PEI·Video

'I don't think I'll ever, ever, ever drink again': Why an Island server gave up booze

This Christmas was a very different one for 38-year-old Lisa Gallant of Charlottetown. The single mom said she can actually remember it, unlike so many other hazy holidays.

'I could easily put back 12 beer and a pint'

Lisa Gallant says the last few Christmases were a blur. It would be me ending up being really drunk on Christmas,' she said. 'And getting up early in the morning on Christmas Day, hungover, is no fun.' (Pat Martel/CBC)

This Christmas was a very different one for 38-year-old Lisa Gallant of Charlottetown. The single mom said she can actually remember it, unlike so many other hazy holidays. 

"It would be me ending up being really drunk on Christmas," said Gallant. 

Lisa Gallant says she's not hanging around with the same crowd as much. 'I had some pretty great drinking buddies that aren't my drinking buddies anymore.' (Pat Martel/CBC)

Gallant said her problems with alcohol began a few years ago at different location, when she started bartending. 

After a long shift of pouring drinks for others, Gallant would sit at the bar and drink. 

"I could easily put back 12 beer and a pint if I wanted to. If I was out, I could rack up a $200 bar tab," she said.

Why Lisa Gallant stopped drinking

CBC News PEI

5 years ago
2:51
Why Lisa Gallant stopped drinking 2:51

Hitting 'rock bottom'

"I've walked home in the dead of winter without my coat on. I've done all the stupid things I'm sure."

Lisa Gallant says her problems with alcohol began when she got a job as a bartender. 'If you don't have any sort of control, that job can destroy you.' (Pat Martel/CBC)

Gallant realized she had drinking problem last spring.

"It wasn't until March, where I hurt someone who means the world to me and basically hit rock bottom."

A mental fight

Quitting wasn't easy.

"I basically just suffered myself, at home for like four weeks straight, where it was just horrible," said Gallant.

"I felt like my body was really struggling. It wasn't getting what it was used to getting, but mentally I was fighting it."

Lisa Gallant says she's learned from her mistakes. 'When you go out, you don't need to have sixteen million drinks to have a good time.' (Pat Martel/CBC)

The stress of the holiday season was challenging for Gallant. 

"It was lots of time that I could have broken and had a drink easily, but I've come this far, why quit now?" she said.

Gallant said she has now been sober for ten months.

Losing 'drinking buddies'

'Addiction's a funny thing. It can creep up on you,' says Gallant. 'You have no idea until you hit that wall and you can't go any further.' (Pat Martel/CBC)

Her decision to quit drinking has made some friends uncomfortable,

"I've definitely lost a few friends. I had some pretty great drinking buddies that aren't my drinking buddies anymore," she said.

Gallant did post to Facebook about her journey to sobriety to help her through, but now, she's trying to spend less time on social media. 

"Sometimes it's hard to see my friends posting all these pictures of being really drunk, and it's also really hard for me to go back through my pictures and see all the pictures that are posted on Facebook of me just wasted out of my mind," she said. 

Still behind the bar

​People are surprised to hear that Gallant still works in a licensed restaurant, Water St. Fish & Chips, where she serves alcohol.

"Even when I was drinking, and I worked here I wouldn't come down here and sit at the bar and drink, so to me I've never really mentally connected this place with my problem." 

Lisa Gallant says this was one of the best Christmases in a long time. 'My kids actually slept in so it was actually a double whammy. It was like, 'Yes!' (Pat Martel/CBC)

Visiting an old familiar bar may not be the best move for someone trying to quit drinking, but Gallant said it's not a problem.

"I love that bar and it's kind of like a piece of me, so it's like transforming it now where that's where I go to have a good cup of coffee."

Gallant still gets pressure from friends to go out for a drink. 

"Why would I let something back in that could have destroyed me?" she said.

"I don't have any cravings really anymore at all. I don't think I'll ever, ever, ever drink again. I have no intentions of it anyway. "

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Pat Martel has worked with CBC P.E.I. for three decades, mostly with Island Morning where he was a writer-broadcaster and producer. He joined the web team recently to share his passion for great video. Pat also runs an adult coed soccer league in Stratford. He retired in Oct. 2019.

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