BY Neal Broverman
March 25 2010 1:05 PM ET
Have you ever struggled with addiction yourself?
I haven't, and honestly I was pretty sheltered growing up. I was never really exposed to any form of addiction at all, so it was a learning process to me. Even going through all of those years, at first I really didn't know what to do, because I had never been around that, but when Chris's addiction became really bad I really started educating myself on codependency. A lot of people have asked me why I stayed all those years. I even still get that question now but I always told myself, What would I want Chris to do with me? He wouldn't have deserted me, he would have moved mountains. I never gave up because he was my partner; I loved him, he was half of my life.
When he was in the throes of addiction, what kind of drinker was he?
Most of the time he was violent, and I would have to sometimes leave our home and stay with my cousin because things would get so bad. And other times he would binge and just hole up in our bedroom for three or four days.
Was it hard for him to keep a job?
For the last few years it was really difficult, and that was really sad for me because he was an extremely talented florist. He did wedding planning, he was very artistic, and the last three years of his life he was drinking every day, and he just couldn't keep a job. Obviously, it was financially difficult because I had to keep the household running.
When he fell off the wagon before the show, was there a traumatic event that flipped the switch in his head, or was it the accumulation of issues?
It was an accumulation of things. The disease of addiction, his alcoholism, it really is a medical condition, and that's something I have never truly realized because when people think of addiction they think, Oh, this person is weak, they should be able to stop. It's really not that; it's a medical condition, a documented disease. It's just like cancer, a tumor that never goes into remission.
Will you be watching the episode?
I'm back and forth with it. I'm very lucky because I have a huge support system and I've had a few friends who say they'd come over and watch it with me. But I just don't know at this point. It's still very hard for me; it's only been seven months since he's been gone. It's still raw. To have Chris's story aired nationally again, and updating it with his death, I keep telling myself that if I can just save one life that night, then it'll be worth it. That's what I keep telling myself.
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