Lucy Vanhook doesn’t remember life without alcohol. Her nanny put bourbon in the baby bottle, and she used to crawl and drink out of cocktail glasses left out at her parents’ parties.
Her life also was filled with horses and riding. As a member of a prominent thoroughbred family and the first child and grandchild in the family, expectations were high for Lucy. She started showing horses at age 4 and contemplated trying out for the Olympic team.
Lucy’s life also was filled with abuse. From ages 5 to 11, she was sexually abused but never told anyone. In addition, while modeling in Indianapolis, she was raped.
Lucy went to boarding school, where no one cared what you did as long as you made good grades – which she did. She went on to Georgetown College, married at age 19, and endured more abuse and more drinking.
She stopped drinking and smoking while she was pregnant but still suffered eight miscarriages. Lucy quit working because her husband wanted to be able to control her movements. She eventually gave birth to two beautiful daughters, and she left her husband when the abuse began on them. Lucy was on the street with two daughters.
Her second husband also drank. When it was good, it was really good. When it was bad, it was really bad with a lot of verbal abuse.
In 1995, Lucy had a terrible car accident. Doctors didn’t think she would walk again. After 13 surgeries and nine years of rehab, Lucy eventually regained her mobility.
But she was now hooked on pain pills. The doctors eventually cut off her prescriptions, but a friend showed her how to purchase the pills online. She went through two trust funds to finance her addiction.
Her youngest daughter staged an intervention with the help of a friend who worked for Recovery Works. As the friend drove Lucy to Recovery Works in Georgetown, she handed Lucy a letter from her oldest daughter that stated: “Mom, we’re done. Good-bye.” Then her youngest daughter looked her in the eyes, said “we’re done,” then turned and walked out the door.
Lucy was defiant. She wouldn’t admit that she was an alcoholic but thought if she could just get off pills, she would be fine.
But the more sober she got, the more she liked it – even AA, which Lucy originally thought was a “cult for quitters.”
Lucy, who is now admissions lead for Recovery Works in London, continues to work the program and recently celebrated 15 years of sobriety. She now has a relationship with her daughters, grandchildren, as well as her mother.
Lucy is quick to point out that life isn’t perfect. She lost the love of her life when he died of a heart attack, and she almost died last spring from undiagnosed pneumonia. But, through it all, she hasn’t relapsed.