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Old 11-12-2017, 08:15 PM
 
142 posts, read 97,005 times
Reputation: 178

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I dated a guy for ten years, and even though I knew he had a kind, good heart, he also battled alcoholism that seemed to snowball over time. As the years went by, it turned from embarrassing moments at parties with friends, to mental abuse and putting me through hell. There were times that I admit I enabled him, but he was a completely manipulative person who had total mental control over me, and it was not until I met my now fiance that I was able to break free. Even through those rough times, his family was always there and they were like a second family to me. His parents, sister, and brother are all incredible people, so I never understood why he battled so many demons so intensely. When we parted ways, it was not a simple breakup. I had to get a restraining order against him and he would harass me over the phone & even called my job once. Things were not good by any stretch toward the end, but I always felt pity for him and knew that as a sober person, he had endless potential to be a good human.

He loved animals and his niece and nephew dearly, so when we broke up I hoped that his family could help him get the help he desperately needed. That was not the case. It turns out he ended up homeless, and over the past few years I always braced myself for bad news that he would either be found dead on the street or end up dead in jail. I got a message today from a mutual friend who said he now has days to live and has been diagnosed with liver failure. That is not a surprise, but it doesn't mean it makes me any less sad.

His mother has been battling cancer for years, and she is still alive. I cannot imagine the pain she is going through knowing she will have to bury her child. I think back on the good times we had (yes there were still some of those) and the moments when he was sober when I remembered thinking what a great person he was and if he could just stop drinking how amazing he could be. The thought of him in a hospital in pain, with a DNR, not eating, and being on morphine with his aged parents by his side breaks my heart. I have been crying all day even though I have moved on with my life and have a wonderful fiance and we are getting ready for a move across the country before our wedding. I cannot help but think about the what-ifs, and the what else could I have done's, and all of the scenarios that might have changed the path of his life.

I know that it is not my fault and that he chose not to get help, but I also know that alcohol can really take a hold on you and it's sometimes impossible to shake it or stop it. I feel like I failed him somehow, the system failed him, and most importantly, he never loved himself to change his own life for the better. I cannot tell if I am grieving for him, his family, or just feeling guilty. The waves are just overwhelming.

Is it normal to feel this way about someone who treated you so badly once? For some reason the bad things are blocked from my mind and now all I can think about are the times he was sad, in pain, hurting, or just being the kind person he was capable of being when he really tried. It's just a lot to bear. He is only 42 years old so this is just very difficult to digest.
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Old 11-12-2017, 09:46 PM
 
Location: Texas
1,252 posts, read 544,359 times
Reputation: 6664
Virtually no one is all one thing or another; nothing in life is black and white. You loved (and may still) the good things about him and it does sound as if he had many.

Nothing you could have done would have changed his course. He was the only one that could have stopped the snowball rolling down the hill. Not you. Not his family. Not "the system." Try to put aside thoughts of "what else could I have done" and the "what ifs." That is not your failure. The experience will always be with you so use it to recognize if a present or future relationship is moving into an abusive zone. That is what you *can* do.

You are obviously a compassionate and loving person. I think the feelings you are having are completely "normal." You might reach out to his family if you feel you want to/can do so when he dies. But absolve yourself of any guilt you're feeling – though it may take some time.

Be kind to yourself. Focus on your new partner and move on with the rest of your life.
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Old 11-13-2017, 05:08 AM
 
Location: Texas
1,270 posts, read 1,251,964 times
Reputation: 1862
My heart goes out to you. I understand. Don't really have a lot to add. You'll get over this in time, enjoy your life!
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Old 11-13-2017, 07:02 AM
 
142 posts, read 97,005 times
Reputation: 178
Thank you both. I feel OK knowing that he won't suffer anymore nor cause anyone else in his life to suffer, so that is the positive. Onward and upward.
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