Jessica Landon Playboy model alcoholism battle that nearly cost her life
A blue-eyed blonde California beauty, you wouldn’t think Jessica Landon had a care in the world.
Landon dated celebrities, posed for Playboy and partied at the Playboy Mansion, but perched just beyond her glossy exterior, Jessica, now 32, was battling the disease of addiction.
And it took her down a path much more gruesome than any episode of Celebrity Rehab.
Jessica details her journey to hell and back in an exclusive interview with Popdust.
Be warned—it’s not for the faint of heart.
POPDUST: When were you at your lowest?
My last two debacles were the lowest I had ever gotten.
June 2013 I had a hemorrhagic stroke from falling one story that resulted in emergency brain surgery.
The hemorrhage was about the size of an oblong baseball in the center of my brain that they needed to surgically drain.
My recovery was miraculous, I regained mental clarity and my physical strength returned in only a matter of weeks.
You'd think that would have been enough for me to stay away from alcohol but it wasn't.
Only 2 months later I relapsed again, and it got even worse. This was my last relapse leading up to January 3rd 2014, and it was by far the most gruesome.
I had spent a month in jail at Lynwood Century Regional Detention Facility (a traumatic experience in and of itself) and when I got out, I met a guy outside of a supermarket that said I could stay with him and he'd get me plenty of alcohol.
I expected that this man was homeless but he did in fact have a room he was renting down the street.
Of course I went with him since A.) He said he would give me alcohol and B.) None of my friends or family was talking to me.
I simply had nowhere else to go.
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, so I lay there urinating and defecating on myself for over a month in one spot.
The acid from my urine was eating away the skin on my hips and tailbone, which ultimately caused a blood staph infection.
I was dying rapidly and got desperate.
I called an ex and begged for help. By the grace of God he showed up with an ambulance the next morning.
When I went to the hospital my blood alcohol content was 0.533%. All my organs were failing, I was atrophied down to 76lbs and I needed two immediate blood transfusions.
I was in ICU for 16 days; it was touch and go.
Thankfully Brotman Hospital kept me for over a month and I was able to safely medically detox and regain my strength before going home with my parents.
POPDUST: How did you save yourself?
By staying close to my family, I also went to an AA meeting everyday for the first 90 of sobriety.
I didn't do anything else but go to meetings and pray that I could stay sober for another day.
POPDUST: When did you start drinking?
I drank abnormally since I was 13-years old and then started abusing it daily when I was 19.
By the time I was 26, I was a 24-hour-a-day vodka drinker. I never went longer than a couple hours without alcohol.
I'd pass out at night and wake up in a panic, shaking violently, so I kept vodka in a water bottle next to my bed to chug if I accidentally slept too long and hit withdrawals.
It was hell on earth physically and psychologically. I wouldn't wish it upon my worst enemy.
I was functioning that way for years until it just didn't work anymore.
The "get well" drink in the morning was suddenly sending me straight into obliteration.
My organs became so saturated I just wasn't processing the alcohol anymore. That's when people close to me started noticing.
I remember crossing a line in high school because I started to use alcohol to medicate my anxiety and fear.
I started drinking early in the morning before school to make me less nervous in social situations.
It relaxed me, made me feel more funny and outgoing. I was on the dance team, cheer squad, homecoming and prom court—I went to parties/dances pretending to be a goodie-goodie who never drank.
POPDUST: Tell us about how and where you got sober.
I had previously been to rehab 9 times already, so I begged my parents to let me go home and stay with them in Napa, CA.
It's also where I happen to have emergency brain surgery from the brain hemorrhage just 6 months earlier.
I felt that I needed to continue to recover physically with family.
I wasn't capable of functioning yet on my own so I knew going to treatment again was out of the question. I also didn't trust myself to stay in treatment.
I have been known to go into rehab and then leave 3 days later when cravings and/ or withdrawal hits hard.
I was terrified to think of myself alone again and wanted to stay close to my parents. I think that the fear of death had really sunk in for me finally.
POPDUST: Did you have a bottom that was funny or embarrassing?
For a long my nickname in AA for a long time was Chucky because I looked like the horror child from the movie.
Whenever I was on the streets I became so wretched and tore up that friends could barely recognize me.
One time my friend was trying to find me when I had been running around the valley inebriated in and out of hospitals.
He saw me stealing vodka in a store, I had hospital pants on that were too big hanging off my boney hips and a rainbow striped sweater I was given from the hospital.
I had also busted out my front left tooth on a vodka bottle and my hair looked like I had been electrocuted because it was so messy/dirty.
I was running down the aisle of the store with vodka in my hand.
He called the cops and two butch female cops show up and I apparently started mouthing off to them.
He said it was the funniest thing to see this 300 lb cop struggle to put cuffs on my little 80 lb body.
They took me to Olive View psych ward for the 4th time! They assumed I was a crazy person.
