January 29, 2023

When the only reason you stay with a drunk is the money

By Bunmi Sofola

Ola, Dupe’s husband, now rich – beyond their wildest dreams, has alcohol as his albatross. She doesn’t always know what type of rabbit he’ll pull out of his full magic hat of embarrassment when he’s drunk. The last I witnessed was early this year when the family had a belated New Year party. 

As the guests left, well-fed and merrily tipsy, Ola asked his house guests and a couple of us to finish things off at a nightclub near the house. I would rather have preferred to go home and sleep off a throbbing headache, but Dupe’s pleading eyes made me shrug and I left with the group. Ola was a bit tanked up by now. His speech was slurred but the problem with him is that he doesn’t know when he’s had enough booze. 

At the nightclub, he wasn’t drinking his beer, he just tilted his head and drained the stuff. What was the enjoyment in that except to really get drunk? By the time we left the nightclub, we were all legless and I decided to sleep in one of the children’s rooms. I’d hardly put my head on the welcoming pillows when there were angry raps on my door.

It was Ola. What the heck was going on? “Someone has pinched my wallet,” he bellowed, his eyes blood-shot. Here we go again, I groaned as I meekly followed him to the living room. Martin and Fadeke, his other house guests, looked really fed up in their nighties. They regarded Ola as if they could throttle him, but, over the years, we’ve all learnt to wait out his storms instead of challenging him.

“I paid for our drinks from my wallet,” he yelled, “and now, it’s gone. I’ve checked everywhere and I distinctly remember giving the night guard money for tomorrow’s papers from it. One of you lot must have pinched it and no one is going anywhere until I’ve found the blasted wallet. That wallet is packed with a lot of one thousand naira notes.

He then marched to their rooms and turned the place upside down. When he got to my room, he caught my eyes and the look of pure hatred I gave him made him quickly abandon the search. 

“I will continue tomorrow morning”, he warned, staggering to his bedroom. It was almost impossible to have any semblance of a well deserved snooze as I was already fuming. The next “morning”, Dupe came to my room as I got ready to leave. I was also prepared to do battle if I was as much as stopped to be searched again for a miserable wallet – no matter the amount of money he claimed he stuffed in it.

‘I found the wallet’, Dupe told me resignedly. She looked so sad and embarrassed I didn’t know what to say. “It was wedged between a chair in our bedroom. I knew he paid for the drinks we had with his credit-card but didn’t want to argue with him.

He was spoiling for a fight as he accused me of not believing him and siding with our guests. He even accused me of flirting with Martin. He was already in bed, fully clothed, when he made to take his native trousers off, so he could use the toilet. The more he struggled, the more his trouser got tangled.

“In the end, he just rolled on the bed, wet his trousers and was snoring in seconds! He’s done that before and what I usually do is to dump all soiled materials – including the beddings in the outside bin. Asking the soiled stuffs to be laundered would surely give the domestics more juicy gossipy bones to gnaw at. It was when he was fast asleep that I painstakingly searched the room for the wallet and was hugely relieved to find it.

I then placed it on the freshly made bed. I’d already rolled him off it and took his trousers off to get the stench of urine out of the bedroom. He’s still fast asleep and I’ve apologised to our guests. They looked relieved in spite of their being hurt by Ola’s allegations. They couldn’t get out of the house fast enough.” 

The sad fact is that an alcoholic is the worst kind of person to live with – be it male or female. Gbemi is a silver spoon woman who’d learnt to steal alcohol from her unsuspecting well-heeled father’s cellar any “time she felt like entertaining her wild friends. In no time at all, she’d become an alcoholic.

As a manager in a blue chip company, she always had drinks concealed in her desk’s drawers for her ‘guests’. When she met her third husband, Henry, she couldn’t function without alcohol. She’d long lost her job but, had inherited fortunes from her dead father.

“The old man was worth more to me dead than he was alive,” she’d quipped as she told us details of his will. Henry was alarmed at how clever she was at hiding her stash of alcohol. He didn’t know she drank as early as eight o’clock in the morning. She needed help and she needed it badly, he thought. 

He belonged to an evangelical church and sought the help of his pastor. He advised Henry to bring Gbemi to the church to stay a week, at least, for constant vigil and prayers so she could be weaned off alcohol. After arguing vehemently she wasn’t an alcoholic, Gbemi agreed to give the treatment a go to save her marriage. “After the one week,” Henry recalled, “she didn’t seem to be making much progress – she looked disoriented and I put it down to withdrawal symptoms. It was later that one of the church workers confessed she always gave them money to buy alcohol for her.

“When she was in the bathroom, I rummaged through the huge suitcase she brought with her and found a big bottle of vodka at the bottom of it. I felt really deflated. When she came out and saw me with the drink, she was defiant, accusing me of abandoning her in the middle of nowhere with some weirdos. She had had enough and she wanted to leave. I felt really deflated – you couldn’t make a grown woman do what she didn’t fancy doing, could you? So, I took her home.

“She went downhill from there. We lived in the house she inherited from her dad and whenever I criticized her drinking, she always advised I could leave if I couldn’t take her for who she was. In spite of everything, and what most people thought that I married her for her money, I really loved her.

I had a well paid job and I still look after the family I left for her. She was a very elegant woman and booze was now destroying all that. In the end, she got tired of my nagging and threw me out. The last I heard of her, she’d sold the house she inherited on Victoria Island to buy a middle-income flat so she could have ready cash from the difference. 

“Your guess is as good as mine where the difference would go. You seldom win when your partner is an alcoholic. They often set themselves on a dangerous path and it’s virtually impossible “to steer them off it – until they’re completely destroyed”.

Vintage Booze? (Humour)

A guy walks into a bar and says to the bartender, “I want you to give me 12-year scotch, and don’t try to fool me because I can tell the difference.” The bartender is skeptical and decides to trick the man with a 5-year scotch. The man takes a sip, scowls and says, “Bartender, this crap is 5-year scotch. I told you I want 12-year scotch.” The bartender tries once more with 8-year scotch. The man takes a sip, grimaces and says, “Bartender, I don’t want 8-year scotch like this filth. Give me “12-year scotch!”

Impressed, the bartender gets the 12-year scotch. The man takes a sip and sighs, “Ah, now that’s the real thing:’ A disgusting, grimy, stinking drunk has been watching all this with great interest. He stumbles over and sets a glass down in front of the man and says, “Hah, I think that’s real far out what you can do. Try this one.” The man takes a sip and immediately spits out the liquid and cries; “Yechhh! This stuff tastes like piss!” says the drunk. “Now how old am I”.