In this episode Lisa Clair joins our Discussion to talk about her ongoing struggle with alcohol, touch on the drug education system, and share her life experiences. Her story with alcohol started out pretty normal, drinking on occasion in high school. It wasn’t until she started college when that all changed. She recognized her alcohol use was a problem dating back to her second year of college. While she realized drinking was becoming an issue, she didn’t admit to herself that she was an alcoholic until she called AA in 2011. This was because she was aways able to have periods of sobriety, for example when she was pregnant.
Nonetheless Lisa played a character really well, maintaining good grades and achieving a master’s degree. She maintained the image that everything was fine for a long time. Even going years, from 2011 to 2015, without drinking. It was during that dry period when she separated from her husband after 25 years, because without the alcohol they really didn’t have much in common.
On numerous occasions she has found herself in the hospital from drinking. Over the past year her disease has seriously progressed. This past June she woke up in the hospital with alcohol paralysis. During that experience her short term memory was gone and she couldn’t walk or write her name. Since 2015 she’s been to the hospital on three occasions and rehab four different times. It’s interesting to me that during her four year period of sobriety, from 2011 to 2015, she never went into a rehabilitation program. Lisa worked Alcoholics Anonymous rigorously but never went into inpatient. She’s been in and out of programs since June of 2015.
When asked what was different about that four year stint of sobriety Lisa replied, “I was just kind of in warrior mode. The happier I got the more I wanted to be sober, and the more I was sober the more involved and the closer we were. I think they were a huge driving force I don’t know if it was as much doing for myself as it was doing it for them. They were the happiest times of the last ten years that I’ve had, and then when I relapsed I felt like I just ruined everything.”
Her story shows the progressive nature of addiction. After four years of sobriety she picked up a bottle and went right back to where she was four years earlier. During her last relapse she experienced hallucinations. Lisa has had an interesting experience working in a variety of school districts with her career as a speech pathologist.
What We Discuss with Lisa:
- Lisa defines addiction as, ““definitely a disease and it’s not something I’ve done for fun in decades. It’s frustrating both for myself and for my family. There’s fear, anger, and misunderstanding. It’s also an experience I wouldn’t wish on anyone”
- She shares her experience growing up in a family environment where alcohol was rarely consumed and touches on the disconnect she’s experienced with her family not being able to understand the disease
- She discusses the progression of her alcohol use from high school to college when things really begun to become a problem
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