Hildy got sober after an intervention by her family, but a year or two later she has begun drinking again, by herself, in secret. Leary has been sober for several years, but she says her own course was similar, with a long sobriety interrupted by an attempt to drink in moderation, alone. That’s why she can write so vividly of the joys as well as the pitfalls of the bottle.
“The truth is, I have been approached by magazines and different publications that want first-person accounts of my dreadful drinking experience, and it’s just so boring,” she said. “I’ve tried at various points in my life, as most alcoholics have, because that’s all we want is to drink normally. But I’ve tried it, and it doesn’t work for me, so now I don’t drink.”
Ann Leary’s younger sister, Meg Seminara of Marblehead, says such candor is typical of her sister. The EMT gig, on the other hand, came as a surprise.
“Ann has a lot of energy. She really doesn’t sit still. But that took me by surprise. I knew she wasn’t squeamish, ” Seminara said. “She’s just always doing something. She has a tremendous amount of energy and she likes to put it to good use.”
She also has a lot of support in-house, Ann Leary said. She and Denis met when she was a student in his writing class at Emerson College in the 1980s, and they got together afterward.
Although fans of his blazingly sarcastic on-camera performances might find it hard to believe, she says he’s quite different at home.
“Denis is such a champion of me,” she said, “He thinks everything I do is perfect. His feedback is always like, ‘Amazing! I love it!’ ”
Joel Brown can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.