It was 3 months into the relationship when he told me he drank a 6 pack every night after we got off the phone. I was high when he told me. So was he. We were in Seattle. It was legal. And I didn't know I'd been dating a user or else I would not have been high.
He uses alcohol and marijuana to cope... to get through his nights. This was something I'd seen, felt, heard, and experienced before.
I was 13 years old when I found out that my brother was a drug dealer. I was 15 years old when he was arrested for his first D.U.I.
By the time it was legal for me to drink, I'd seen my brother in and out of jail. I'd watched him undergo multiple face surgeries from drunk fights, driven him to his court-mandated classes, and picked him up from bars when he was half-conscious, but don't worry, he "wasn't an alcoholic."
My ex told me, during that sleepless night in Seattle, that he knew he had a problem. He told me he wanted to get better and I did something silly. I believed him. He was so different from my brother, he actually wanted help, right?! So maybe, just maybe, he could get better and our relationship could return to its state of bliss, right?!
After experiencing the effect alcohol had on my family, over the course of 10 years, I knew I couldn't date a man with the same problem as my brother. The 10 years of trauma started bubbling up.
But I told him all about my brother within the first month of dating. He knew how much of a deal breaker it is for me! Why is he doing this?! I'd think to myself.
Why is this happening? Why have I attracted this situation into my life? I asked myself. How did I fall in love with a closet alcoholic?
We (my family and I) got him help.
The same help my brother received. The same help I received for my eating disorders. Can you say #familydisfunction? And it worked. For a moment anyway. Enough moments to move forward, but (luckily) not all the way forward.
You see, I live in San Diego. We were in a long distant relationship. So a few weeks before he was meant to move down permanently (he had a job lined-up and everything), we were FaceTiming and that's when I saw it. The beer can behind his head. This wasn't the first time I'd 'caught' him, it was about the 3rd.
In that moment, my whole life changed. My mind's trajectory disappeared. Everything in me sunk to that place within that's deep and dark and scary because I knew my future wouldn't be continuing as planned.
He chose the beer. Just as he had before. Just as my brother had before him.
My ex made the conscious decision to stop at the liquor store. To park. To walk in. To pull out his card. To buy the beer. To bring it into (what was) our house and drink it in (what was) our bed.
I had to walk away from the relationship. When we finally talked (5 days after seeing the beer can) I told him that's what I had to do. He said, "I know." And that response provided an enormous sense of relief. He understood. He knew he had to set me free and I had to trust him. To trust that he would get the help he needs --- on his own.
He tried to drink away his darkness. Just like so many do. And all I can do is hope, wish and pray that he is okay.