Mentioning your favorite chain coffee shop is like discussing politics. You just don’t do it.
What prompts a young woman to abandon the safe bounds of convention for the unknown? At first, all Mélanie Berliet understood was that she’d lost her sense of what ‘supposed to’ meant. And that her older sister Céline was sick.
While it’s tough to understand what leads a person into addiction–to witness someone you love kind-of kill herself–the truth is that you can learn from it. By the time Céline died at age 30, she was Kermit The Frog green and she vomited blood more frequently than she was able to eat. In less than a decade, she had gone from summa cum laude Columbia graduate to NYU PhD student to unemployed, rambling, stumbling drunk saddled with a cirrhotic liver beyond repair. By the time Céline died, her younger sister Mélanie was no longer a Miss Goody Two Shoes from a waspy Connecticut suburb trotting down the sensible path. She was an adult who had abandoned a secure job on Wall Street to establish a career as a writer committed to exploring fascinating subcultures.
As Céline’s illness escalated, you see, a basic lesson crept up on Mélanie: Life is beautifully short, and fragile as hell. Life happens. Gradually, Mélanie stopped agonizing over what she was supposed to do/think/know/read/listen to/watch/feel, or who she was supposed to be/befriend/love/like/learn from. So she pitched projects that sounded crazy and/or dangerous to most, but which gave her a thrill and helped her establish a career as an immersive journalist. She grew some balls, so to speak, after freeing herself from caring about what others might think.
The devastating beauty of what happened to Céline forced Mélanie to question who she is. However unwittingly, in dying, Céline empowered her younger sister to take risks–to live. This is their story.
At 27, Shea Prueger is the world’s youngest ibogaine provider, and since the May 2013 opening of her clinic in Koh Samui, Thailand, the former model has received countless death threats, her house has been broken into, and she was attacked in an alley.
I never set out to break the girl code, but my habits won over my morals and with every drink, my inhibitions loosened.
Semantics. We play with words. We make excuses and nothing changes.
When I arrived there were about six other men sitting in the living room, as if waiting for me, as if they’d been waiting for me for their entire lives.
2. The One Who Still Wears Jhorts
First, you hear smatterings of “how great the show is” and “how nothing is like it on TV” from your friends and coworkers.
If you made a survey asking people on Facebook ‘Would you take me seriously if I told you I was going to quit drinking?’ odds are your only results will be no.