Reverend Richard Coles writes in his upcoming memoir about how his late partner David ‘destroyed’ himself with alcoholism.
In an excerpt from The Madness of Grief: A Memoir of Love and Loss, Richard, 59, pens: ‘It was really, really hard to see someone you love destroying themselves. It’s like someone is drowning and you throw them a life belt, but they just don’t take the life belt.
“And I tried everything I could think of to help him stop drinking, and frankly, he tried, but it was too much for him.”
Processing: Pastor Richard Coles writes in his upcoming memoir about how his late partner David ‘destroyed’ himself with alcoholism
He continues: “I think it was a convenient way for David to relieve pain. He also really liked being drunk. Before he got to the unpleasant stage, when he was in the happy stage, he was really nice.
But like most things, it really doesn’t take long for the ominous fun to become unbearable. And when he was bad and was really annoying, it was really hard because he was such a nice, gentle and thoughtful man. ‘
Richard also writes about how being a reverend made the situation more difficult.
The second is that it’s just really awkward, especially when you’re a pastor and you’re meant to be imperturbable and perfect and my life wasn’t and is not perfect, and I wasn’t unperturbed when David’s drinking was at its worst. ‘
Former Strictly Come Dancing Pastor Richard wanted to keep the painful details of David’s addiction private.
Richard explains, “I often think that when someone dies from drink, as people used to say, people put him under some kind of tragic, filthy death. David was so much more than that. ‘
Richard has also admitted that his late partner did not want him to write the memoirs he releases.
In an excerpt from The Madness of Grief: A Memoir of Love and Loss, Richard, 59, pens: ‘It was really, really hard to see someone you love destroying themselves’
Richard, who married David in a civil ceremony in 2010, asked his partner’s family for permission to share his experiences with an addict in the hope of helping others in the same situation.
He told The Guardian that he ‘discovered’ how much he wanted to express himself after David’s death in 2019.
Richard explained why he published the book The Madness of Grief, despite knowing his lover would not have approved it, saying, ‘David would have hated this book. I hated it. I just decided it can’t hurt him now – and it can help the husbands of other addicts who are going through similar things.
“When David was at his worst, it was so grueling, as hard for me as his husband, I felt like I was falling through space at times.”
He adds: ‘It’s like someone is drowning and you throw them a life belt, but they just don’t take the life belt’
Richard added that while the opportunity to write is an unexpected pleasure after David’s death, it cannot be compared to the loss of his partner.
The former Strictly Come Dancing star and David lived with their dogs Daisy, Pongo, Audrey and Horatio at St Mary’s Presbytery in Finedon, Northamptonshire.
David had come to Richard for advice on joining the clergy as they developed romantic feelings for each other and soon began a celibate relationship.
After appearing on prime-time shows and gaining fame in pop band The Communards, Richard has revealed that it took time to balance a husband prone to privacy and his busy public life.
David’s death in December 2019 shocked parishioners as he kept his failing health private for over a year while struggling with illness.
New book: The Madness of Grief: A Memoir of Love and Loss by The Reverend Richard Coles will be released by W&N on Wednesday
Richard has said that David, who had an alcohol addiction, “liked lockdown” because it would have given them the opportunity to spend time at home together.
Reflectingly, he added that people would sometimes push David out of the way to get to him, but David took it as a joke.
‘I wish I had spent more time with David. I wish I had made it a priority not to do anything with David anymore. I don’t see that as a holiday of things, but as the center of things, ”said Richard.
David, increasingly ill with liver disease, was determined to keep the drinking problem that eventually killed him a secret, but there were public outbursts, including one involving police.
Richard describes the day David was admitted to the ICU in his memoir The Madness of Grief, and his refusal before a decision was made to turn off his oxygen.
When asked if he felt guilty about publishing the book, he explained that those living with an addict are often plagued with guilt about whether they should have done more while the person was alive.
Friends and David’s mother have expressed an interest in meeting someone else, but Richard has said he can’t imagine having another love of his life.
The Madness of Grief: A Memoir of Love and Loss by The Reverend Richard Coles will be published by W&N on Wednesday.
For alcohol support, visit drinkaware.co.uk or call 0300 123 1110.