cover image Girl Walks out of a Bar

Girl Walks out of a Bar

Lisa Smith. SelectBooks, $17.95 (288p) ISBN 978-1-59079-321-3

At the onset of this gripping memoir, Smith readies for another day in the fast-paced world of Manhattan law, but after a few glasses of wine and hits of cocaine, she has an unexpected epiphany: if she continues to abuse her body with drugs and alcohol, she is likely to wind up dead. After a decade of using, Smith makes an impromptu decision to call her doctor and ask for admission to a detox program; by the end of the day she’s in a locked-down facility with a commitment to stay for a week. The following chapters review Smith’s evolution from a sweet Jewish girl from New Jersey, prone to compulsive eating, to a legal marketer at a Midtown law firm, where she routinely drinks and takes drugs while turning in stellar work. Even her friends (a caring but party-hard group) and family are unaware of the extent of her problem. Smith openly shares the lies, secrecy, depression, and isolation that define a life only made “livable” by alcohol. Her raw depiction unveils the pressures of her job (20% of lawyers have substance abuse problems, she reports) as well as the personal costs of addiction, including divorce, ill health, and self-loathing. Readers will root for this extraordinary woman as she travels the path to recovery, healing, and triumph over addiction; her riveting story will inspire both those who have been there and those who have not. (June)