tell 20 women’s stories. How did you select them?
Lotta Dann – Thanks. And it was random, actually. I found many of the women online. These stories are not particularly special – we all have stories and they are all interesting.
SH – Talk about your advocacy.
Lotta Dann – In New Zealand we do a lot of things right socially, but we have big problems with addiction and suicide. And shame keeps these problems hidden. I want to strip the shame … talk about it … Because of this, I speak at recovery workshops, manage the Living Sober NZ site, and serve as a role model. I try to model kindness and toss out the judgement.
I am looking at recovery from a broader spectrum now; however, as much as I am interested in others, I am still focused on me!
SH – That’s fair! What is the best part about being sober?
Lotta Dann – Everything! I shudder to think what our lives would be like if I were still drinking. To think I might have missed so much of this real, raw life I lead. My 16-year old son is proud of me, and that says it all.
Thanks so much Lotta, it was fun meeting you in “person”. We hope another book is in there somewhere!