The Agony of Watching Someone’s Slow Self-inflicted Suicide

Carlene M. Dean
13 min readAug 26, 2020
Photo by Sunyu Kim on Unsplash

“It’s been a while since I could say / That I wasn’t addicted. It’s been a while Since I could say / That I loved myself as well.” — Staind, It’s Been Awhile

There is probably nothing more sad than watching someone you care about dying.

I am quite positive this is not news to most people. Given that cancer is so common — especially here in the good ol’ U.S. of A. — most of us have probably seen one or several of our friends and loved ones pass away from this awful disease.

My late, great mother succumbed to pancreatic cancer just over four years ago. So I’ve been witness to it first-hand. The experience is like a wild roller coaster ride of emotions. One minute you are up, next you’re down. One day you hear good news that your loved one is doing well and the next might be a “bad” day for the cancer patient.

But the disease I’m talking about losing someone to is a bit different than cancer. For one, it has an element of choice. We generally do not “choose” to have cancer, though one could say certain lifestyle choices might lead to developing it. There is tons of research and theories though I’m not sure there are any definitive answers on what causes the various kinds of cancer.

No, I’m talking about the slow-moving and ultimately fatal disease of alcohol addiction. The ever-presence of alcohol and its use in our world is an interesting study. The myths that movies and TV shows help spread that alcohol is a natural part of life, like breathing.

Not so interesting is seeing people in the grips of alcoholism (or alcohol use issues, or alcohol dependency, whatever you want to call it). For these people literally “need” to use/drink just as they need to breathe in order to live … such as it is. That is, f you can call it living when you are constantly using mind-altering substances to escape the stresses of real life.

Watching someone slowly drinking himself to the grave, one beer, or shot, or strong drink at a time really sucks. I know because I have been doing it for two years, give or take. I’m not asking for sympathy; I choose this and will continue to do so until further notice.



Carlene M. Dean

Experienced professional writer/freelancer and former newspaper reporter-turned-online writer/blogger. Thinker. “Old soul”, young hippie, empath.