Ex-NRL boss Todd Greenberg’s wife has laid bare her heart-wrenching battle with alcoholism that saw her hit rock-bottom when her family walked out on her.
Lisa Greenberg told 60 Minutes on Sunday she had never had a problem prior to 2016 – but all that changed when her husband was appointed rugby league’s top administrator.
It was a time when the boutique fitness instructor was entering her late 40s and beginning to feel increasingly ‘irrelevant’.
‘He’s got this great new job, I’d given up my business to support him, I wasn’t as fit as I used to be, the kids didn’t need me anymore,’ she said.
‘People see this glamorous, perfect side of your life and I absolutely would embellish that.
‘I had a very large and strong mask. Behind that mask, I didn’t want to show that I was imploding. I kept the smile but I was dying on the inside.’
Lisa Greenberg said she hit rock bottom when her husband Todd (pictured together) and two adult kids walked out on her
The fitness consultant now coaches other woman who are struggling with addiction
Mr Greenberg said his wife, who would down two bottles of wine by mid-afternoon everyday, went ‘very quickly’ from Lisa being fine to having a serious problem.
‘It is such a strong disease. Beyond the next drink I could see nothing. Because I was nothing without it,’ Mrs Greenberg said.
‘If someone gave me the choice ‘we could take your legs or you can’t drink anymore’ I would have been like ‘take my legs’… Who says that?’
She has now been battling against the addiction for four-and-a-half years and feels she’s finally in a place where she is in control and can move on with her life.
But it’s a problem that is as widespread as it is often hidden.
Figures show one in five woman aged 45 to 60 are drinking at dangerous levels – more than any other demographic.
Lisa has been open about her experiences with alcohol addiction in the past
‘I would lie to my family. They’d say ‘please don’t have another drink’ and I’d look them in the eye and say ‘I wont drink today,’ she said.
‘And I really did mean it. I’d wake up in the morning and say it with all of my energy. But by midday I’d be driving to a bottle shop.
‘There was this physical compulsion to get alcohol and I would be drunk by mid-afternoon.’
‘Then I’d be up early in the morning finding bins to put the bottles in, wrapping them in newspaper so they wouldn’t clink.’
The now 53-year-old fitness consultant spiralled into self-loathing when Todd and their two children walked out on her in 2018.
It was at that point Lisa hot rock bottom – curled up on the floor of her waterfront mansion drinking and considering suicide – before she sought professional help.
‘I was given an ultimatum by my family. They said if you’re going to drink again we are going to leave. I promised them I wouldn’t, and I meant it,’ she said.
‘But they came home and I was drinking, so they packed up and left.
‘I was broken, defeated, suicidal. I just thought I didn’t deserve to be on this planet.’
The 53-year-old said her habit – drinking two bottles of wine a day – began when her husband took on the role of the head of the NRL
She had tried to hide her addiction by pouring the wine into coffee mugs and takeaway cups.
‘Whether it was Todd’s star rising and mine falling, in my own mind, I just needed more and more alcohol to function,’ she admitted.
‘I am such a perfectionist that I wanted to be the perfect wife. In my eyes I was failing dismally.’
The co-founder of the online Women’s community ‘Love you Sydney’ said she ‘loathed’ and ‘hated’ herself – but has since made a stunning life turnaround.
Mr Greenberg said ‘it was the most inspirational story’ he could think of, later calling his wife a ‘superhero’.
After voluntarily stepping down from the NRL’s top job last year, Greenberg is now the Australian Cricket Association’s Chief Executive.
The two say that their marriage is stronger than ever.
If you or anyone you know needs support, you can contact Lifeline on 131 114.