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COROMANDEL SWANSONGIn October, ,000 later, Ross' credit cards ran out.His parents were practicing tough love, so the family wasn't in contact."I decided to drive down to Waihi Beach, where my parents lived," he says. Eventually neighbours called the cops, who rolled up to ask the mysterious and clearly addled character what he was up to.It wasn't scientifically viable, perhaps, but it felt right at four o'clock in the morning.
Ross had a new job, was flatting with an old mate, and hadn't touched alcohol in months when he allowed himself a small shandy at Friday drinks. Then he allowed himself another holiday to Los Angeles, and again had his first drink at the airport."Basically, I came home and couldn't stop drinking," he says. Ross – or Rupert – also lost his accommodation, as the deal he had with his friend was that he wouldn't drink.
For a while he'd tried to hide his return to alcohol, and that's how he got the scar on his wrist."I thought that if I could just drain the alcohol from my system, I'd be OK and no-one would know," he says."It wasn't a suicide attempt, but I cut my vein.
* Homeless women targeted for sex * The 'streeties' of Lower Queen: life on the edge in the centre of the city His journey to homelessness was via an alter-ego Ross' mum dubbed "Rupert". By his early 40s, Ross weighed 140kg and decided to get gastric bypass surgery. He emerged from the operating theatre almost half his original weight, and his prospects soared.
While Ross was (and is) kind and law-abiding and scared of spiders, Rupert thought nothing of blowing his life up for existential limbo in a park. Up until then Ross loved his job in the travel industry, lived in Auckland, and had a full – if tipsy – social life. So did his ability to absorb alcohol: Ross' radically reduced stomach size meant liquids moved quickly into his small intestine, where most alcohol gets absorbed into the bloodstream.
Ha."He flew to America for a holiday and drank himself into a blackout state on arrival. Returning to Brisbane was off the cards and at the urging of his mum, Ross flew back to Auckland to get help from the Community Alcohol and Drug Service (CADS). "That was a dirty word, and besides, I was surely just stressed," he says, wryly.
But things did get better before he cut into a vein on his arm, six months later, at his friend's house.
The now 51-year-old grew up in a loving Hamilton home, drove a fancy European car, and "only flew business class, darling".
READ MORE: * Auckland's phoney homeless make 0 a day on the streets * They fight, take drugs, and sleep rough: can the chronically homeless be saved? He felt that life slipping away as he got heavier - for fat-ism, he'd learned, is a thing.
Ross moved into the Hilton, on Auckland's Princess Wharf, and decided he'd drink himself to death by Christmas – living like a rockstar while his organs pickled.Tags: Adult Dating, affair dating, sex dating