In Hindsight: The Story Of How Two Sisters Hurt, Hindered, And Healed Each Other
Advantage Media Group
Paperback 174 pages
“When my nose was so clotted with blood [from cocaine] that I could not breathe—something that happened routinely—I went to the hospital.” So writes Lisa Scott, half of the sister duo who have authored the new book Hindsight: The Story Of How Two Sisters Hurt, Hindered, And Healed Each Other But this is more than an addiction story. It includes the raw emotions of the non-addicted sister, Sharon Bonanno, who is also buffeted by the forces that cause and result from addiction.
“Lisa’s letters made me furious rather than sympathetic,” confessed older sister Sharon in this shared memoir. “When she acknowledged that she had done inappropriate things, it was as remorse for hurting herself. She never recognized the ways that her behavior affected other people.”
In most families, the same things that sisters share—parentage, childhoods, DNA—can sometimes serve to make them rivals, especially when they’re close in age. Who gets more attention? Who has better looks? Who has more friends, higher grades? Who do Mom and Dad seem to like better?
Sisters coming from a dysfunctional family like Bonanno and Scott have more on their plate than simple identity struggles. In In Hindsight they tell of the early divorce of their parents and “outsider” status with their father’s new family, Lisa’s severe diabetes diagnosed at age six early and their conflicting and diametrically opposed ways of coping.
Some readers will relate to Lisa’s personality. She confesses in the book how she used her diabetes to manipulate others and get her way and how she found that addiction helped her overcome an eating disorder. (“I’m actually grateful to cocaine for saving me from bulimia”).
But others will identify with “first born” Sharon’s personality when she writes, “Because I wasn’t sick, and was not only older but capable and responsible, people around me assumed that I didn’t need help…It also meant that no one pushed me to challenge myself.”
The sisters reflect two sides of the same family dysfunction coin, psychologists would say.
As young adults, the sisters could not be more far apart. Sharon, though she writes that she had to repeat kindergarten as a child, goes on to have a successful teaching career. She marries and has children. Lisa, on the other hand, works at a series of odd jobs as her drug addiction and diabetes get worse. Sharon alternately tries to help Lisa—following her car after an emergency room visit to make sure she is okay at the start of the book—and throws her hands up.
Finally Lisa, after rehabs, stints of sobriety, interventions, a car accident and becoming “sick and tired of being sick and tired,” finds recovery and even is able to forge a career in the recovery field. Like all addictions, her downward spiral cannot be stopped by anyone but her.
Lisa’s recovery also changes Sharon: “When Lisa first entered treatment, I was still angry with her. It was in part the accumulation of so many years of watching and being a victim of her destructive behavior… I not only felt annoyed by her behavior, betrayed by her constant lying, and fearful that she was so out of control, but I also hated myself for being the kind of person who was impatient and suspicious…
“Gradually I saw that she had truly changed. Now she is a nearly impossibly positive person, and her positivity is genuine. I enjoy being around her.”
In readable and moving narratives, Hindsight: The Story Of How Two Sisters Hurt, Hindered, And Healed Each Other shows how early family dysfunction and trauma shape the trajectory of children’s lives through the unspoken family rules of Don’t Talk, Don’t Trust, Don’t Feel. It shows how when the children are able to trust others with their stories, they can heal. In this story, two sisters who had nothing in common but distrust and alienation end up united.
Martha Rosenberg is a freelance journalist and the author of the highly acclaimed “Born With A Junk Food Deficiency: How Flaks, Quacks and Hacks Pimp The Public Health,” published by Prometheus Books. Check her Facebook page.