My alcoholic boyfriend died on New Year's at age 33

Old 01-23-2017, 05:03 PM
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My alcoholic boyfriend died on New Year's at age 33

He died of a mixture of alcohol and pills. We dated for four years, but broke up last February because of his drinking. I was extremely angry and cold towards him at that time because I saw his drinking as a betrayal and thought he was choosing alcohol over me. I didn't see him for six months. He begged me over and over to let him come see him but I just kept saying very mean things to him over and over. The hardest part is that I saved all those messages on my phone and now they are tormenting me. I finally agreed to see him in September, and we started seeing each other a few times a month (we now lived 2 hours from each other). I knew he was still drinking, but I was able to be his "friend" and separate myself from that. I just completely ignored the topic, basically.

He was such a funny and loving person. He told me he loved me all the time. He always made me feel beautiful. I loved who he was when he wasn't drinking, even though he wasn't perfect of course. I truly believe we had something other couples don't. There was just something special between us. I feel like I'm never going to love or be loved like that again.

He was more of a weekend binge drinker/partier than a daily, secretive alcoholic. We would go through this cycle where he would mess up and then he would win me back and tell me he's trying to change. Eventually he stopped winning me back and I hardened my heart toward him. It's like I stopped feeling our love.

This is even harder because I never got to tell him I love him again. I stopped saying it after we broke up, even though I love him so much. I never got to say I'm sorry for all the horrible things I said to him, to try to hurt him (in my mind I thought this would make him stop).

The worst thing is that he possibly died from xanax/alcohol. We haven't got the report back yet. In December I was telling him about how I get debilitatingly nervous during interviews. He said he had a friend with a prescription for xanax and he could get me a few and I said could I possibly of thought this was an ok thing to ask of someone with his problems? I'm worried he started taking the xanax after that because he never got it to me. Why didn't I worry about him? I didn't know xanax and alcohol was a lethal combination, but I still can't believe I did this. I was always heartbroken at the thought of him drying of cancer or liver disease, but I never thought something like this could happen to him. It would have been easier if we were together for this last year and still had our good days. I keep thinking of him alone at his apartment texting me about how he wanted his family back and how he breaks down everyday. And I just ignored it.

He asked if he could come down on New Year's Eve but I had to work....why didn't I just telll him to come anyway? Why didn't it concern me that New Years is a big drinking day? Why wasn't I worried? Why didn't I call him and tell him to be careful?

Also, the week before he died I was ignoring him because I knew he had a drinking episode. He denied and I texted him "never trust an alcoholic, rules 1, 2, and 3." He said he didn't blame me but it hurt. It's tormenting me now that it was left that way and I never get to see him and change it. I keep remembering all the times he told me he was going to love me forever and once he said "are we going to be old people together?" I just don't know if I can stand this heartbreak.
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Old 01-23-2017, 05:30 PM
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I'm so sorry for your loss.

Trust me, it wouldn't have been any easier if you were together over the past year. You probably would have had the horror of finding him dead. He would have gotten the xanax anyway--that part wasn't your fault. In fact, NONE of it was your fault. All the "I wish"s and "if only"s are just a product of your grief, not based on reality.

Please look into finding a grief support group or a counselor. These horrible feelings WILL pass, but they will pass more quickly if you have the best support as you work through it.

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Old 01-23-2017, 05:36 PM
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I'm so sorry. I cant imagine how hard this is for you. I left my ex when he was 33. I felt the way you did, but I just couldn't handle the fear of not knowing what would happen to him. Although not to the level you are experiencing, I understand the guilt of feeling the need to help them. You are not at fault. You did nothing wrong. You couldn't save him and it's not your job to love him into wellness. I really recommend alanon and therapy right now. You need support. Take care of yourself.
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Old 01-23-2017, 05:38 PM
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Empathy and prayers. Grief counselling?
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Old 01-23-2017, 05:40 PM
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I'm so sorry, Oread. I cannot even begin to imagine how you must feel, but you need to know that none of this is your fault. It just isn't. You had no control over what he chose to put in his body. You didn't force him to drink or use pills. The addiction did, and you can't beat the addiction. You just can't. Only the addict can choose to do that. I know you have guilt, but I don't believe there was anything you could have done that would have changed the outcome. It may not have happened as soon as it did, but it would have happened eventually. None of us are responsible for anybody's life but our own as adults. Our choices, our consequences.
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Old 01-23-2017, 05:52 PM
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Oread, I'm sorry for the pain this has caused you. I'm glad you wanted to talk about what happened.

I went through a similar situation with my husband. He had started drinking at a young age - but I didn't realize he was an alcoholic until it tore our lives apart many years later. We can love someone with all our heart and not be able to help them. I tried every approach in the book - and nothing worked. He was drinking 24/7 and couldn't see a way out - not even to save our marriage. I know he loved me deeply & we had a son. Giving up on our relationship tore my heart out, but I couldn't go down with him.

Please don't torture yourself with thoughts of what you might have done differently. Based on what you told us, it's not likely his story could have had a different ending - no matter what you said or didn't say. My husband passed 10 yrs. ago - still filled with regret & remorse for having lost me - and still drinking.
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Old 01-23-2017, 07:04 PM
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Not your fault-- not even for a minute

His fault. 100 percent his fault. He was an adult, not a child, and you were his girlfriend, not his mommy, and his ex-girlfriend at that. It is not incumbent upon those of us who love alcoholics to save them. We can't. It's not incumbent on us to change our lives to accommodate them and their needs. We can't and be happy.

It is incumbent on us, and alcoholics too, to do what is necessary to take care of ourselves so we can be present in the lives of those we care about (as long as they aren't toxic, then it's incumbent on us to not be involved with them even if we love them).

I support two people and help support four others-- if I take energy to deal with the alcoholic/addicts who surround me, and they do surround me, it takes away from those six people who deserve everything I'm capable of sharing with them. Two of them are children and there is nothing, not one thing, more important than properly caring for children.

Good luck to you.

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Old 01-23-2017, 07:16 PM
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You loved him. He loved you.

You are not responsible. He made choices that you could not have impacted.

I believe in multiple lives. I believe that we get to play out the story over & over until the ending changes.

I am going to make two hard suggestions now. Forgive yourself - it was not your story to control. & (harder, even) at some point you are going to need to erase those messages off your phone. Trust me. I recently deleted messages from my mother. Who was an alcoholic (& died last year inside her alcoholism) & who I loved deeply. There was something about the ceremony of letting those messages go (& I did consider & make it ceremony) which helped me heal.

I am a big believer in ceremony. I believe in taking special time (maybe off work, maybe in another place) to truly say goodbye.

Drugs & alcohol actually kill people. It is not your fault.

I am so, so sorry for your loss. I'm sure you were one of the most important humans in his life..
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Old 01-23-2017, 07:42 PM
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Ps. You will love & be loved again.

You can build him a sweet little cabin in your heart in which the memory of his goodness will reside forever. The human heart is vast, & can both contain those we lost & those we will love in the future.

Trust the wide open spaces of your heart. His being is safely within you now, and yet you still have the capacity to love. A million humans before you have lost precious beings & lived to love again.

Love is infinite and always.
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Old 01-23-2017, 08:13 PM
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Thank you all for your messages. It's been comforting for me tonight. I'll probably come back read them several times
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Old 01-23-2017, 08:20 PM
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O read, this is so sad. I'm so glad you reached out to tell your story.
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Old 01-23-2017, 08:32 PM
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So sorry for your loss, Oread. It's not your fault, not in any way, shape, or form.

God bless.
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Old 01-24-2017, 12:16 PM
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I'm sorry about the loss, it's tragic when someone destroys themselves. My sister-in-law's brother died of alcoholism last week at 40. He'd been living in an abandoned trailer in a crappy Texas town after cutting off all ties to his family. Heartbreaking.
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Old 01-25-2017, 12:42 AM
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Oread, it's very common for the people left behind after a suicide (if it was that and not an accident) to think 'If only...' I'd said this, or done that. Truly we can't play God with peoples' lives because we don't have that power over them or fate.

In reality he always had the choice of staying sober. Yes, it is hard, but it can be done. It was his life and his decisions. I'm glad you saw something of him towards the end so you're not left with the impression that you caused it. You didn't.
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Old 01-25-2017, 04:53 AM
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Hello Oread,

I am just so sorry for your loss! I understand it pretty well. Although not from addiction, I lost my husband suddenly and unexpectedly in October 2015. The guilt that I feel over not being able to recognize the signs--of not being able to save him--is overwhelming at times. And yes, I go back over all the things I said to him that day, things I wish I had said, things I wish I hadn't said...I get it, truly I do.

In my clearer and stronger moments, I know, intellectually, that I am not responsible for my husband's death. I also know that he loves me still and that he does not want me torturing myself with all the 'what if's' and the 'why didn't I's'.

Your boyfriend loves you still (I am Christian, and that is my belief). He walks with you as you continue living. Please grieve in your own way and in your own time. Come here to talk as often as you need. A grief counselor may prove invaluable to you, too. It has helped me.

Sending prayers and good thoughts for you and your boyfriend.
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Old 01-25-2017, 06:25 AM
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Oread I am so very sorry for your loss. I think grief counseling is a great idea. You need someone who you can talk out all of your feelings and help guild you through all the stages of grief.

We can all tell you that nothing you could have done or said can stop an addict from drowning in their own addiction but you need to come to that conclusion on your own. This is where a counselor can help.

Of course you can post here and post as often as you need to we are here for you.
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Old 01-25-2017, 06:42 AM
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Thank you all again. I did see a therapist last weekl but I didn't like her much. She seemed disinterested and her office was dirty. Despite this, it felt good saying things aloud. I don't really have any friends to talk to. My boyfriend was also my best and only friend. I will call someone else and set up an appointment today.

It was not a was an accident. He was with a friend who also overdosed. I'm upset that he did something so stupid. He was a smart man but alcohol made him very stupid and reckless.

Thank you, although I'm not Christian , I do believe he is with me sometimes. It is comforting in some ways and frustrating in others. I've been talking to him aloud begging him to show me a sign but there's been nothing.
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Old 01-25-2017, 07:04 AM
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It is important that you feel a connection with a counselor, glad you are going to try someone else.

Maybe the sign from him is that you found your way in seeking help with therapy and coming here to SR. Maybe the sign from him is that he wants you to make the positive choices for your life that he didn’t make for himself.

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Old 01-25-2017, 07:08 AM
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I have found the support of Al-anon helpful recently, maybe it's something to explore. Being in a group with others who have suffered is therputic for me at this time.

You are not alone - sorry for your pain.
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