I Left Him on a Rock
A Story About a Drunken Episode
I dated a man who suffered from severe alcoholism that eventually killed him. Sometimes the drunken binges lead to fun, sometimes not. The affair lasted for a year and a half during which time there many “episodes” that could be cast either way. This is one such story.
We were having dinner in the basement bar in a historic hotel in town near my lake house as we’d done most weekends we were away. He ordered 3 or 4 Manhattans, Jack Daniels, straight up, as usual. We had some wine with our dinner. He ordered port for dessert. He was such a steady, heavy drinker that he rarely appeared to be drunk.
After the check was paid, I went to the ladies room. When I came out, Charlie was at the bar being friendly and chatty with three women and a young man. I was ready to leave. Charlie had ordered another drink and had bought a round for the few people at the bar. The bill probably totaled $250. He had a good job, but not a lot of extra money. I realized I would have to stand there and wait for him to finish his drink, or leave him there and go back to the house. I let him introduce me to his new friends. I was not having another drink because I was always the designated driver.
I quickly grew tired of standing there. I told Charlie I was leaving and he could come with me or find another way home. He apologized to his new friends for my unwillingness to hang around, finished his drink and said goodnight.
We ascended the steps up to the street. When we got on the sidewalk, I noticed what looked like a lively place across the street. It looked like they had music happening. When I took an interest, Charlie was quick to suggest we go over and check it out. It was a dive bar called “Jive”. It looked like an adventure, so I agreed to go over for ONE drink just to see what was going on.
We walked in to a bar that clearly looked like a place to just get drunk. It was in a working class town so the bar was lined with working class men busy with their night’s work. A few gave me the up and down. There was no music. There was a strange mix of dim and bright lights which diminished the glow of the neon behind the bar.
Charlie took his place at the bar and ordered a drink. I wasn’t having any more to drink, and felt our mission was accomplished seeing there was no band playing. It was quickly becoming crystal clear to me that this was not a great place to hang out. Charlie was always happy if he had a drink.
I walked over to the bar and got Charlie’s attention once more. This was starting to look like a night when he would be noticably drunk. I’m not sure what was different. It was probably just a perfect storm of food and alcohol intake, high blood pressure, medication for same, and a fluctuating metabolism. I reminded him that we had been planning to go home since we had left the restaurant, but had gotten sidetracked.
He reluctantly agreed to go. We started to walk toward the door together, he stumbling drunk, and me with a wobbly gait from the stroke.
The manager quickly caught up to us and asked with great concern which of us was driving. I assured her that I was and I was fine. I was walking with a cane so I explained to her that I was disabled, not drunk, and that I drive all the time. She was just doing her job. Charlie was looking more and more unstable and silly.
The manager was reluctant to let us leave alone so she escorted us out the door.
We were parked around the corner in front of the first restaurant we visited that night in a handicapped parking space.
Charlie walked up to the first car he saw directly in front of the bar, and tried to open the door. “Is this your car?” he slurred. It was a Japanese mid size sedan. I drive a German SUV. The confusion was maddening.
The idea of not remembering we had parked around the corner was a bit unbelievable to me. I calmly informed the bar manager that he was trying to get in the wrong car. I tried to explain to Charlie that I would have to go get the car because he was wrong. He seemed just as surprised by this as I was about him being mistaken.
I internally debated leaving without him. I wasn’t sure I wanted to be in charge of him for the night. He had credit cards and there was a hotel across the street. I worried he would be too drunk to deal with it. This was as drunk as I’d ever seen him.
It was even more clear that he was drunk out of his mind when he stood there and let me walk to the car by myself in the dark. He was a safety engineer, a perfect match for me being a safety hazard to myself at all times. He was normally fiercely protective.
I drove around the block to be able to pull up to the front of the bar. The manager helped Charlie get in the car. I assured her we were fine, and off we went.
No sooner had he gotten in the car, he started to paw at me. I am able to drive using only my right arm. For this reason, I have a strict rule prohibiting anyone touching me when I drive. He knew this.
I warned him repeatedly to stop or I would stop the car and let him out. He was better for a little while, then started again.
After I drove in to the community where my house is, I pulled over to the side of the road and told him to please get out of my car.
He was mostly agreeable. He opened his door and practically fell out of the car. He stumbled over to the nearest rock and appeared to be trying to get comfortable for the night.
I was ambivalent about what I was doing. I needed to make a strong point about not messing with me when I drive. I knew it was likely he wouldn’t remember a thing the next day.
I drove away into the very dark and slightly cold night. It occurred to me as I drove up the road that there was a chance Charlie wouldn’t be able to figure out how or be able to walk to the house which was about a quarter of a mile from the spot where I’d left him. I knew he was nervous sitting on that rock, or maybe he was too drunk to feel anything. At the top of the hill near the end of the road, I pulled a U-turn.
It appeared he had resigned himself to spending the night on the rock. Now, I had taken pity on this drunken sod. There was no way I could physically help him get back in the car. I watched him stumble. Somehow he got in, and, without missing a beat, started talking incessantly about the injustice of leaving him there. Now I was sure there would be no valuable lessons for him that night.
It was a quick ride up the street to the house. I decided to disengage, knowing I had missed 2 chances to leave him hanging. I got out of the car and went in the house. I took off my jacket and tried to pretend I didn’t care what he was doing. It was dark outside even though I turned on the light near the steps to the house. Time passed. When enough time had elapsed to allow him to walk into the house 4 times over, I decided to check.
There he was, on the ground, a few steps from the car. He appeared uninjured. I knew I couldn’t physically help this 200 lbs. of drunken mess, but I walked over anyway. I hung around until he was on his feet. I could be emotionally supportive, if not physically.
I figured the first order of business when we got in the house was to get this big, sweet, stumbling beast put to bed. He made it to the bedroom. He hit the floor next to the bed. I helped get his boots off. I offered to help with his clothes. He became strangely upset that a woman with a disability was helping him.
I gave up. I said goodnight and told him I was going to watch a movie in the living room. I left him on the floor and went and watched “Good Will Hunting.”
An hour and a half later, he was still on the floor. I brushed my teeth and went to bed. I was tired…
The sun came up the next morning, and there was Charlie, in bed next to me. As expected, he had little to no recollection of the events of the previous night. He was beyond having any insight about his condition.
This is but one story of the grand, tragic adventure that was Charlie. Read here for more:
I hope reading about a true, tragic end to one man’s life because of alcoholism might inspire at least 1 person to try to heal themselves from this life stealing illness.
For help with alcoholism, call the US Dept. of Health and Human Services, Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration: