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No, this isn’t another post about a struggle with alcohol. It’s a story about my relationships with those who love it more than they love me.
Let’s be clear. I knew what I was getting myself into when I dove head first into this. I knew it was going to be a climb. One I was willing to push my needs aside for, so we could get to the top, together.
That isn’t the beginning, though. It began with my brother, as far back as I can remember, he always had a beer in his hand. Years went by, memories made with him and me, and the beer in his hand. I was far too young to know the problems that came with that beer. All I knew was that it tasted like pee smelled. Some years later, I knew just what problems were in that twelve-ounce bottle. Sometimes it was missed work. Sometimes it was sadness. Sometimes it was being unable to recognize his own family. Sometimes it was his entire house destroyed, for him to not even remember what happened when he awoke in the wreckage. All of that eventually led up to him losing his wife and kids, then his sister, and ultimately, his mother.
Alcohol is selfish. It takes everything it can, until you’re left at rock bottom, with nothing but you and it, so it can suck some more life out of you while you suck it down to forget about your life.
And here we are, years after losing my brother, something I’m still recovering from. It’s just as difficult, if not more, losing someone who’s still alive. You worry constantly if and when you’re going to get that call. Or if they even know who to call anymore. I witnessed the love between my brother and his wife come and go - fifteen years is a long time - and I always told myself, “There’s your lesson: learn from them and don’t make the same mistakes.”
Then I fell in love with him. The man of my dreams. The man that showed me how I’d been craving to be treated for my entire young life. The man who challenged me when I needed it, lifted me up when I needed, loved me even when he was mad, and still (deep down) loves me today. He’s everything. But he had one flaw. He loved the bottle, perhaps more than my own brother does. And he definitely loves it more than he loves me.
We’ve had our ups and downs, every relationship does. However, every relationship doesn’t have booze. The booze brings out the Mr. Hyde of my Dr. Jekyll. I don’t even know that man, and he doesn’t know me. He knows what he wants to believe, and I, as the sober one, have to endure the hatred of Hyde, every single time he comes to play.
“Why don’t you just leave?” Ha. Easier said than done. If someone told you to give up on the love of your life, could you do it? I didn’t think so. I try to rationalize with myself, “If you love him harder, believe in him stronger, try to pick him up faster than he can get down, you can save him. You’re not doing everything you can.”
The bitter, cold-hard truth is, it doesn’t matter what I do. I’m not the problem. I’m not doing anything wrong. The alcohol is the problem. The alcohol is killing his good side, and it’s taking me down with it. I’m finding that every day is filled with more and more anxiety - will I lose an entire night of sleep tonight because he picks a fight? Or because he’s having an emotional breakdown? - and all I can do is hope he wakes up, REALLY wakes up, before he’s at the bottom again, alone with his bottle.
You can’t save everyone. I’m learning that daily, the hardest way I can imagine.
There is help out there, if you or a loved one wants it.