Book Review: Girl Walks Out of A Bar by Lisa Smith
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Lisa Smith outwardly appeared to be killing it at life. Young, intelligent and ambitious, Smith’s highly paid job as a lawyer afforded her a swanky New York apartment, holidays in the Hamptons, expensive high-heels and a non-stop-party lifestyle. But behind the success and glamour, Smith was harbouring a painful secret that was killing her in more ways than one: addiction. In her unflinching memoir Girl Walks Out of a Bar, Smith explores her alcohol and cocaine abuse spiralling out of control, the realisation she needs help, and her eventual sobriety.
“I was going off the rails and ruining everything. Another reason to hate myself.”
Smith writes with stark, witty honesty. Her memoir cuts through the b*ull shit to tell it how it is: standing naked in front of her fridge downing booze, constant paranoia, spending weekends alone doing cocaine, the gut-wrenching comedowns, and at her lowest point, choosing cocaine over her family.
“Addiction seemed to be playing a game with me, upping the stakes and waiting to see if I’d fold.”
There are no frills or romanticising in this memoir as Smith takes her readers on a roller-coaster ride of wild highs and crashing lows. What I loved about this book is how un-pushy it is: Smith isn’t trying to force high-and-mighty morals down your throat or beg you to feel sorry for her. Rather, she is simply presenting the two parts of her life, active addiction and sobriety, with honesty. This allows the readers to take from it what they want.
“I couldn’t remember the last time I had seen a sunrise without despising it. When coke and booze can keep me up all night, there was no joy in the dawning of a new day.”
The book ends with Smith still fairly new in her sobriety, but there is no doubt that it is a message of hope. As Smith settles into her new sober life, her world brightens, her work improves, and she is able to enjoy living again.
I read this book when I was first dipping my toe into sobriety, still a little uncertain about what lay ahead. Like Smith, I’d spent many a night sky-high and black-out drunk, and I was scared of what would be left if I gave-up the lifestyle. Would I have to reinvent myself completely? Would life become boring? How would I take off the edge? Ultimately, Smith’s memoir showed me that, despite the fear, people can blossom in sobriety.
I would highly recommend Girl Walks Out of a Bar to anybody interested in addiction and recovery.