Leah McSweeney of ‘Real Housewives’ Takes a Cold Plunge

    The publicity for her femme street wear line, Married to the Mob, didn’t hurt either.

    But her second season, which aired in last year, felt different. And not only because she had quit drinking, a decision motivated by how she saw herself onscreen. “The show is a good mirror,” she said.

    Returning sober and, in the middle of the pandemic, with her grandmother dying, she struggled to deliver. “The producers were like, ‘Leah, lighten up,’” she said. “I just couldn’t. I’m so new to it. The other women are good at compartmentalizing. I can’t turn that part of myself off.”

    She persevered and when the season finished, with the fate of “RHONY” undetermined, she began to write her book, which details her mental health struggles and a history of substance abuse. The first version was exceptionally raw. And even after working with an editor, the book remains raw.

    “I can’t believe I’m just telling people that I had a crystal meth addiction,” Ms. McSweeney said, describing a period in her teenage years when she went in and out of rehab. “This is not something that I talk about openly. It happened a long time ago. It’s kind of a world away. To open up about it was scary.”

    Scary, but also apparently healing. “I think it just got me in touch with myself,” she said. “I had kind of lost myself.”

    Ms. McSweeney had no problem finding herself at the spa. After maxing out at 10 minutes in the sauna, she threw herself into the ice-cold plunge pool, then recovered with a warm shower, which left her feeling serene, floaty. “You’re aligning your body mind and soul,” she said.

    In the brightly lit restaurant, back in her robe, she relaxed with a ginger juice and a bowl of vegetarian borscht. Hurricane Leah, a nickname that became the title of a “RHONY” episode, had been downgraded to a light drizzle. Wall Street Bath had done its work.

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