Writing heals: the story of Mrs D


Mrs D is Going Without. Lotta Dann. A memoir

Writing can heal. Some people discover this through therapy (or perhaps an online writing course like Write Over Divorce), and some people make it happen all by themselves.

Lotta Dann was a wife-and-mother with a perfect life and a drinking problem. One day she decided privately, suddenly, independently, urgently, to stop drinking alcohol. She didn’t seek help or join AA or go to rehab or tell a friend or consult a doctor. This enormous decision was her little secret.

Lotta did just one thing besides decide: she started a daily blog to document her first year of not-drinking, and called it Mrs D is going without. And that one spontaneous act became an extraordinary source of strength.

How blogging about sobriety helped Mrs D

Right from the start:

  • by recording her decision, she made it visible and impossible to deny
  • writing helped her to confront one day at a time without getting overwhelmed
  • she could encourage herself and remind herself of why she had stopped
  • blogging daily imposed a daily discipline
  • writing enabled her to explore and express a torrent of ideas and feelings.

Then something happened that surprised Mrs D: other people found her blog. An online community sprang up around her. Other people seemed to be experiencing her struggle vicariously, began to support her — and in a way, to depend on her. She had started alone, but now she was far from alone in her battle for sobriety.

How Mrs D now helps other recovering alcoholics

I’ve read the book of the blog and it’s a brave, vulnerable and honest story.

I salute Lotta Dann for her courage. I am amazed at the way she has used writing as therapy, meditation, cognitive training and human support.

She now uses her wisdom to help others online and elsewhere.

10 thoughts on “Writing heals: the story of Mrs D

  1. Kudos to Lotta! No doubt she’ll help many. I’d love to read her book. Thanks for sharing, Rachel.

  2. lifecameos says:

    Yes, her blog is amazing. What determination !

  3. Very inspirational and thought-provoking. Thanks for bring this to our attention, Rachel. 🙂

  4. Glynis Jolly says:

    Uhmm, after browse Lotta’s blog for a few minutes, I’m wondering if this exercise would work for dysfunctional brains too. Not that it would make it any better, but maybe be able to cope better?

    1. I don’t think there’s a simple yes or no to that. First, I am not sure what you mean by dysfunctional. But I do know writing therapy is valuable in pain management and trauma recovery, and blogging is a precious means of expression and communication for many on the autism spectrum. So: good thought!

  5. Val says:

    I just had a look at her blog (which I shall return to later) and saw in her side panel a post titled “Fucking bullshit bollocks…” and so of course now I am a fan of hers. 🙂

    I wish I’d thought to blog when I was withdrawing from Valium – despite being taken off it by my (then new) doctor, I pretty much had to do that by myself, no help from anyone else. Once a blog gets going and builds a community around it, it’s quite amazing what can be achieved. And writing, in itself of course is therapeutic.

    1. Wow that withdrawal must have been hard alone. But I am glad Lotta’s blog meets a kindred spirit in you.

  6. Robyn Haynes says:

    I love this story. No problem with drinking nor even a drinker, but I was inspired nevertheless.

    1. It is remarkable, I think.

  7. Aunt Beulah says:

    I’ve long believed in the healing power of writing and have used it to propel myself over some bumps in my life, but never have I pulled forth the sort of determination and grit from myself that Mrs D’s writing displays. Thank you for bringing her to my attention.

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