How the Alcoholic Boyfriend Dies
WHY YOU SHOULD CARE
Pumping the brakes on an alcoholic drive to nonexistence is a lot harder than it seems.
By Andrea Lang
The following True Story keys off of Defining Moments With OZY, which airs on Hulu, and follows viewers’ own moments, big and small, that have defined how they’ve chosen to spend the rest of their lives. Do you have your own Defining Moment? Tell us about it by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org, and we may feature your story.
We met 2 1/2 years ago on Bumble. We lived within walking distance, which made it easy to see each other and connect. I was not aware of his addiction to alcohol at first. Within three weeks though I began to suspect that he had an addiction.
It was Thanksgiving and his son and brother came over for dinner. I noticed that Warren didn’t want to drink in front of his son or his brother, so he would drink in the kitchen while they were watching football. Two days later, I emailed his brother asking if Warren was an alcoholic. He did not reply. I assume his brother mentioned this to Warren though because he later confessed to me that he was an alcoholic.
We were both divorced. My 27-year relationship ended simply because we had grown apart. We had no common interests, and I didn’t want to grow old and die without really feeling love.
Warren would drink 1 1/2 big bottles of rum daily starting as soon as he woke up.
Warren’s wife had divorced him because of his addiction though. He was sober for about nine of the 20-plus years he was married. He was destroyed by his disease, and in the end, his son was the only love he had, beyond golf.
He was no longer employed when we met, however he had been an executive at both Ernst & Young and PwC. During his tenure at these companies, he had been to rehab three times. When I was with him he got an interview with another accounting firm. He had been drinking excessively though, and his two brothers (who no longer cared to handle him) told me that I needed to get him coffee and sober him up for the interview.
I was angry about all of this, as his brothers needed to take care of him, not me. But I took care of him, and he got the job.
Two weeks later, he got drunk and never showed up at work again.
During this time, we were out at a restaurant and he was very drunk. I had bruises on my legs from him — Warren had previously been arrested for domestic violence — and I began to get nervous, so I told the manager.
Warren left and the cops came. But they arrest me. Warren had put two Xanax and an illegal pill in my purse. I had never been arrested in my entire life, and I spent the night in jail.
Warren would be sober for six weeks, and then … back to drinking and the pills. I learned where to find the booze and pills, and I took them and gave them to the cops.
“What day is it?” he asked. He had totaled his new BMW on Jan. 6.
“It’s the 14th,” I replied with tears in my eyes. He was sitting in his power recliner pushing the buttons. He sat there pushing the buttons to raise and lower his legs, all the while not comprehending anything we discussed. He hadn’t shaved or showered in weeks. The temporary bandage he got from the accident — until he could get his cast — was worn out and filthy.
His eyes were sullen and sad. His body was frail and weak, unlike when he was strong and muscular. The sadness in his eyes, his tone and his demeanor was beyond my ability to continue understanding him.
I said, “Your shirt is inside out and backward, Babe.”
He looked at me with death in this eyes and said, “I don’t care.”
In the past, he would try to turn his shirt the right way, and often fumbled and put the inside out shirt back on. I would smile and say, “No Love, it is still inside out.”
He would smile like a young boy knowing that I would love him no matter what. This time, he did not change his shirt. On the 14th he did not.
“What month is this?” he asked. My eyes filled with tears again as I handed him a Valentine’s card.
I went to a group for those living with alcoholics, and I found it did nothing for me. It was a group of people talking about their sad lives. It was no help.
We sat in silence as he looked at the envelope, and then at me as tears rolled down my face. Warren took the envelope. We sat there for a long time while he was trying to figure out what had happened over the past several months.
His hands were shaking. His legs were shaking. He struggled to open the envelope.
And finally, in a very soft tone, he asked, “Can you open this please?”
I didn’t understand what he was saying and asked him to repeat it. He rolled his eyes back into his head, and took both of his hands and placed them on his head. He was balding except for the sides and back of his head. When exasperated he would run his hands over his forehead like he still had hair there.
“Please Love, what did you say?” I needed to know. He whispered again, and I realized that he needed help opening the card.
On February 16, I found him dead.
I struggled to believe that it was a disease that killed him. I would disagree with Warren that he had a disease. I thought it was a cop-out. I’m not belittling AA, but I found that most people at AA hang out together at AA and then drink together. This is a general statement, but I have had several AA people tell me this. I went to a group for those living with alcoholics, and I found it did nothing for me. It was a group of people talking about their sad lives. It was no help.
I believe alcoholism is a chemical imbalance in the brain. And when it’s not diagnosed appropriately for the chemical imbalance, whether it is bipolar, ADHD or depression, they can’t be treated with the right neurologist-prescribed medications.
But alcoholics refuse to see the solution and prefer the quick fix of drinking. It’s the reward system in our brains. Warren would drink 1 1/2 big bottles of rum daily, starting as soon as he woke up.
I loved him, and it killed me to take care of him and, ultimately, find him dead. The defining moment for me? That I didn’t do enough. That his brothers would never help me. That the doctor would refill the Xanax three times a month.
I spent 2 1/2 years with Warren. At the funeral, they let me speak. My life has changed forever. Their lives have not.
- Andrea Lang, OZY Author Contact Andrea Lang