I go out and I get in the back of that van. I knelt down that night and I said, “God give me one tenth of the faith my mother has.” The next day I’m driving those kids to school and I broke out in a sweat that I never want to forget. I got a pressure in my chest and I got pain in my jaw and my arm. I knew something bad was happening to me and I just was like, “Please God let me don’t let me go off the road with these kids in this vehicle, let me get to the school.” Thankfully, we made it to the school and I collapsed with a massive heart attack. I remember waking up in the ambulance thinking, “It didn’t need to be that big of a sign!” They called my family and said that they didn’t think I was going to make it. My brother was there and he’s an alcoholic. He’s got big blue eyes and I was looking at them when I came to. I had tubes and monitors everywhere that is when you know when you’re in intensive care. My brother asks, “What happened?” And I said, “I don’t know.”
Anyway, I’m in the hospital they asked me how much I drank. I told them I was as honest as I know how to be, I said, “I don’t know, I think I drink 12 beers and 12 shots of tequila every day, little more or little less. I don’t know, it depends on the mood I’m in.” One of those doctors said to me, “Do you think you have a problem with drinking?” So I began to think I really do have a problem with drinking. But I knew at this point I couldn’t let anybody in my family take me home because I had destroyed that beautiful home that home with the beautiful manicured lawn no longer was mowed. There was grass a foot high. There were tons of cans and bottles lying around. I mean, I was the kind of neighbor you did not want to have. I was just totally obnoxious. I had somebody else give me a ride home.
I went into the house that night and when I got there, a note was on the door from the bank and they were foreclosed on my house; I hadn’t paid the mortgage in six months. When I went inside, there were no lights and no running water. There was no heat. There was no telephone, there were no children, there were no groceries and I couldn’t stay there. That was November 8th 1989, I left and I went to the bar. I walked into the bar and I got a shot of tequila and a beer to chase. As I began to do that shot, I looked up and there was a mirror behind the bar. That mirror had always been there, it’s not like it was new, but that night I saw myself, and what I saw looking back at me, scared me to death. What I saw was a hopeless, helpless, pathetic drunk woman; a mother too, and my kids deserve so much more than that. I put that drink down and I walked out of that place. The next day I went to my doctor and the doctor said to me, “Lilly you had a heart attack as a direct result of your use and abuse of alcohol. I’m here to tell you that when we did the tests on you for your heart we discovered that you have third stage cirrhosis of the liver and if you don’t quit drinking you’ll be dead in five years. If you can’t quit on your own, you should go to AA.”