You, who had so many friends, found solace only in alcohol.
Lucy writes a letter to her brother, Nicky, who died due to alcohol in 2021.
Every day I think of you, my sunny, popular, intelligent brother. I think of how you died at 56, alone, abroad, on a winter’s night.
I think of you smiling, in jeans and light blue shirt. I miss your tallness, and your voice. Even in the last year of your life, through the lockdowns, we had good long phone calls.
But the week before you died, you were so angry about the pandemic. You kept repeating yourself. I knew you were drinking again. Your personality would change in mid-conversation, like a switch flicked, and a different creature spoke.
After you died, my other brother Hamish and I found notes in your handwriting: “Just give up A completely. You’ve used it for years to numb the pain.” You, who had so many friends, found solace only in alcohol.
And yet also in your notes were to-do lists, travel plans. You wanted to live.
Alcohol destroyed, first your mind, then your body. I should have spoken years ago, when I first noticed the whisky on your bedside table, your disappearances at get-togethers, then later on, the sweating, the shakes. You always said it was “some virus”. I got weary of the lies.
Whenever I see alcohol jokes on birthday cards, or TV dramas with people pouring themselves large glasses of red, I wince, and I think of you lying dead on the bathroom floor.
In a message of condolence, one of your colleagues wrote that he would miss enjoying a glass of wine with you after meetings. He didn’t know. You were a partner in a city law firm, and you hid your addiction well. Or maybe people were just good at not seeing it.
Ours is an underground loss. People ask how you died and as I tell them, their sympathy fades into silence. But I want to say, you lived, and we loved you, and I so wish you were still here.
Love from Dill
Nicky's death was preventable.
Lucy's story shows the devastating impact the loss of a life to alcohol or drugs has on the family and friends left behind.
We have the power to create change, especially when we come together to take action. You can support this work by agreeing to the "See Beyond" pledge below.
“I pledge to be respectful and compassionate towards those affected by substance use, including the families and friends of those who have died from alcohol or drugs.
I will show respect by using kind and non-judgmental language about those affected by alcohol or drugs.
I will show compassion by reaching out to someone who has lost a loved one to alcohol or drugs and asking them how they are doing today.”
Thank you for making a difference.
We have compiled some resources to provide support to people who are affected by someone’s drug/alcohol use as well as those impacted by the death of a loved one due to drugs/alcohol.