Carrie Fisher: Princess Leia from Star Wars; daughter of America’s original sweethearts Debbie Reynolds and Eddie Fisher; former Mrs. Paul Simon; alcoholic; drug addict; manic-depressive; bipolar; author of Postcards form the Edge and four other books including the recently released Wishful Drinking. She also performs Wishful Drinking in a one-woman travelling stage show.
Wishful Drinking is a short, witty and telling autobiography. Fisher has said that the only way she can deal with her bizarre stories is with humour. Fisher was born into Hollywood royalty and knows she should not feel hard done by. Her parents were the Jennifer Aniston and Brad Pitt of their day (and Elizabeth Taylor was the Angelina Jolie).
Under the guise of trying to remember her life after her recent electroshock therapy Fisher hops through her eventful life with self-deprecating candor and hilarity.
“As a child I thought that Father Knows Best was real and my life was fake. Not that I have ever had much use for reality – having spent much of what I laughingly refer to as my adult life attempting to escape it with the assistance of a variety of drugs.”
Her drug use started at 13 years old with marijuana. Six years later that stopped working for her and she moved onto hallucinogens and painkillers. Her mother became worried and “did what any mother would do. She called Cary Grant.” He apparently did LSD under “doctor’s supervision.”
In trying to get to the bottom of all her struggles Fisher had various diagnosis. She writes that it is useless to diagnose someone with a mood disorder “who is engaged in ingesting large quantities of drugs or alcohol – which I was – because drug addiction and alcoholism, done properly of course, classically mimics the symptoms of manic-depression: sexual promiscuity, excessive spending, and substance abuse.”
Fisher writes that once “I stopped the substances that I used to distort and mask my symptoms, it was now all too clear that I was a bona-fide, wild ride manic-depressive.”
Wishful Drinking is a quick read, entertaining and enlightening. Fisher makes no excuses and in the process sends a message for those prepared to receive it. She makes it very clear that Alcoholics Anonymous has helped her. Her story is laced with references to this twelve-step, self-help group from which she says she has found some wisdom.
Fisher makes direct references that are straight from the AA program such as, “You’re only as sick as your secrets,” and that, “Many of us only seem able to find heaven by backing away from hell.” Fisher continued from that thought:
“And while the place I have arrived in my life may not precisely be everyone’s idea of heavenly, I could swear sometimes – if I am quiet enough – I can hear the angels singing…
Either that or I’ve screwed up my medication.”