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Ann Leary Talks about Being a Closet Alcoholic

US author Ann Leary is best known for her book The Good House, which became a New York Times bestseller. She has also written other great titles including Outtakes from a Marriage, and An Innocent, a Broad. Her husband is the actor and comedian Dennis Leary. Ann Leary became famous herself because her honest books have managed to win her so many fans. She is also a recovering alcoholic.

Ann Leary the Closet Drinker

Ann Leary describes herself as a closet drinker. She managed to hide the worst of her behaviour from family and friends by drinking alone after everyone had gone to bed. She claimed that she took to alcohol because it made he feel better about herself. Ann also felt sure that she could not be an alcoholic because she never drank in the morning, and she did not show any obvious signs of neglecting her family.

The drinking ‘career’ of Ann Leary began when she was about fourteen years of age, growing up in New England. She had just moved to a new area and did not have many friends; she remembers feeling very insecure when she was around boys. She fell in with a crowd of teenagers who liked to drink rum or wine on the beach. Ann fell in love with alcohol from the start, as it increased her sense of confidence, making her feel far less insecure around others; it also made her feel smarter and funnier.

Negative Side Effects

It wasn’t long before Ann Leary began experiencing negative side effects because of her drinking. One of the most serious involved having blackouts – she would wake up the next day in a friend’s house with no memory of how she got there. This behaviour continued all the way through high school and college. She would regularly try to cut down on her drinking but never seemed able to maintain this control long term.

The fact that Ann was a blackout drinker meant that she would regularly upset friends and family but would not remember it the next day. People would be angry with her, but she would have no idea why. She would also do things that were embarrassing when in the middle of a blackout. Ann noticed that it would only take about three drinks before she felt out of control.

When Ann met and married her husband Dennis, she decided to stop drinking completely. She managed to do this without any help, staying sober for fourteen years. Her life improved greatly because of this period of abstinence, and she no longer needed to worry about losing control and upsetting people.

Starting to Drink Again

One night Ann decided that she wanted to experiment with alcohol again. She had been sober for 14 years, and wondered if she had been making a big deal out of nothing by giving up in the first place. She felt sure she would be able to moderate her intake this time. Ann made the decision to only drink wine, promising herself that she would give up if she ever had a blackout.

Ann managed to control her drinking in the beginning. She found that it helped her relax, and it even improved her sex life. Then one Christmas she got drunk in front of her whole family. Up until this point, she had been able to hide her escalating consumption by only drinking after everyone had gone to bed. This event was enough for her to see that she would never be able to use alcohol safely, so she decided to give up for good this time.

Ann Leary is Not the Typical Alcoholic

Ann Leary used the fact that she did not fit in with the alcoholic stereotype to justify her excesses and her relapse. The reality is that most alcoholics do not fit the stereotype. Some people who are addicted only drink in the evenings, or only drink beer, or are able to stop drinking for long periods; it is not really about any of those things. The real sign of alcoholism is when people start feeling they are unable to stop, and for this, Ann is very typical.

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