Actress and former Playboy model Jessica Landon found herself dealing with a terrifying medical issue as a result of her unchecked alcoholism. After spiraling into a deeply depressive state, Landon's skin reportedly began to rot right off of her bones.
Landon's ups and downs have taken her everywhere over the last few years, from high society parties to lonesome attic crash pads. She told her story to Lad Bible for a recent profile, where she explained how she found the strength to get back up again even after all seemed lost.
Landon moved to Los Angeles at 19 years old, hoping to become an actress. She did just that, with appearances on Nickelodeon, NBC and Comedy Central. She also took modelling jobs, including an photo shoot for Playboy.
All the while, Landon was self-medicating with alcohol, she says. The actress had been molested by a babysitter at the age of 5, and could not find another way to deal with the trauma.
Landon said that she became a "24-hour a day vodka drinker" by the age of 26. The model carried a water bottle filled with liquor everywhere she went. Even though it was the crutch that buoyed her through her anxiety and depression, she knew she needed treatment. With the help of nine different rehab programs, she was sober for nine months. She finally relapsed in 2013.
She found herself living in a stranger's attic, she said, and subsisting on a diet of vodka and nothing else. In one drunken stupor, she fell down the stairs and landed on her head. The fall left her face drooping and her speech permanently slurred.
Landon was taken to the hospital, where doctors discovered a hemorrhage in her brain the size of a baseball. She needed surgery to get it removed, and against all odds, she recovered from the operation.
It was then that Landon hit rock bottom. In spite of her medical victory, she had not dealt with her alcoholism, and she relapsed yet again. This time, she laid on a stranger's floor drinking vodka for a full month, so weak that she could not drag herself to the toilet. As a result, her skin began to rot.
"I lay on his floor and nearly drank myself to death. I was incapable of getting up to use the restroom because I was too weak and atrophied, so I laid there urinating and defecating on myself for over a month in one spot," she recalled.
"The acid from my urine was eating away my skin on my hips and tailbone which ultimately caused a blood staph infection. I knew I was dying rapidly and became desperate. I called an ex and begged for help. By the grace of God he showed up the next morning with an ambulance."
Landon stayed in the hospital for a month, recovering the use of her organs and the enormous amount of weight she had lost. This time around, she managed to kick the drinking for real. She has now been sober since 2014.
"My family is just so grateful I survived and am able to impact the lives of others with my experiences," she said. "My parents have been able to help a lot of families that are [dealing with] or who have dealt with alcoholism/addiction in their own family. I think it has helped them process it all on an even deeper level."
Landon now works as a recovery coach for other addicts, helping them reclaim their lives. At 37 years old, she is even expecting her first child later this year.
"I'm not proud of my past, in fact I'm quite embarrassed and ashamed of the kind of life I once lived," she said.
"Self-worth does not come from attention, money or things; it can only build on actions of love and service to others. As long as you have life, you have hope. No matter how bad it is or how low you think you are, it is always possible to turn it all around," she said. "If I can get sober, anyone can."