Monday, August 5, 2013


As I come up on five years of sobriety, I have decided to share a little bit about how I came to be here and what happened those first few years.

2008 was the year I started looking at myself; I mean REALLY looking at myself and I wasn't liking what I was seeing.

I wasn't a "bad" person. I was a "lost" person. I didn't deal with my problems or my pain, I didn't want to see them so I drowned them in Irish whiskey and drugs.

It didn't occur to me until March that perhaps I had a problem. I decided to "go on the wagon" and check out one of those meetings.

I fell off the wagon about 25 days and one meeting later. I declared I was definitely NOT an alcoholic, just saying those words felt odd and embarrassing.

I drank more. After all, I must have lost some of the "tolerance" I spent years cultivating, and my birthday was coming up.

Drinking was fun! Wasn't it? I mean who doesn't want to wake up in the morning with their tongue glued dry to the roof of their mouth? Or have that pounding "whiskey/cigarette combo" headache that signifies vomit is in your future?

Right around my birthday my mother told me I looked yellow. I said "oh, it's my new make-up, wrong shade", and "I have a tan too". Ah yes, jaundice is so sexy. So is being 250lbs cause you drink as much as several Irish fishermen.

I was struggling, trying so hard to ignore all the facts that lay before me...I was going to see it soon.

A friend of mine was battling some demons during this time and I was scared and I wanted to help, but I knew it wasn't my battle. Still, I thought there must be some way I can help, or show more support.

While i pondered that one, I got news about another friend; a dear old friend. The news wasn't good. I won't go into detail, but alcohol was the cause of this horrible situation. He hung on for about a month and he was gone. I was devastated.

I still DIDN'T get it. I did what I always did and drank heavily the day we say goodbye to him.

A week later I went to an open bar wedding out of state. I packed the essentials (change of clothes, bottle of Jameson, and some coke). I wanted to make sure I had more to drink in the hotel, after I drank as much as I could at the open bar wedding, and the coke always guaranteed that I could, it was "drinking insurance".

I drunk dialed many people that night/morning...and was I ever hungover. I made it to the hotel restaurant before we hit the road and had emergency bloody marys and a plate full of bacon, otherwise the drive home would have been even worse. I called ahead to a bar at home and ordered another plate of bacon and bloody's for my arrival.

DISGUSTING. I shudder when I relive this, and I relive this period of time every year, so I never forget how sick I was. I went home and slept it off for a few and woke up to go visit my friend that I was worried about. I slept there for another hour and woke up covered in sweat and feeling lower than low.

I declared that I was done, and I wasn't doing "this" anymore...

I got a text the next morning. It shook me off my foundation. I will never forget that day and how it unfolded. A young, beautiful friend died. The details were confusing, and I am still troubled by them to this day.

Needless to say, I was off and running. Drinking heavily that whole week. The afternoon of the wake began with shots of Jameson (for strength). After the wake we drank at a Chinese joint (more Irish whiskey for me), and then I went back to my bar and drank even more. I stayed up all night drinking and doing drugs. I estimate that I drank, (probably underestimated), 2 & 1/2 liters of whiskey from 3pm - 7am...I slept, (if you can call it that), for maybe 20 minutes and had several people calling to make sure I was up and ready to go to the funeral.

I felt like the lowliest creature on earth that morning. I was surprised I didn't burst into flames when I entered the church. I was the only one wearing sunglasses through the entire service. I was mortified and disgusted and sad and confused and LOST. I went home and prayed to my friend that we just lost, and to my other friend that just passed. I WAS DONE. Help me, give me strength. I don't want to live like this anymore. I want to be a good influence and example for my other friend that is struggling too, that's the only way I can help.

I don't count that day as my first day of sobriety, as I had enough booze in my system to get a small country drunk. That day was the last day I had a drink. August 30, 2008 was the first day of the rest of my life...

This is not where the story ends dear reader, it's the beginning. It was not an easy time; life is not an easy game.

I am grateful to be here, writing this, remembering always, why I won't pick up again.

Splendid then...

"ESCAPE IS ESCAPE if i was out of booze anything but reality would do" - M.P.

P.S. I spent the majority of my life avoiding the feelings that accompanied death. I became more and more self destructive with each death. I don't know if it's because we lost so many friends, so quickly, when we were young. (Masco friends any opinion on that?)  I do know that death is still a big trigger for me.

R.I.P. Nipsyrussell 5/96 - 8.25.12

 Please donate to the walk I am participating in this fall. It's for the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention

 and no, nipsy did not kill himself...


  1. Lisa : )
    you're a very kind and beautiful young woman! once we put the things down that destroy us it's not that difficult to return to the kids our parents brought up. I consider you a friend whom i can talk to about most anything. you have lifted my spirits when I've been down and I hope I've been able to do the same for you : ) to the future : )

  2. it takes huge courage to do what you did, and to share this story with the rest of us. you're a remarkable person, elisa.