A year ago today, I asked one of the most amazing women I have ever known to marry me. Ellie is one of the smartest, strongest, most beautiful, most stubborn and feisty spirited women I have ever known. She is the woman that I believe my late wife Gee asked me to seek out after she died 11 years ago. For a week—one amazing week—Ellie and I spent our time together talking about all the things that would be necessary if we wanted to spend the rest of our lives together and raise a family.
Ellie and I talked about our children—she told me how she adored Asians with freckles—which our children would most likely be, having a Korean father and a red-headed, freckle-faced Irish mother. She told me she wanted to name our first two children Kelley and Cadence, and how both names would work whether we had boys or girls. We talked about waiting until she finished with college to get married. We talked about religion and how I was planning on converting to Catholicism, knowing full well how important her religious faith was to her from watching her grow up as a devout Catholic.
We even talked about the claddagh ring I had bought for her, and how it would be her engagement ring, but would be held in reserve for our first daughter after we got married. Her wedding band would be a custom claddagh ring I was designing. The band was to be made of platinum and the heart was to be a diamond—Ellie’s birthstone.
What I didn’t know at the time was that Ellie was suffering from alcoholism and drug-addiction and her addictions had been growing for almost a month—getting stronger since she started drinking heavily and doing drugs at the end of last May.
Last June 29th, Ellie wrote a post on Facebook saying that she was going down to Cape Cod to go drinking. Being concerned about her and wanting only the best for her, I wrote her a message asking her not to go drinking and not to use the fake IDs she had shown me the day before—she could not legally buy alcohol and using the fake IDs to do so would be committing a felony.
Ellie went from accepting virtual hugs and kisses from me the morning of June 29th to telling me to “F*#k off and lose her number” in less than four hours. The only real issue seems to be my showing concern over her drinking and asking her not to. We haven’t spoken since that day. I didn’t know what had happened or why she stopped speaking to me. It took me almost a month to figure out that Ellie had a serious problem with drugs and alcohol–that she was an alcoholic and a drug addict.
From talking to drug and alcohol rehab counselors, social workers, priests and an acquaintance of Ellie’s family who is a police officer, I understand that this kind of reaction is pretty typical for addicts/alcoholics that are confronted by a person they love about their addiction. It is also pretty typical for the drug addict/alcoholic to push away the people they care about and love most when their addictions take over their lives. The only person Ellie has pushed away in the past year is me.
Alcoholism and drug addiction run in her family. Her father’s side of the family is about 60-70% alcoholic or drug-addicted, including her father—who has been an alcoholic for most of the 30 years I have known him.
Her mother’s side of the family is not as badly off, but still has about 40-50% of the relatives dealing with either alcoholism or drug-addiction or both from what I understand. Her mother’s brother died in a car accident that occurred while he was both drunk and high. Her mother is not an alcoholic or drug addict as far as I know and the only reason I believe she has not helped Ellie is because she is terrified of her husband, Ellie’s father, who is emotionally abusive to Ellie and her mother as well as being a coward and a bully.
One reason I do not believe Ellie’s mother is an alcoholic or drug addict is simple—she was the one who asked me to help Ellie’s brother when he flunked out of Bentley College three years ago. She asked me to talk to him about his problems with drugs, alcohol and chronic depression. I doubt she would have been able to ask me to help him if she were an alcoholic or drug-addict.
Needless to say, Ellie’s brother is an alcoholic and drug-addict in denial. He does not believe he is an alcoholic or a drug-addict because he doesn’t have a problem with either currently. However, I believe that his chronic depression was the underlying cause for his drinking and drug use and that because his depression is being treated, those symptoms are under control as a result.
I think that Ellie’s drinking and drug use is also the result of an underlying issue—probably a self-esteem or anxiety-related one rather than chronic depression. I think that the triggering event for her drinking appears to be from January 2011, when she caught her first serious boyfriend cheating on her. I think her stubbornness and pride in being a good student allowed her to finish up the 2011 spring semester with an overall GPA of 3.634, but after the semester ended, she seems to have gone completely off the rails. I think she is self-medicating with alcohol and marijuana instead of dealing with the self-doubts and anxieties that she has.
