Sunday, 12 July 2015

If Hollywood has taught us anything...... is to expect a Happy Ending.

The guy will get the girl. The World will be saved. The flawed hero will resolve his issues.

And alcoholics are glamorous tragic figures that will eventually be reformed.


Real life is quite a bit more ugly and messy than Hollywood would have us believe. (No Shit, I hear you say).

This weekend I caught a glimpse of what full blown addiction looks like. Not the Hollywood version. The bottom floor of the elevator.

The ex-wife of one of our close friends was admitted to hospital. She had been living in a squat with no running water, no sanitation, no food, just cheap alcohol. She was delirious.

This lady has been dependent on alcohol her whole adult life. She drank until she passed out. Her husband tried in vain to help. He paid for her to go to a private rehab clinic.

"I might as well piled up the cash on the front lawn and set fire to it. At least it would have provided some warmth"

He took a job in Northern BC, in a dry community (yes, they do exist) and took her with him, in the hope that lack of access to alcohol would break her dependency.

He came home from work one day to find her high from drinking bottles of mouth wash.

"At least her breath was minty fresh"  he said, a grim attempt at humour.

After years of trying, he took his kids and divorced her. Yet, over the following years, he still tried to help, bailed her out of jail, took her to hospital, paid her bills.

Ironically, the years of abuse on her body have left her brain fried, a form of dementia which means that she has somehow "forgotten" that she is dependent on alcohol. Her brain and body has made one final attempt to 'cure" turning this lady into nothing more than hollow vessel with the lowest possible level of functionality.

Our friend, despite all the drama over the years is heartbroken.

"I asked her one day, why she needed to drink" he said, "She told me....'imagine you are really hungry. At first you can ignore it, but eventually you have to eat. That's what alcohol does to me"

I completely understand the analogy of the elevator. With one exception. While we are riding the elevator down, we have the option to get off at different floors, and maybe in some cases, ride the elevator up.
But eventually, if you stay on, passing floor after floor; when you ride the elevator down so far -

 there are no "stop" buttons, no options to get off. No buttons at all. 

You just ride the elevator all the way to the bottom.

There is no Hollywood Happy Ending.


  1. How sad for your friend and her children. I am sure she never wanted to end up like that. None of us do. But somehow it happens.
    Scary, and helpful.
    Thank you.

  2. Thank you for sharing that. How sad for your friend.
    It's awful to think how far down alcohol can take some people. It ruins peoples lives. And unfortunately, it kills people. I have to think of this every time I think about drinking again. A x