Addiction can take many forms. Drink, drugs, sex, food, pretty much anything can be turned into an addiction when you think about it. It’s the constant need to fill the emptiness that consumes you slowly day by day. That need to drown one’s brain cells and become completely paralytic to the point you forget your own name. It’s scary how easy it is to fall down the rabbit hole…
Today dear reader I am reviewing Alcoholic Betty (Published February 15th 2020) By Elisabeth Horan and HAPPY PUBLICATION DAY! A big thank you to the publishers Fly On The Wall Press for my copy to review, always appreciated. Let’s dive into some poetry, after you.
About The Author
Elisabeth Horan is an imperfect creature from Vermont advocating for animals, children and those suffering alone and in pain – especially those ostracized by disability and mental illness. She is Editor in Chief at Animal Heart Press and Co-Editor at Ice Floe Press.
The brave and vulnerable poetry collection of Elisabeth Horan’s past relationship with alcohol. Unflinchingly honest, Horan holds a light for those who feel they will not reach the other side of addiction.
Horan’s addiction overflows onto the page full of pain and emotion. She stands before the reader naked, exposed, speaking honestly about her past relationship with alcohol. It’s as raw as you can imagine, showing the reader the darkest and lowest moments of Horan’s addiction.
This is a difficult read, these are honest, brutal poems that break your heart as you watch Horan struggle with her inner demons. It’s relatable, not just to addicts but also those fighting with mental health, depression and self-loathing. There is a lot to learn and absorb through Horan’s poems, it leaves you feeling emotionally drained, yet optimistic about the path in front of you. She reminds the reader that they are not alone, are not horrible and have self worth. Her words are the much needed wake up call and reassures them that things will get better, slowly but there is a chance of a future once you put the bottle down.
Horan’s poetry shows the struggles that come with giving up an addiction. She is paranoid, puts herself down and comments negatively on her weight. But she is a survivor, a fighter and is much stronger than she gives herself credit for. It’s human to feel and express these thoughts. It’s how we decided to act and take charge that reveal our true selves. No one is prefect and we all have bad days, but it’s down to us to change course or follow the white rabbit.
Here I go again, down the rabbit hole,
Chasing things I cannot touch,
Wrapping their oily arms around me,
Jagermeister, weed & American Spirits –
Vices I gave up years ago.
God, what I wouldn’t do for a cigarette.
I was doing so great last night, not even crying –
Not hating myself
[Extract from My Own Blair Witch Project]
I admired Horan’s bravery and courage to write about her past. It must have been difficult to go back and unearth tainted memories, ones she wishes to forget. However in ways it must have been a therapeutic experience to use her passion as a part of a healing process. To look at what damage you have caused and sort out the best solution to begin on repairing yourself. It’s brave and takes courage to admit your mistakes and make amends.
Today I made it through a whole day. I was so strong…Almost a whole
dayNever mind, no, not the whole day. I am in the car. I am driving to
the store. I am buying intoxicants. I did not make today. Not at all. I
failed again today.
[Extract from I Bumble About Like A Total Dick]
Horan plunges the reader into some dark murky waters where suicidal thoughts have a regular slot. She shows the reader how much this addiction can take over your life, filling your head constantly with its toxin. She has a sharp tongue and laughs off the reality of the situation at times, not caring about the consequences or where they will lead. It’s conflicting as she desperately fights against her urge. It’s a real life representation of the underworld that many of us fall prey to.
I have to feel them burn my throat
I cannot go to the party without
I must have a beer
I must have enough to get through the night
How will I get to the store?
How will I do it without them knowing
What I am doing
I have to – I cannot exist without this intoxicant
[Extract from Why can’t I stop?]
Horan’s poems not only explore her expeditions with alcoholism but she also reflects on why she drinks. She strips back layer after layer, deep to the bone to see what really lies underneath. Her father is often mentioned and his absence in her childhood is apparent. The reader feels the sadness and loneliness that Horan is struggling with. They want her to succeed, can see the torment she is in as they reach out to hold her hand and say “You can do this”. It makes you realise how small and fragile we all are. We are only human and we do bruise easily.
I give Alcoholic Betty By Elisabeth Horan a Four out of Five paw rating.
This took balls to write, huge balls and I applaud you Horan for this heartbreaking insight to your haunting past. It is a brave, powerful and inspiring collection that encourages others that there is always a chance of life once you start taking control again. You’ve got this. You can do it. Well done!