She went from being one of the most studious people I know—a woman who was proud of her academic achievements and how intelligent she was—to someone who nearly lost the scholarship she needs to stay at the college of her choice because her grades were so poor. She went from making Dean’s List while taking FIVE classes per semester to not even making a B-average while only taking four classes a semester from what I can tell.
In fact, she posted on one of the social networking websites that she wasn’t sure where the semester went and that she was just getting into the swing of school. Unfortunately, that post was during finals week, in December, and she had spent most of the previous three months in a drug and alcohol induced stupor. She had been drinking or doing drugs or both heavily 5-7 days a week. It is no wonder to me that she did so poorly that semester—exactly as I had warned her parents would happen last summer.
Ellie fared better this past semester because she listened to advice I gave her, whether she is willing to admit it or not. She cut back on her drinking and drug use to one or two nights a week, re-focused on her studies, sought out a counselor and changed her selection of courses to something that would not overwhelm her academically—all things I wrote about in my posts to her.
She had originally planned on taking Accounting, Micro-Economics, Macro-Economics and Statistics as her course load for the semester. I advised her that any of those courses would be difficult and that she would most likely fail if she took all four in a single semester, especially given how poorly she was prepared for the semester given her habits of drinking and doing drugs on a near-daily basis. As far as I know, she only took Accounting of the four courses she had originally planned on taking this last semester.
Another worrying sign was the fact that Ellie was in a car accident in early January. It is likely that she was high or drunk at the time of the accident, by her own words. She was lucky that she wasn’t seriously injured or killed and that no one else was involved. She was also lucky the damage to her car wasn’t severe enough to require the police to be involved, as she likely would have been arrested. No one in her family wants to talk about the circumstances of her accident or admit that it was likely that Ellie was drunk or high at the time.
The odds are against Ellie—she has been driving drunk or high fairly regularly for over a year now. Eventually, she will get caught and arrested or be involved in an accident where she or someone else is injured seriously or killed. While I hope this doesn’t happen, I fear it is almost inevitable, especially given her drinking and drug use.
I also fear that ending up in jail or the hospital is the minimum Ellie needs to have happen before she will recognize that she is an alcoholic and a drug-addict and seek help for herself. I doubt anything less than hitting rock bottom and ending up in jail or the hospital will make her realize her problems with alcohol and drugs are really affecting her negatively. Her family is in denial and her friends are all part of the problem.
I finally decided to give up on the amazing woman I love and want to spend the rest of my life with because I simply do not believe she exists any longer. I believe that she has become a casualty of her addictions and is as surely gone as if she had died. All that is left of the incredibly beautiful, smart and stubborn woman that loves me is her physical shell, and it would appear her addictions are slowly destroying that as well.
I truly hope that my Ellie still lives—and that she is fighting her addictions and trying to get back to being who God meant for her to be. I hope she still loves me and is fighting to get back to me so we can start the amazing future we had spent a week talking about last summer. But, I do not think that will happen. It has been too long since I have seen any sign of the amazing woman I love and that loves me. The drug-addicted alcoholic she has become has chosen to cut all ties with me and continue with the lies she has been telling for most of the past year.
I’ve posted this video before…and it still holds very true. I still love my beautiful Irish rose more than anyone else I’ve ever known, even my gracious Gee. I still believe that Ellie is the woman that Gee asked me to seek out and to marry. I still want to marry Ellie and have a family with her and spend the rest of my life with her. If my beloved Ellie still exists—trapped beneath the horrors of her addictions and fighting to return to her true self—I believe she still loves me.
Regardless of what Ellie chooses to do with her life, her addictions and herself—I hope that she will remember that I love her. I really hope Ellie does realize that it is a choice she has to make. She can choose to remain the drug-addicted alcoholic she has been for the past year or she can choose to become who God meant for her to be. No one can help her until she decides she wants help and asks for it.
I truly hope Ellie realizes what her addictions are doing to her—that she chooses to fight them before they destroy her health, her body, her mind and her future. I hope she chooses to come back to the man she loves and that loves her, so we can start our future together.
May God watch over my beloved Ellie. God bless her and protect her, even from herself. May God grant her the strength, courage, and will to fight her illness and return to being her true self. May God grant her the wisdom to see the truth—both about her illness and about us.