Liana’s story

“Having kicked [my addiction] completely is so liberating, but it was just that black piece of coal that’s still with you all the time. This criminal record – it’s like I don’t feel completely free of the hell of addiction, I guess.”

– Liana

Liana’s extended family has been susceptible to alcoholism and she inherited the family burden, succumbing to periods of binge drinking between periods of sobriety for decades. Now five years into recovery, Liana is still haunted by a secret only those closest to her know.

Years ago, a conflict with her partner during a binge drinking session turned physical. Liana wanted to make a phone call and he withheld the phone from her. She screamed at him, and climbed on top of him on a couch with a butter knife. A friend of their son’s, at their home for a sleepover, saw the commotion and called the police. 

Liana spent the night in jail and was convicted of assault with a weapon. After that, fear and shame around having her conviction revealed – and knowing she’d likely be rejected – led her to quit volunteering with her children’s schools or even consider applying for a new job. That single incident was more than 10 years ago, and despite her interest in going back to school or switching career fields, she feels there’s no point. No one will hire her. 

With the help of the Elizabeth Fry Society, Liana has started the process of applying for a criminal record suspension, something she put off for years because of all the bad memories it brought up about her alcoholism.