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When it Rained Red Flags in Lake Tahoe

by | Nov 14, 2023 | A-Ha Moments, Life Lessons, Life with an Alcoholic, My Stories, My Struggles, Relationships

I spent a decade in a relationship with a man that I should have left in the first week. Hindsight is a bitch. We’ll call him “Reaper”. Yes, that’s short for what you think it is.

At 29 years old I wasn’t naive to addiction and narcissism, yet I couldn’t see it when it was right in front of me. As a part owner of two bars, my lifestyle involved consistent drinking. So, I excused certain behaviors and chalked it up as something that came with dating a woman who owned bars. Plus, I was in love or something dumb like that.

Around the time that I decided to leave the hospitality world, my brother moved to Reno for work. So, when I found myself with some free time; it seemed like the ideal time to visit him. On a whim, my dad, “Reaper” and I rented a car and headed to the biggest little city.

Our first night there we had dinner and went bowling. I remember feeling tense every time Reaper ordered another drink. A feeling that had started to become a normal part of my world having already experienced his ability to “flip a switch” without warning. On day two we headed to Incline Village with plans to spend some time at Lake Tahoe. In his twenties, Reaper had spent considerable time living and working as a bartender in Incline Village. He was excited to introduce us to his old stomping grounds, which turned out to be a shit hole bar filled with people to match. After countless shots during Reaper’s reunion with his former co-workers, it was clear that things were going south fast. My dad and brother wisely opted to remove themselves from the situation. I chose to stay. As the day turned into night, Reaper’s dark side emerged more and more. After losing thousands of dollars in pull-tabs and racking up a ridiculous bar tab, I took our joint credit card and said, “that’s enough”. As I walked outside to get some air, I felt someone behind me. I turned around in time to see Reaper as he roughly shoved me to the ground, grabbed my purse and disappeared on foot.

As I sat there on the ground with no money, and no phone in a strange place, I should have wised up. This moment was a glimpse into the life I was choosing. Instead, I went back into the bar to use the phone to call my brother at 2am. My brother sent me a $200 Uber to get me back to his condo. I spent a sleepless night dreading the conversation I would have to have with my dad in the morning. I was feeling embarrassed, ashamed, and responsible for what had happened. Come morning, hard conversations were had, and we made the trip back to Incline Village in hopes of finding my purse.

Upon arriving, we found Reaper passed out in the grass on the side of the bar. My purse was nowhere to be found. Reaper approached us and my dad flashed his gun letting him know that he wasn’t welcome. If it hadn’t been for my brother, I truly believe Reaper might have ended up with a hole in his knee that day. Reaper seemed oblivious to the situation, as he had more than likely blacked out the night before. The bar owner helped us track down my purse in a nearby dumpster and my family and I left Reaper behind in an attempt to enjoy the rest of our visit together.

I put a smile on my face, but deep down I was falling apart. I was nursing a bruise that was slowly spreading down the entire right side of my body, but my broken heart and shame were far more painful. Reaper spent the remainder of his Lake Tahoe trip enjoying endless drinking, cocaine, and fast women.

When we all arrived back home, I chose to ignore the red flags and dance with the devil. I was in just deep enough that leaving felt much more complex than the abuse itself, and the thought of giving up on him was heartbreaking. So, I let hope, empathy, and compassion propel the relationship onward.

Our trip to Reno was the first of many trips that ended in disaster. And it was the beginning of a ten-year period where I enabled him, gave him supply, and subjected my friends and family to his behavior.

More to come soon.

XOXO,
Allison

Allison Rose

Founder at Filter Free Bullsh!t Free

Entrepreneurship is my addiction, Sharing my story and empowering others is my passion. My girl gang, my family and tequila shots fuel my soul & calm my head. I’m here to inspire and to be inspired.

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