Former Mrs. WV - Marissa Loftis - Alcoholism - WOWK 13 Charleston, Huntington WV News, Weather, Sports

Former Mrs. West Virginia speaks out about battle with alcoholism

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Former Mrs. WV Marissa Loftis was charged with DUI last Friday. Former Mrs. WV Marissa Loftis was charged with DUI last Friday.
SISSONVILLE, WV -

There are three things you need to know about Marissa Loftis.

She is 27 years old.  She is the former Mrs. West Virginia 2012.  And she's a recovering alcoholic.

"I don't know what it is about alcoholics that they think they can't feel the same things normal people feel," Loftis said. "Alcohol just takes away the pain."

On the outside, Loftis is a beautiful woman. But only a few people know where her demons lie.

"I thought it couldn't happen to me," said Loftis, who's currently living with her mother in Sissonville. "But it can happen to anyone."

Loftis' battle with addiction peaked last Friday when she got lunch with a friend in Cross Lanes.

"I decided to have a beer at lunch. And there's a lot of people that can have one and stop. But if you have a problem, it's the first one."

On Friday, Kanawha County deputies arrested Loftis near Malden, where she was driving a 2009 Mercedes Benz that belonged to her friend. Deputies said she almost hit a deputy's cruiser while changing lanes.

Loftis' blood alcohol content was more than twice the legal limit, according to a press release from the Kanawha County Sheriff's Department.  Loftis was charged with aggravated DUI and was released on bond Friday.

Deputies cited Loftis' friend, William Shrewsbury, earlier in the day for reckless driving. Shrewsbury owned the car Loftis was driving that afternoon.

"Alcohol is a drug," Loftis said. "It destroys people's lives just like any other drug."

Loftis said she has struggled with alcoholism for the past year. She claimed her actions crippled her family, putting them through immeasurable pain.

"Even my five-year-old says, 'Mommy I don't like when you drink wine,'" said Loftis, holding back tears.

The beauty queen, who placed fourth in the Mrs. United States pageant, said she is speaking out to help others who battle alcoholism.

"I thought I was strong enough to do it on my own," she said. "It's more powerful than I am... you can get help. You can overcome it. I haven't. But I will."

Loftis will receive treatment at a center in Florida. She leaves Wednesday.