The reality star says her husband told her “you’re going to rehab if you have one more drink.”
Braunwyn Windham-Burke opened up about her longtime battle with alcohol.
During Wednesday night’s Season 15 premiere of “The Real Housewives of Orange County,” most of Braunwyn’s costars expressed concern over her drinking, following her behavior at Kelly Dodd’s now-husband Rick Leventhal’s birthday party in Miami and throughout last season.
During an emotional heart-to-heart with Emily Simpson — who previously told her to “stop drinking so much” — Windham-Burke confirmed she is an alcoholic and has been working on her sobriety.
“First of all, I need to say that I’m sorry,” Braunwyn began, tearing up as she spoke. “You called me out on my drinking last year, and instead of taking it to heart, I really pushed you away. Basically, I think I just got angry at you and then I came up with reasons to be mad because that was easier.”
Admitting she has “not had the best last few months,” Braunwyn said going to Rick’s birthday in Miami “was bad.” She continued, “I didn’t stop drinking for four days. Everyone else would end their night, no one noticed — even [husband] Sean didn’t know — I kept drinking. So every hour, because I would start to shake, I would just keep doing a shot, a shot, a shot. I was drinking so much I was scared I was gonna die.”
She said her husband laid down an ultimatum: stop drinking or go to rehab.
“Sean basically said you’re going to rehab if you have one more drink, because he didn’t know I’d been hiding alcohol, I’d been refilling bottles, I’d been doing all the things that you know that everyone does,” she explained. “In my adult life, I didn’t have to deal with it, because I would just have a baby again.”
“I’m honestly scared of who I am without [alcohol],” she added. “It’s much easier for me to be the fun, crazy one than to be myself. The vulnerability part is hard for me, I don’t like it.”
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She told Emily she didn’t think she could ever drink again, telling her, “I honestly can say that scares the shit out of me. But yeah, it has to be forever.”
In a confessional, Braunwyn revealed she had her first drink of beer when she was 14, while working through “abandonment issues” as she lived with her grandparents. “Someone handed me a warm beer and it was a peacefulness that I had never felt before,” she explained. “I drank until I threw up that night and that’s how I continue to drink for the majority of my life.”
She got emotional as she told a producer that “Feeling things is scary. Feeling all the things is petrifying. I haven’t felt these things my whole life.”
As the show ended, the finished her last confessional of the night by telling viewers, “I don’t know if it’s divine intervention. I don’t know. But for the first time in my life I can say, ‘My name is Braunwyn and I’m an alcoholic.'”
“RHOC” airs Wednesdays on Bravo.
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