Kitty Dukakis drank hair spray, after-shave

BOSTON -- Kitty Dukakis, wife of 1988 Democratic presidential candidate Gov. Michael Dukakis, drank hair spray, after-shave, and other household products to induce 'oblivion' and fight depression before seeking treatment earlier this year, a published report said Sunday.

The Massachusetts first lady wrote in her new book that she ingested mouthwash, after-shave, vanilla extract, nail-polish remover, and Tylenol laced with codeine before entering an Alabama clinic in April to combat her substance-abuse problem, the Boston Sunday Globe reported.


'The last thing I swallowed was hair spray,' Dukakis wrote in her book 'Now You Know,' to be released this week. 'I just pulled off the spray top and gulped the ingredients. Yes, I was on the way to hell. Again.'

Dukakis, 53, was also hospitalized last November after drinking rubbing alcohol.

During her husband's unsuccessful presidential campaign, she publicly acknowledged a 26-year addiction to diet pills. She also entered a Rhode Island rehabilitation center in 1989 for treatment of alcoholism.

'I am a manic-depressive,' Dukakis writes in her book. 'Obviously, the story isn't over. I am still struggling to resume my place.'

Dukakis said she drank vodka daily during the presidential campaign and that her husband's Nov. 8, 1988, loss sent her into a deep depression.

'On that day, I ran right into the brick wall of defeat,' she wrote. 'On Nov. 10, I became an episodic binge drinker. ... I began drinking when I was faced with a gaping emptiness I could not endure.'

Despite seeking help in February 1989 at the Edgehill Treatment Center in Newport, R.I., Dukakis said, she suffered relapses when she returned home.

Following her hospitalization after drinking rubbing alcohol, Dukakis says she ingested the after-shave and hair spray while home for Christmas from a psychiatric hospital.

'It didn't matter what I was drinking as long as I got the desired effect: oblivion,' she says.

Dukakis says her four-week stay this spring at Self Discovery Inc., in Roanoke, Ala., 'was precisely what I needed.' She says the clinic was 'a cross between a convent and a boot camp.'

'While I cannot indulge in the luxury of calling myself cured or recovered,' she wrote, 'I have found a measure of ease through understanding. ... Good things are happening.'

The book, published by Simon & Schuster, also includes vignettes from the presidential campaign trail.

Despite the effects of the campaign, Dukakis concludes her book saying, 'I still believe the best thing that ever happened to me was meeting Michael Dukakis.'

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