Are Other People’s Drinking Habits My Business?

 

I just took the dog for a walk around the neighbourhood and it’s glass recycling day so the pavements were all lined with green plastic bins. I was very nosy and examined them all, wondering about the householders who owned them.

Bottle count on recycling day…

There were a lot of these green bins (no larger than a cardboard box) overflowing with bottles – like mine would have been back in the day – but also a surprising number that were largely empty. In fact, as I went on I started realizing that more of them were empty-ish than were overflowing, giving me the impression that most people in my neighbourhood are moderate drinkers (unless of course they dispose of their empties in other ways). It was a fascinating little glimpse into other people’s drinking habits.

 

Funny how my thoughts and feelings about other people’s drinking have changed over the years.

 

When I was an enthusiastic boozer I thought most people were exactly like me. I thought everyone had wine at 5pm every single night. And I figured everyone saw parties and weddings as a good excuse to drink more than normal. I assumed everyone thought being a good host was all about serving your guests wine (wine, and more wine).

 

In short I thought most people of the world were as boozy as I was. And because I thought this way, when I first quit one of my main concerns was how on earth could I exist on this planet as a non drinker?

 

I assumed I’d be utterly miserable at events – standing in the corner alone crying into my mocktail while everyone else partied on the dance floor, heartily drinking, smirking and whispering about me.

 

I guessed that I’d be sat on the sofa every weekend bored and miserable while everyone else gadded about town having the most amazing time ever.

 

And I figured that no-one would ever want to come to my house because I’m such a sad-sack now that I don’t drink.

 

Huh – not everyone is getting hammered at parties…

Let me tell you, none of these things came true.

 

First of all, I was astounded to discover that not everyone is getting hammered when out at parties, events and weddings. In actual fact there are loads of people who go out socializing and don’t aim to get as much booze into them as they can. I am not the odd one out at all! (And sometimes it’s the drunk people who are being whispered about, but I never realised that when I was the drunk one).

 

Next I realised through connecting with hundreds of other sober people that there are many, many of us who spend our weekend nights cozy at home not drinking. I’m very happy to stay indoors on a Friday or Saturday night and not be traipsing around town spending loads of money and making myself extremely tired and sick the next day. I also love setting in for an evening at home secure in the knowledge that I’m not alone in doing this.

 

 

Staying grounded in truth

And finally I learned that my most genuine and heartfelt friends are those who don’t care that I now don’t drink. And I’ve formed awesome new friendships with people who don’t care I’m sober either. As far as I know nobody avoids me because they don’t drink (and if they do then fair enough because if it’s that big of a deal for them we’re probably better off not mixing).

 

Not only have my eyes been opened to the reality of other people’s drinking habits (that they’re not all enthusiastic boozers like I used to be) but also I simply care a whole lot less. What other people drink is none of my business. And what they think about me not drinking is none of my business either. If I stay grounded in my truth – that I am infinitely calmer and happier now that I’m sober – then everything is alright in my world.

 

Better than alright in fact. It’s fab.

 

 

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 awfully 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 website. She lives in Wellington, New Zealand with her husband, three sons and a labrador puppy. Lotta's new book 'Mrs. D Is Going Within' is out in June 2017. It charts how she developed nourishing and powerful habits to rebuild herself as a calm, grounded and emotionally robust individual after a life-time of drinking.