INTERVIEWER: We know that one in four Americans has been affected by the family disease of alcoholism. How did your sister’s alcoholism affect you?
LISA: In my case, I certainly thought that somehow I had caused it or contributed to it. But there was something that I had done, and so of course, if there was something I have done, then there must be something I can do to fix it.
LISA: Right. And in my case, though, also my sister, who started drinking when I was around seven.
INTERVIEWER: Oh wow.
LISA: She was six years older and she actually told me that she believed that my birth was what led her to have to rely on alcohol and drugs. So I carried with me for a good part of my life, always the thought that somehow in some way I was the root of the disease of alcoholism with my sister. So it affected everything, affected me, the choices that I made. I was never good enough. I was going to be the best at whatever I was going to do, because somehow, if I could do that, I’d make up for the disappointment my parents felt with my sister. And, you know, somehow I was going to fix the situation by being the best. And, you know, you name it. And that failed. She still died of alcoholism. And it continued to affect every decision I made in my life,
INTERVIEWER: Even after she was gone?
LISA: Absolutely after she was gone. Although I would not have known that had it not been for the Al‑Anon program, showing me how the many decisions that I made in my life were at the core a reaction to the family disease of alcoholism.