Hello all-

Reading other discussions has helped me to not feel alone in this grieving process.

Five days ago I lost my partner of 11 years to alcoholism. He would have been 42 this past Monday and I'm 38. 

Many times I told him that I didn't want to be a "widower" and tried to get him help, as many other people did, because we didn't want this to happen. The disease is progressive and It was painful, difficult and frustrating to watch him deteriorate while refusing to get help.

Our relationship survived and even got better when he was deported almost three years ago. He moved to Rocky Point, Mexico, so he was only 3 hours away from me and was able to live by the water, which he loved. Life for him was difficult there as he was still alone. People came to visit but when we all had to leave he was devastated. He used to be such a hard worker but it was difficult for him to find work so he got so discouraged that he drank to the point of being unemployable. 

It got to the point where he would only leave the house when I, or others, visited or if he needed to go buy alcohol. Beer wasn't strong enough anymore and switched to some really hard stuff called Mescal, basically a Mexican version of Everclear.

I did separate from him for six months to send him back with his family who would basically force him to get help. I didn't want him to die on me. He did get a little help and being apart was so painful so he moved back with me to Rocky Point. Within 4 months he deteriorated so quickly and was in and out of the hospital but cheating death didn't even get his attention. 

He is the love of my life. Such a big-hearted, generous, unique and loving person. Many times I felt that he loved his alcohol more than me but alcoholism is a disease and I loved him for him, while always praying that he would get help and we could grow old together. 

Unfortunately that dream didn't come true and, last weekend, I got a call from our neighbor that Carlos passed away. He called me in the middle of the night and seemed a little confused but eerily calm. I called him early in the morning and he said that he was a little sick but would get help in the morning. I wasn't alarmed because he sounded ok and didn't tell me what was really going on. Going into the house told the story but I think he died peacefully.

Watching him slowly die was painful and scary but I knew the day would come but always held on to hope, but is still very painful and I miss him so much. For his family and friends that he lied about his drink to, it is a shock to them. It's comforting to be around them and help them grieve but everyday seems more painful than the other as reality sinks in. 

Sharing my story helps and thank you for reading. Reading about other experiences help as well. Any advice will be appreciated. Thank you.

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Michael:

My partner was an alcoholic too.  He passed away a little over three months ago after having abused himself for many years.  In 2011 he was diagnosed with chronic pancreatitis (the leading cause of which is alcoholism) which then became pancreatic cancer.  For three and a half years I was his caretaker as we were swept into a revolving door of endless visits to doctors offices and emergency rooms and then finally, sadly, into home care and then hospice.  I often asked myself why I just didn't leave him - it was only after he died that I realized it was because I loved him more than life itself.  In spite of all the horrors, the boozing, and the slow deterioration from a healthy, handsome, successful man to a shadow of what he once was, I still loved him and do so to this day.

All of that however is a story for another time, for now he is gone, along with the hopes and dreams we shared and along with a very large piece of me.  I'm left standing amongst the debris of my former life and love, wondering how this happened and whether I will ever be able to lead a normal life again.  At this point you are only about a week out from your partners death, so you are still in shock.  After three months I am only now (in the last week or two)  beginning to feel some of that shock and disbelief slip away.  In the interim I have been beset by every emotion it is possible to have, sometimes simultaneously.  You too will have more feelings on this subject than you ever thought possible.  You may not know it yet, but you are changed forever by your loved ones death and everything that led up to it.  What you will do with those changes only you will know and only after a very long time.  The only thing I can suggest to you as a fellow widower is to be gentle with yourself and try not to rush through the grief.  I know that is easy to say and quite difficult to do as I struggle with both issues on a daily basis.  Being gentle with myself requires constant practice and as far as rushing through grief,...... well the grief will not be rushed, it will only be over when the healing is complete, and I'm beginning to realize that will take some time.  

Initially, friends and family will want to comfort you and will try to coax you out.  You may not feel like you want to leave the safety of your home for a while, but when the time is right, try to venture out and begin reconnecting with other people.  I also found that it is important to find pastimes that help you heal.  In my case physical exercise has come to my aid.  I was never particularly athletic, but suddenly I have become a regular gym rat as I find that the only things that really ease my mind at the moment are lifting weights, power walking, kick boxing and yoga.  In your case it may be music that gives you relief, or movies, or walks in the woods.  Whatever it is, give in to it and let it help you.

The long and short of it is that recovery is a long term exercise, so hang on, take care of yourself,  let others who care about you help in the ways that they can, and know that in the end you will be okay, just not today.

My best wishes to you, and condolences on the loss of your partner.

Eric Furan

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