Thursday, August 25, 2011

College Boyfriend is an Inspiration

My college boyfriend has overcome something very debilitating;Alcoholism. I had no idea when we met that he was struggling with addiction.

The night we met, he was drinking but I thought nothing of it as many students at the party were partaking in libations. We met at a "famous couples" party in the dorms. I was Joannie and he was Chachi from "Happy Days." The party was a group blind date in that you had no idea who your date was, until you saw him in costume.

I was excited to meet this guy but also a little apprehensive about the "blind date" concept. What made it easier was knowing all my buddies were in the same boat.

Once my girlfriend's and I walked into the party room in the dorms, we scanned the room looking for our dates. I finally saw a guy that looked like Chachi. I think he saw me too but was chatting with his friends. I finally mustered up the courage and walked across the room and introduced myself. "Hi, are you Chachi?" "yes, are you Joannie?".

He was a little shy but I found that appealing. He had a cute, boyish face and once we broke the ice, we had a strong connection and attraction to each other. He was my type and I was now very excited to see what this night would bring.

John and I ended up dating on and off for the next four years. I say on and off because I realized after a few months, he had a drinking problem. Unfortunately, I was "in love" and kept getting back together with him throughout my college career.

John eventually graduated from college, although it took him longer because of the heavy drinking. After college, he moved to Arizona with his brothers who were also addicts. His life went downhill from there and soon he would be a homeless man. He would dumpster dive for his food and was hanging out with other addicts. He was dating a woman with dual diagnosis of mental illness and drug addiction. He relates that it was common practice for her to scream throughout the day and night because of  her schizophrenia.

Eventually, the years of hard core drug use and heavy drinking caught up with him physically. He started passing out due to high blood pressure and eventually began suffering seizures. At the worst point of his disease, he found himself in the hospital twice, near death because his liver was now shot. He had cirrhosis of the lliver and the toxins were building up in his esophagus until it finally burst. He almost bled to death twice and this is when he chose to get help for his disease.

John knows that it's a miracle he's alive. I am so proud of the changes he's made and he is an inspiration to me and those who struggle with addiction. He's even back to running a marathon  he use to do before the addiction robbed him of this passion.

Through the years, I was kept updated on John's life and struggles. I sit here in joy and gratitude that my dream came true. That my college boyfriend would sober up and start living. I lost my mother and brother to this insidious disease, and John knows full well, it could have been him.