Alcohol will kill you … eventually

Eventually, alcohol will kill you. Drink enough, for long enough, and you’ll die. It’s as simple as that. 

Yesterday, my alcoholic cousin died. This isn’t a eulogy. I didn’t know him very well, and what I did know, didn’t endear him to me. He wasn’t much liked by anybody.

He was a liar, a cheat, an identity thief. No one wanted to know him. At my grandmother’s funeral nearly a decade ago, he blew in like human tumbleweed. Some remember him in a white jacket.  I don’t. What I recall is a pin-thin man in what looked like hospital whites, his body lost in the bagginess of them. He looked about 70.

Maybe he thought he looked like this… (source: http://www.tumblr.com)

At some point during the ceremony he stood, wavering in the aisle at church. Then he shuffled quietly into a pew, remaining there until the mass ended before he got up, got into a car, and was driven away.

That was nearly 10 years ago. It was the last time I ever saw him.

I’m not upset.

He was not real to me in the way that so many in my family are. No, he was a story – a rumour. There were always stories about him: how he stole my aunt’s identity to open multiple credit accounts, how he took jewellery from another aunt’s home, how he would leave restaurants without paying. We talked about his escapades with a mixture of awe and disgust that, when cemented together, acquired the status of lore. But it was better than that because it was true. All of it was true.

He was a bit more like this… only defiant. Source: 123rf.com

No one talked about his drinking. Not because it was taboo, but because it was expected. His father had been an alcoholic – had died of it. It was inevitable that he should do so, too.

My cousin started drinking when he was 18. He drank until his liver packed up. In his latter days, he was virtually bed-ridden. His mother – my aunt – cared for him, enduring the burden of his demands and despairs, until she had a heart attack and died.

My cousin moved into a hospice for a while.. until they found out he was smuggling in drink. Kicked out, he took up residence elsewhere – at another hospice – where the rules were not as strict.

And then he died.

Mercifully, he had no family – no partner, no children.

He was 47.

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3 thoughts on “Alcohol will kill you … eventually

  1. I am also the wife of an alcoholic with my own blog.. I totally relate. I am still the wife of an alcoholic and I do not know why, but the one thing that really makes things all the more tougher is to be guilt and shamed by others who ask me WHY ARE YOU STILL WITH HIM as if I have done something wrong. To have your life upended as mine has been is devastating g enough…the words and opinions of others have caused me even more pain. Take care of yourself.

    • You know, I remember getting similar comments from some people, and I found myself occasionally apologising for where I was. The thing is, we all make the choice that’s right for us at the time, and frankly, you don’t have to justify your decisions to anyone. I think we never really stop being the wife of an alcoholic. And your choice to remain may arise from any number of reasons… Why are you still the wife of an alcoholic? Maybe because you love him. Or because he’s the father of your children. Or because you think you can save him. Or because you think you have to, otherwise he’ll die. Or because it’s all you know. Or because of all of those reasons… or none of them. It doesn’t matter. Your reasons are your own. You take good care of yourself. Thanks for dropping by.

      • Yes, everything you have stated above speaks true to my situation. Unfortunately, necause of the feedback and comments, I am forced to not speak of the things that happen, or what is difficult for me, because of being “shamed” for staying with him and “letting” him verbally hurt me. That’s another one – I “let” or “allow” him to treat me as he does. Which goes back to the shaming thing – or putting blame on me. It’s hard. I know that I would never judge another for staying in a situation unless I have walked in their shoes. I have walked in your shoes and you have walked in mine and we know. And you so beautifully and nonjudgmentally said everything that is true as to why women like myself stay. Most often, we can’t explain why.

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