A Playboy model has revealed how her addiction to booze led to a shocking spiral of drinking vodka 24 hours a day, organ failure and rotting skin.
Jessica Landon looked like she was living the dream - an aspiring Hollywood actress partying with Hugh Hefner in the Playboy mansion.
She recalls: “I moved to LA when I was 19 years old. I was modeling and acting and hanging out a lot at the Playboy mansion. At the time I thought I was living my dream."
But an incident of molestation by a babysitter when she was 5 years old left her feeling empty, anxious and ashamed.
"There was always an emptiness," she says.
NUMBING THE PAIN
"Looking back I see that I was perpetually trying to fill that void with things like alcohol, love, food."
Alcohol made her feel comfortable and forget her pain.
She explained: “I was an ‘in the closet’ drinker (sometimes literally) from the very start, rarely drinking in public or at parties but rather surreptitiously.
"Liquor was the magic medication I had been searching for, the only thing that could relieve me from my anxiety, panic and shame I felt on the inside.
"By the time I was 26 years old, I was a 24-hour-a-day vodka drinker."
“By the time I was 26 years old, I was a 24-hour-a-day vodka drinker.
"I’d pass out at night and wake up in a panic, shaking violently, so I kept vodka in a water bottle next to my bed to chug if I accidentally slept too long and hit withdrawals.
"I was vomiting blood on a regular basis. It became a living hell," she shared.
WARNING GRAPHIC IMAGES BELOW
“At that point I knew I couldn’t continue living like this or I would die but I also knew I would die trying to come off of it alone (without a medical detox).
"I had created my own prison. Nobody in my life knew how bad it was, I was afraid to get honest about the severity of my drinking so I kept it a secret for a very long time."
At one point, she found herself homeless, living in a stranger’s attic and regularly vomiting blood.
One day, weak and frail, Jessica tripped over the stair rail, landing on her head which resulted in a brain hemorrhage.
She explained: “I slowly started to become paralyzed on one side, my face started drooping and my speech was slurred. When I went to the hospital, they did a CT scan and discovered a hemorrhage the size of an oblong baseball in the center of my brain."
"They needed to surgically drain it before there was permanent damage.
"They had to detox me from the alcohol first because my blood was too thin to do surgery right away."
But five days into the detox, a series of consecutive seizures meant she needed emergency brain surgery.
"If I can get sober anyone can.”
She says: "I was transferred to the Acute Rehab Facility and recovered miraculously.
"They told us it would probably be a few months before I gained my strength and mental clarity back but in only two weeks I was almost completely recovered.”
After recovering from her brain injury, Jessica found herself living on a friend's floor and once again relapsed.
“I lay on his floor and nearly drank myself to death. I was incapable of getting up to use the restroom because I was too weak and atrophied, so I laid there urinating and defecating on myself for over a month in one spot,” explained Jessica.
“The acid from my urine was eating away my skin on my hips and tailbone which ultimately caused a blood staph infection.
"I knew I was dying rapidly and became desperate. I called an ex and begged for help. By the grace of God he showed up the next morning with an ambulance.
“When I went to the hospital my blood alcohol content was 0.533%. All my organs were failing.
"I had atrophied down to 78 pounds and needed two immediate blood transfusions. I was in ICU for 16 days. It was touch and go."
Her organs were failing after spending a month lying in her own filth and the acid in her urine was starting eat away at her skin.
At just 78 pounds, Jessica was kept in hospital for over a month to safely detox and regain her strength before going home with her parents.
She explained: “I hit my personal ‘bottom’ when the memory of pain from my addiction to alcohol finally eclipsed the memory of pleasure. That’s the best way to describe it for me.
"That is when the shift happened. It took a long time to physically recover, which I think was a blessing.
"The memory of pain stayed fresh in my mind and I did not want to go back to where I was. I was so grateful to have my health back."
A NEW LIFE
After going through nine treatment centers and a painful process of sobriety, Jessica is five-years sober, a healthy 105 pounds, and has a new appreciation for life.
The now-37-year-old works as a recovery coach, helping people to get sober and maintain sobriety.
She and her partner, Matthew, are expecting their first child together in December this year.
The recovered alcoholic now helps guide others through the addiction.
“I'm not proud of my past, in fact I'm quite embarrassed and ashamed of the kind of life I once lived," she says.
"Everyday young girls move to LA searching for a glitzy and glamorous life in Hollywood thinking they will be happier, more fulfilled and achieve success.
"Unfortunately, the reality is that Hollywood is full of spiritually starved, insecure and lost human beings on a perpetual search for 'more' paradoxically leading to feeling like 'less' of a person,” she said.
“Helping others is profoundly rewarding and it creates a sense of belonging which I think is healthy for the soul.
"I think sharing our stories with each other is very powerful and healing. Being broken down and cracked open (in whatever way) is such a blessing because the world needs people to be open.
“Alcohol is ubiquitous and yet it kills more people annually than all other drugs combined. To me it is a true socio-cultural malignancy.
"The way it is advertised and glorified everywhere should be banned or at least limited.
“Self-worth does not come from attention, money or things; it can only build on actions of love and service to others.
"As long as you have life, you have hope. No matter how bad it is or how low you think you are, it is always possible to turn it all around. If I can get sober anyone can.”