I recently read Mike's post on his site "Dazed and Confused" titled "Craziness" in which he describes the tragic loss of his brother due to alcoholism. This brought to mind my own older brother's death due in large part to drinking as well. My brother, who was 17 years older than me, was one of the kindest people you could meet, the kind of person who would help anyone without expecting anything in return. He didn't start drinking until he was 24 years old (at that time the legal age was 18), mainly I believe just to "be one of the gang" and hang out with some friends he'd met. He was a fairly quiet, probably somewhat shy guy and this I think made him feel more a part of the action going on around him. He never was married and I believe only had maybe one or two girlfriends for brief periods. My brother died a few years ago at the age of 59, mostly from the effects of alcohol and smoking. At one point in his life, his drinking had gotten to the stage where he was living homeless on the street for over a year --I tried during this period to help him, allowing him to stay with me so he wouldn't be on the street in the dead of winter. But he continued to drink and would come home in the middle of the night and no amount of persuasion would get him to seek help for his problem. I finally reached the point where I told him he'd have to quit drinking and get help or leave, hoping that maybe this would maybe be the thing that would persuade him to seek help, for when he was sober, he seemed reasonable and would even agree that he had a problem. But this too failed to move him to seek treatment and he instead went back to the street. He did manage to straighten his life up a little and ended up collecting disability insurance after moving to a small town in upstate New York near the Canadian border. I only saw him once during this time when I was able to visit and stay over with him for a week, but I saw that even then he'd hadn't quit drinking as I found him in a bar when I first arrived in town.
As Mike says so elegantly in his post, the path alcohol takes you down is a dead end...in his brother's case, a much too short journey down the path of life; my brother's journey, though longer, led to the same tragic dead end. I fully understand his feelings about seeing others he cares for be spared that pointless journey.