Saturday, 30 October 2010

A Chance Meeting that I'll not Forget

'No Half Measures'
By Marilyn Lamont

Choice Publishing and Book Services. Ireland.2008
ISBN No: 978 1 905451 78 4

Well another weekend has arrived! Quite a few of us have probably been looking forward all week to this particular time, so that we can get a break from the Monday to Friday job, catch up with some chores around home and possibly have a glass or two of wine or a beer on Friday or Saturday evening!

I purposefully tend not to talk about my personal or professional life on this blog, but I have mentioned in the past on a certain book site forum, that my full time ‘day job’ is in the field of mental healthcare. This can be particularly demanding work and so I like to get a bit of a rest from it all when I’m off duty, so naturally I do not talk much about it when I’m chilling out with such a relaxing diversion as my blog!

This week as part of my professional development, I attended a Mental Health Nursing Conference, which turned out to be a very interesting and thought provoking day for me. I like to attend events like this now and again, as I feel my ‘batteries get re-charged’ when listening to speakers talk about the positive developments that they have either introduced, or are working on, within the ever changing field of healthcare.

After the first couple of speakers had delivered their enlightening presentations, the conference then broke for morning coffee. As I left the conference room and started to walk downstairs to where the coffee was being served, I noticed a woman sitting behind a table in the corridor that was in front of me, as the flight steps I was coming down came to an end. The books on the table in front of her were all the same. Immediately it sprung to mind that this could be an author who was trying to promote her book, but at the same time I was thinking that you usually do not see authors promoting their books at mental health conferences!

I must say that curiosity got the better of me being a book lover, and so I went over to the table and lifted one of the books to see what it was all about! Before I could start reading the synopsis on the back of the book, the lady behind the table began to talk to me and to tell me about her story. This lady was the author of this particular book (I was spot on with my first assumption when I first saw her sitting behind the table of books!) and her name was Marilyn.

I only had a short period of time to talk to Marilyn, but she was a fascinating person to converse with. From speaking to her, you could tell straight away that she was a very natural story teller and yet, when reading her story within her book, she did not like school, left school before she was really was supposed to, and had no formal training in writing, never mind writing a novel! But Marilyn had a story to tell about her life. Marilyn told me that her father encouraged her to tell her story and this she has done within her book.

Marilyn was born in 1954 in Greenock, an industrial town on the West coast of Scotland. She lived in a lovely bright house in the centre of the town. It was initially a happy house filled with music, laughter and love. As Marilyn grew up, she became involved in show business and modelling. Photographs of her appeared quite regularly in quite a few of the well known tabloids at that time and she also had a record produced as she was quite a good singer as well(these existed before music CD's). Marilyn went on to tell me, that her book tells the story about her two lives, or chapters, in her ‘one lifetime’.

As the title of her book suggests, ‘No Half Measures’, when she was younger Marilyn was too busy having a ‘good time’ partying, too busy drinking and too busy becoming an alcoholic. The first part of this book tells the story of Marilyn’s childhood, adolescence and early adulthood. There are no punches spared in this particular story. As Marilyn states in the synopsis of her book, there were good times, bad times, happy times and sad times. Quite quickly Marilyn’s life hit rock bottom through the results of her drinking. She told me that towards the end, when she had hit rock bottom, all that was left in her house was empty boxes to sit on and empty bottles!

The first chapter within Marilyn’s book is much longer that the second chapter, but as Marilyn told me she could have filled a book with enough ‘life story’ to make ‘War and Peace’ seem like a pocket book! The second chapter of Marilyn’s book describes her new found life without alcohol. Marilyn has thankfully experienced sobriety since 1985.

Marilyn explained to me that when she was at her ‘rock bottom’, she actually felt that life was not worth living and had attempted suicide. The message Marilyn was now trying to broadcast through her verbal story to me and others and through her book, was that if she could recover from the depths of her problems with alcohol, anyone can and that there is no such thing, as a ‘Hopeless Case’.

I bought a copy of Marilyn’s book which she signed for me, and I have read it. This book is the very interesting and straight forward tale of Marilyn’s life and the detrimental effects alcohol has had on it from her early years. Surprisingly there is no hard preaching about the dangers of alcohol within this tale, just Marilyn's story which I think is enough. The story is sad, horrific in places and yet in other sections of the story there is laughter and humour. This story has not been written by a famous author or a writer who has undertaken a degree in the craft. It is a true well told story written by a very brave lady who has encountered horrific life experiences that not many of us could even start to imagine.

If you visit the Amazon website you will find Marilyn’s book listed there. Her book was first written in 2004 and eventually printed in 2008. It states on the Amazon site that there are currently no copies of this book in stock. Marilyn had quite a few copies of her book sitting on the table in front of her the day I met her, so I dare say if Amazon get a number of orders for this particular book, copies will quickly appear back into their stock again.

The author that I met at this particular Conference was an individual who had really hit rock bottom in her life and yet had managed to climb back up again. Marilyn is now telling her life story to others in a way that may provide hope to others who may find themselves in the same situation as she had previously been in. Marilyn's parting message to me that day was,  if she could find a path to recovery from alcohol anyone can.

By writing this particular post I hope that I can help Marilyn spread her personal story a bit further afield. This is a human story that needs to be read by everyone. After reading Marilyn’s story it might also make one reflect upon that drink or two that some of us may tend to so look forward to on a Friday or Saturday and query the idea about alcohol being as good for us as we might have initially thought?


  1. Wow, what a serendipitous encounter. How interesting, and brave of Marilyn to write such a book. I wish her success in her continued sobriety and the sales of the book.

  2. What a chance meeting indeed and definitely an unforgettable one, I'm sure.

    Reading the story, never has the same impact as actually hearing it spoken aloud and in person. In that scenario, the reading the book just helps to fill in the gaps and reinforce the facts of the account.

    If you are planning to keep in touch with Marilyn, send her my wishes for her continued success and recovery.

    A brilliant post.

    If anyone is interested, there is one copy of the book available on


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