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Tuesday, July 25, 2006

Risk, Sacrifice and Growth

In one of my earlier posts, I spoke of a man who could never put me first. I, on the other hand, did put him first for many years.

There wasn't much I wouldn't do for him, that's how convinced I was of his potential. I invested time, energy, emotion, finances and trust, in the hope of a better life for us. I did love him, of that I'm sure. Everything I gave, I gave unconditionally and from a very good place.

He was an alcoholic. I say 'was' not because he no longer drinks, but because he is no longer alive. It killed him in the end. It is a horrible, hateful thing, to be an alcoholic. And it is especially hard on those who love one. While they may be able to drink themselves into a stupor and forget all the pain that pushes each glass to their eager lips, an alcoholic's non-alcoholic partner doesn't have that escape.

At one point, I gave up my home, my friends, my career (not just my job but my entire career) to give him what he wanted, to give him one of his dreams. I risked everything I had in a business I neither knew, nor cared for. I sacrificed friendships and my livelihood. I left the place I had grown up in and the place I will always call home.

We moved half way around the world to a foreign land where I couldn't speak the language, but he could. I threw myself into a business I had to learn from scratch. I put my life savings into a bold venture that quite literally brought us blood, sweat and tears. I learned the business as well as anyone who had been in it for years. I could quote standards and regulations better than some of the professionals. I introduced customer services that the industry had not seen before and which later proved to be the difference between success and failure.

But I failed in my relationship. And he failed me in the trust I had put in him. Sometimes no matter what we give, it's just not enough. My very soul wouldn't have been enough for that man. However, in the fifteen years I knew him, and especially during the four years I lived with him, he helped me grow in more ways than I ever thought possible. Adversity made me a better person, it proved to me how strong I can be, how resourceful I am. And I proved to myself that no matter how far down I let someone drag me, nothing and noone will keep me down there for long.

Andy, I hope your rest is a peaceful one and that you are finally free of your demons. And I hope you know in your heart that I loved you beyond words and beyond my own good sense, for a very, very long time.


Steve said...

I lived with an alcoholic, because my mom somehow saw him as an 'underdog'... and all he did was make her feel like an 'underdog.' She gave him a place to stay for years, even when he didn't work... and even when we had so little to give. Such a selfish, lowlife bastard. I honestly hated his guts... not now, really, but then... because he never loved anyone but his fucking alcohol.

I guess I should thank him though for teaching me that: Whatever it is you can't put down...it is your master. It is your god. And, our lives are only as powerful as our gods are. And now, I think, whenever anyone has such an idol, something in their life will suffer or die as a consequence of it... whether it is a once nurturing relationship, once secure financial situation, once promising future/career, once healthy body, or once stable mind. It always leaves us with unnecessary shame, a self-created world of fear, and feverish attempts to hide or cover what has happened.

I am glad that you found the strength to rise above all of your sufferings. Making peace with our pasts is a good thing for us to do - now that we don't live anymore in the past. But, I think you deserve all the credit for rising to where you stand today, acushla. That is just my opinion, dear.

Fiona said...

Oh Steve, I can understand how you felt. I had those feelings too sometimes. My god I felt such hatred at times, but not so much hatred for the man, hatred for his weaknesses. Hatred for him not being able to say no - I did help him dry out twice, including once in hospital, but the alcohol always won. Like you said "It is your god". It was his everything.

I used to drink, sometimes heavily. I think having a bit of an addictive nature, I could quite easily have gone the way he did. I'm thankful he taught me the lesson he did, though it was such a terribly hard one.

He came very close to taking me down into the gutter with him, goodness knows there was a time I would have gone there just to be near him.

I grieved for him for the last time at his funeral, looking at his picture and the urn and thinking....that's all there is after everything you went through Andy. And wondering if that's really how he wanted to end up, but it just took him longer than he expected.


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