By his own admission Michael Blanchard had reached rock bottom. As he writes in his new book Fighting For My Life: “It was 2 a.m. I awoke in a strange and cold place with bright overhead fluorescent lights, numbness and tingling in my wrists, and the gentle and yet stern look of a Massachusetts state trooper. I still remember his smile and how odd it seemed to receive empathy from a police officer who must have known this was my third DUI in three months.”

Fighting for My Life combines Mr. Blanchard's story with photos of the Island.

Mr. Blanchard lives in Maine and Martha’s Vineyard. For years he had been a hard-driving executive who didn’t care what people thought about him as long as he got the job done. And he did. But success in business came with a price. To fight the stress he turned to alcohol with increasing frequency.

The story is far too common. The escape into alcohol is managed for a time, with two lives being lived, the one that shows up for work as a model citizen and the person who goes home at night disappearing into a serious problem. Eventually, the two lives converge and work, relationships and home life all come to a screeching halt.

“As I lay in the hospital bed, I began to see myself as those I loved did: I was a lying and deceitful drunk who threw everything away while devastating those close to me. I was consumed by alcohol. I was infected with an incurable disease that would eventually kill me and maybe kill others. The only answer seemed to be to take the remaining thirty Xanax pills with my quart of vodka and get it over with.”

Mr. Blanchard chose a different path. He entered rehab. It worked for a bit, 18 months sober, but then he relapsed. He tried again, this time committing to rehab for three months, and when he came out he realized that in order to quit something that consumed his life he needed to begin something new. Mr. Blanchard had no experience with photography but after attending a seminar where a speaker told “an emotional story of an individual who suffered severe depression and found photography therapeutic,” he decided to give it a try. It didn’t hurt to have the perfect subject matter right in front of him — Martha’s Vineyard.

Michael Blanchard's photos evoke the beauty and the serenity of the Island. — Michael Blanchard

Fighting for My Life is both the story of Mr. Blanchard’s downfall, and through his pictures his return to the living. The numerous photographs evoke the beauty and serenity of the Island. Some come with lessons he has learned, 16 in all, ranging from letting go of past pain to his understanding that helping others is the real path to happiness.

“My photographs are not just pretty pictures,” he writes. “They are reminders to me of where I was when I took them, the hope that was in my heart, and how I want to continue living my life ­— sober, serene, honest.”

Mr. Blanchard will launch his new book, published by Vineyard Stories, at an art show and signing on Saturday, Oct. 11, from 4 to 6 p.m., held at the office of Homes on Martha’s Vineyard, located at Post Office Square in Edgartown. He will donate $5 for every book sold to Martha’s Vineyard Community Services, which is a cosponsor of the event.

For more information, contact Jan Pogue at Vineyard Stories at 508-221-2338 or And visit to view Mr. Blanchard’s photography.