I was put on another 72-hour hold and when I got out I drank again. I proceeded straight to my dentist’s office and begged him to fix my dagger tooth.
I had just started my period so I had blood all over my hospital pants so he called my parents and told them it looked like I had been involved in a domestic violence incident.
They explained to him that I didn't have a boyfriend that I was an alcoholic- that it was all my doing and no one else's.
POPDUST: What about anything that involved a celebrity or something at the Playboy Mansion?
Early on in my drinking career I spent a lot of time at the Playboy Mansion.
We would go out every Monday and Wednesday night to dinner and a club then go up to the house after.
There were always a myriad of drugs like Quaaludes, etc. but I preferred alcohol over any of them.
Everyone seemed to be on something. The girls would flock to Hef not just because of who he was, but because he is simply one of the most loving and kind-hearted human beings I've ever met.
There is a gentleness about him that makes him extremely charming and magnetic.
This was more of the "party phase" of my drinking when I was highly functioning and no one suspected there was an issue.
POPDUST: How did you wind up in jail?
I had warrants out for my arrest because I had violated several probations. One being a very serious DUI.
It was during a relapse in 2012. I ran a red light and hit a family of 7!
I don't remember much just waking up in the hospital with handcuffs and the police telling me I injured 7 people, and I was going to jail.
This was later reduced to a misdemeanor because I did time in jail and also went to treatment.
I later learned that no one was seriously injured, thank God.
The violations were from stealing vodka from several different grocery stores.
I would take the bottle of vodka into the bathroom and drink as much as I could then try and hide it in the trash can and return later for more, hoping it would still be in there.
Addiction is so powerful; it makes you do the most insane things.
And the irony of it is that you are in survival mode while doing it.
My brain is telling my body to go to absolutely any length to get to that next drink or I'm going to physically die.
It Is the most ironic state of mind, I am trying desperately to survive while I am literally killing myself.
POPDUST: How did you get thrown out of rehab?
I left rehab many times to drink, sometimes I would try to sneak it back in with me.
One rehab had hand sanitizer in all the bathrooms so I drank it. I had learned that trick in jail. They mix hand sanitizer and punch.
Although it's isopropyl alcohol, which causes blindness and brain damage, it still does the job.
In another one of my rehabs I relapsed on Listerine.
I thought I was so sneaky because no one could smell the alcohol on my breath. It just smelled minty fresh but I was drinking a lot of it and became very sick.
I've also relapsed on vanilla extract and my own perfume in a desperate attempt to avoid withdrawal.
The lengths I've gone to are atrocious. But it's important to share about it because people need to understand the insidiousness of this disease.
The brain is an organ just like the heart or the liver, it becomes diseased like any other organ but the scary thing about it Is that its the neurochemistry within the brain that is affected which makes us behave in insane ways.
Science has a long way to go in understanding the biological and pathological process of addiction, but it is as important as any of the other leading causes of death.
Criminalizing addiction is far from a solution. Treatment is necessary not incarceration.
It is an epidemic and we need to make the appropriate changes to educate people on signs and underlying causes/trauma.
POPDUST: Were there any specific events that took place that may have led you down this path of addiction?
There were many events in my life that contributed to my alcoholism.
My type of alcoholism is multifactorial: childhood trauma (molestation), circumstantial stresses, genetic predisposition and disordered eating all contributed and I believe this was the perfect recipe for developing alcoholism.
POPDUST: When did you realize you needed to get sober?
I knew early on, probably 23-years old that I wouldn't be able to drink forever.
I could tell that it was going to become an issue because I loved it and relied on it too much.
And I was right, it became to me like air was to my lungs.
POPDUST: Can you name a person who has had a tremendous impact on you?
Marianne Williamson. I read her book early in recovery called A Return to Love and it changed my life.
It stirred my blood, I related to it so deeply.
She has opened my eyes and heart to so much spiritually.
I'm so grateful I found that book.
POPDUST: What habits have helped you regain clarity and foster sobriety?
• Morning gratitude prayer
• Practicing moderation in everything I do
• Constant forgiveness of myself and others.
POPDUST: What advice or words of wisdom would you give to the chronic relapser?
You are worth it. And you are enough. Never give up and never lose hope.
My favorite quote is "Out of suffering have emerged the strongest souls; the most massive characters are seared with scars."
There is nowhere in the world I'd rather be than in a room full of other alcoholics.
We are the most dynamic, interesting, clever, perceptive, hyper aware and compassionate human beings because of what we've been through.
It's like a Martian looking at a Martian.
I am so grateful there is a place where I can go and feel understood.
Jessica now has over 2-years sober and is kicking ass and tanning buns!
Jessica Landon Playboy model alcoholism battle
Jessica Landon Playboy model alcoholism battle
Jessica Landon Playboy model alcoholism battle