My ex-brother-in-law (my sister's ex-husband) died today. He was always very good to me. He was an avid reader, had a wicked sense of humor and a sharp wit, and was a gourmet cook. He had wide-ranging interests, loved his kids (including my niece), and was incredibly generous. He had been a brilliant, well-known trial attorney until he retired to raise cattle on a remote farm in Oregon.
He was also an alcoholic, and that's what caught up to him today. He'd been an alcoholic for as long as I'd known him, although it wasn't obvious at first. He'd had his sober periods, but could never stay away for long. This final binge led to fatal alcohol poisoning. He is the second of his brothers to die of alcohol-related ailments, and the only surviving brother has recently had a liver transplant.
I don't drink. I resist using medication. The closest I get to mood-altering substances are daily chocolate, occasional caffeinated beverages, cuddling, and NIN. My choice to not drink or use drugs is a lesson I learned from my former brother-in-law. I saw him, his family, and indications in my family that my path could lead down a similar road. If such an intelligent man could not battle his demon, this horrible disease, I surely had no hope of doing so. It is a lesson I am glad that I heeded, but I'm sorry it came at such a high price.
Rest in peace, Wade.