“I’ve stuck around, through thick and through thin
You cannot deny, I’ve always been in
But I’ve watched you stand, still as a snowman
But I don’t see you change, you’re always at meltdown
Yeah I’ve been your crutch, your smell sight and touch
Yeah I took you home when you’ve drunk too much
But I can’t survive, with you by my side
See I’ll never get laid, while I’m running your life”
~Sia, The girl you lost to cocaine
I finished my bottle of Frangelico now. I’ve had it in my cupboard for 18 months. There was no other alcohol in the house and I wanted a wind down drink at the end of the week.
The bottle’s lid has got his teeth marks in it – from when he opened it for me. It was the bottle he bought me after he drank most of the first one I bought for myself. He drank about three quarters of it straight, after around 15 bottles of beer. Well that’s how many I counted when I put them in the recycling the next afternoon, right before he started on 10 more bottles. That Frangelico was from the last time since. Since everything. It carries too many memories for me. I never get that nostalgic when I have a glass of Frangelico, lemonade and lime at the pub.
I never noticed how drunk he was. I had drunk a lot on our first night too – a bottle of wine and a quarter of the first bottle of Frangelico – though I was still in control. I guess it was nerve calming, passion fueling, confidence boosting. We were both as shy as each other. The amount of drink he consumed alarmed me, but his behaviour didn’t seem seem extreme. Not even when he stepped back and fell on the heater as we were making the bed. I reached out to pull him up, worried he had hurt himself on the grill. He didn’t feel it. He was most proud he’d fallen with his beer upright. In the morning, I showed him the burn marks on his ribs. He didn’t remember the fall. I guessed he had a high tolerance to alcohol.
When he told me he had gone to rehab last year, and then to psychiatric care, he said he was determined to give up the alcohol. He wanted to change his life. He did with the help of counseling and medication and some temperamental willpower. It was hard reading his words. There were so many of them and I was hurting for him. He’d tell me his darkest thoughts. But there was progress too.
When I spoke to him at his most desperate, he’d been drinking again after six weeks of abstinence. He sounded so desperate, so sad. He got some proper help, again.
His medication kicked in. We continued to send long messages to eachother about everything. Mainly about how he was feeling, and how pleased I was about his progress, and sometimes he told me about how he regretted losing me for a while. I liked this ‘new’ person. The gold I saw shining from him since I first came to know him again was shining the brightest then. I loved him again. I hadn’t stopped loving him. And he needed me again. The written word between us was as powerful as our embrace.
I told the counselor that I felt guilty about wanting to feel needed by him, and feeling useful, especially at his most vulnerable. The counselor told me that the desire to feel needed is natural and if I felt I was getting something from this relationship, then it was ok. My second greatest fear was that one day he’d no longer need me.
And then it all fell apart. He met her and things couldn’t be the same between us. Of course we won’t still be friends. Or whatever the hell we were. I was no longer needed.
I said to my mum that one of the things that upset me most was that I never spoke to him on the phone or in person sober. That really hurt. Especially knowing how happy he was, sober, loving his new life and love, and knowing that I couldn’t share in that.
The situation changed so quickly that I experienced grief. Gone were the long emails and texts. Gone were the moments he made me smile and cry at the same time. From then it was just tears. He had used me in one of the worst ways possible.
I worried that I was as addicted to contact with him as he was to drugs and alcohol. Was I? Was I experiencing the same depression as him, if not for a brief period?
We are still in contact, sort of. If you count him liking my Facebook statuses and me silently questioning his maturity. I see he’s drinking again now. I’m so disappointed. Hurt even. All those hours and messages and suicide threats and tears of worry were for what? Another girl can deal with that now. It doesn’t mean I don’t still wonder and worry. But I can’t help someone who doesn’t want to help themselves, or who doesn’t want me.
I received the most amazing email from a friend, confirming my worth and congratulating me on my success. My friend told me he had tears at 2.30 am just thinking about what I’ve achieved. I realised that I’d been receiving validation from the wrong person for far too long. I’ve been wanting to be needed by someone who doesn’t deserve me.
I haven’t been remembering him as vividly lately. I guess I haven’t been actively thinking about things. As I poured that last glass of Frangelico, I realised I had washed away a story. I didn’t feel pain, in fact, I breathed a sigh of relief and said “it’s gone”. Ironic that I had drank it away. There were two drinks left in the bottle, 13 less than the beers he’d had on our first night together. I felt in control. Not sad. My eyes have stayed dry as I’ve typed this story, and that Frangelico helped me tell it.