Death by Alcohol!
Death by Alcohol!
There comes a time in one's life when the words "I've seen it all," "It can't get any worse than this," or "I've seen worse" don't mean a thing. A moment when one walks into a reality beyond anything imaginable (a real life horror story,) and most definitely a life altering, eye opening, slap in the face. That moment, for me, began to unravel a week ago today...the day that alcoholism reared its ugly face into my life once again!
The phone rang mid-morning on Sunday. My husband and I did our usual routine of looking at the caller ID, you know...the "It's for you, you pick it up" routine. It read "Private Number," so I decided to answer. On the other end was a strange woman's voice asking "Is this Wendi? May I please speak with Larry?" As I handed the phone to him I was immediately overcome with a sinking feeling in my heart...without a word coming out of his mouth yet, I already knew that this was the call we had been anticipating for quite some time.
You see, since I met Larry (which was almost seven years ago) he had been complaining about his brother's heavy drinking. I heard many stories about the kind of drinking he did, and was unfortunate enough to actually witness it when we all vacationed together for a week. Although he was drinking daily during the vacation, he didn't seem to be drinking nearly as much I had envisioned. However, being as I only had one year's sobriety under my belt at the time, it was very difficult to watch.
That's neither here nor there though...that was five years ago, and last Sunday my brother-in-law was found dead in his house. He drank himself to death!
We knew he had been hitting the bottle very heavily,and steadily, for quite some time. He would either call our house plastered, or not call for a few days in a row...meaning he was in his "black out" binge drinking mode.
Three weeks ago he showed up at our door step, with the intention of going hunting with my husband. He literally could not walk. He had to be carried up the stairs. It is inconceivable to me how the man managed to make it out of his driveway, never mind the 390 mile drive from his house to ours. I had never seen anyone shake as badly as he did for the three days that he was here. We basically watched the man detox on our living room couch, then hop into his truck to make the six hour trip back home and proceed with his slow, and painful, suicide.
After receiving the phone call, we decided it would be best to wait until early Monday morning to make the trip up there. While preparing for our trip we received three separate phone calls, warning us about how messy the place was. One call came from the State Trooper who was there for the removal of the body (and also had the foresight to remove the multiple "loaded" guns that were lying around the house,) and two more calls came from the neighbors who found the body. We were warned...but by no means could we have been prepared.
The instant my husband opened the door to that house I began to gag. The odor was beyond anything I could have ever imagined...and we were only at the entrance of the laundry room. There were clothes (both clean and extremely soiled) piled over the entire room, I could barely make out the washer and dryer underneath it all.
Then we proceeded to the kitchen, where I almost lost my breakfast. There wasn't a single unsoiled dish, or clean spot in that room. The only way I can describe what I was smelling (and what I still can't get out of my head) was a combination of spoiled food, alcohol, dead animals, and feces combined. The farther we made our way into the house, the more powerful the odor became.
We spent the entire day sifting through, and throwing out, the top layer of this man's possessions...making very little headway. Finally, at about 10:00PM, we decided to call it a day and checked into a local hotel with the intent of returning the next morning to finish up. However, after only one hour of helping my husband drag more trash outside, I completely broke down.
I could no longer handle it. I have spent my entire life surrounded by the disease of "alcoholism." My father died of an aneurysm at the age of 65 , but his health had been failing for years due to his very heavy drinking and smoking. My younger sister had spent several nightmarish years in the depth of addiction before finding her footing 15 years ago. And I spent almost 30 years of my life trying to drink myself to death...although not quite as viciously as this man did. So when I saw what had become of him, and how badly his disease had progressed, I could not process what had happened at all...I still can't.
It has been a week now, and I am still struggling with this. Usually, when I write about what bothers me, I am able to find some sort of closure. Unfortunately this is not one of those times. Although I am feeling a little bit of relief, I'm still not able to rid my mind of what I saw, or make myself understand how this could happen. I understand this disease, I just never knew how unbelievably evil it could be...until now!
I know that there was nothing we could have done to stop this...he had to want the help. And, on a side note, my husband just asked that I add (to this hub) the fact that he had reached out to his brother multiple times...offering to get him the help he needs.
But my thought, right now, is that if this little blurb of mine (and the pictures of what I witnessed) keeps "just one" person, struggling with this disease, from following the same path as my brother-in-law, then the last hour that I spent writing was the best spent hour of my life!