Today: Feb 29, 2024

Student overcomes alcoholism and wins magazine contest

Adrienne Edenburn-MacQueen at her waitressing job in Fairfield.

Kaitlin Bradshaw, Staff Writer:
Dry-drunk, alcoholic who hasn’t dealt with their issues — these are just some comments Adrienne Edenburn-MacQueen, has heard after winning the Glamour magazine essay contest.
Along with those negative words came much more positive feedback from Edenburn-MacQueen’s real life story about getting sober at 21 and turning her life around.
“I had Facebook messages from girls I didn’t know saying how great it was to know there are other girls out there my age dealing with these issues,” said Edenburn-MacQueen.
Edenburn-MacQueen not only influenced people she didn’t know but also influenced her younger sister, Julia.
“Adrienne has influenced my life more than anyone else. I always wanted to be just like her, because I couldn’t imagine anyone cooler or smarter or funnier.
When I think about the road she has chosen, I can’t help but still feel that,” said Julia Edenburn-MacQueen. “I didn’t realize
that Glamour would think her story was so relatable, so when I heard she had won, I knew it was because they thought her story would help some women who are facing similar substance abuse problems.
I’m so happy that she will be able to influence their lives for the better.”
Back in July, Edenburn-MacQueen sat down and wrote her story to prove to her roommate that she could do better than most of the articles in the magazines she bought.
“I didn’t tell her I submitted it, I just told her when I won, I didn’t want to jinx it,” she said. “I thought I have an interesting
story. When I was quitting drinking
I didn’t know anyone my age going through the same thing. I went to some AA meetings but it wasn’t for me.”
Edenburn-MacQueen had her last drink in 2007 at the age of 21. She just stopped.
“I had serious problem and needed a serious solution. I made that serious decision, doesn’t mean I can’t laugh or joke about it. I’m not a serious person,” she said. “Serious people drag you down – they drag me down.”
The 25-year-old double majors in history and economics at Southern, which stunned the editors at Glamour.
“My story went up against people with multiple degrees in writing and wrote about the most awful things that could happen to a person. I just wrote my story, didn’t think I’d win,” she said.
The requirement for the essay contest was a story about a personal experience, between 2,500 and 3,000 words, said Edenburn-MacQueen.
The prize was the story publication in the magazine, $5,000, and a meeting with a literary agent. She also got letters from UK Glamour and Glamour South Africa wanting to reprint the story.
“I got a freelance contract with Glamour and they’re going to pay me 20 cents a word,” said Edenburn-MacQueen.
The reaction she got from family and friends was great, she said.
“I was standing in the kitchen giving the thumbs-up to my roommates, I sent a mass text, called my dad – he cried, he’s getting old, getting softer,” she said.
As part of the prize Edenburn-MacQueen got to meet with a literary agent in New York.
“I felt like a Make-a-Wish kid,” she said.
Edenburn-MacQueen’s roommate, Tracy Gilpin, a graduate student, was waiting by the phone when the call came in.
“Her article, in my opinion, is a sincere reflection of the honesty with which she confronts life and the issues that she has encountered. She is a strong, intelligent and determined person, and I think that she fully deserves the recognition that Glamour has given her,” said Gilpin.
The literary agent suggested Edenburn- MacQueen write a memoir about her experiences.
“I don’t think of myself as a writer, technically I think of myself as a waiter,” she said.
Edenburn-MacQueen has a very good sense of humor about herself and her past.
“I have no problem talking about it. I still go to bars and parties, I just tell people I don’t drink, no one thinks it’s due to a drinking problem,” she said. “I was embarrassing when I was drinking out in public; it’s not embarrassing to talk about being sober.”
From winning the essay contest Edenburn-MacQueen has opened a new door for herself. Taking advice from her literary agent, she has begun writing notes on her waitress pads as sample chapters and chapter outlines for a possible memoir, she said.
“It’s been really – cool is a weak word – but it’s been awesome,” said Edenburn-MacQueen.

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