Dear Alcoholic Friend,

How did this happen? And why? What was the cause and when did it all go so wrong? Who knew and who didn’t? Where are the answers? Questions are all I have, so can I ask you another?

When did one drink become just the first drink? When was another drink (and another) a necessity, instead of a want? When did one more cocktail turn into two, three, and four? When was there never a last drink?

How did it all become too much? How did the darkness of depression set in? How did I not recognize it sooner? How did I not help? How did I let frustration got the better of both of us? How was our friendship not enough?

Why did the jokes about mommy needing wine become reality instead of a simple punchline? Why did happy hour have to start and never end? Why did a nightcap turn into a medication for sleep? Why did you wish for the blackouts? Why did all your cravings become centered around alcohol? Why did you choose this thing that only broke you down more? Why was stopping never an option?

Who did you trust with your addiction? Who knew your secrets? Who saw your crashing spiral? Who, besides me, wasn’t enough for you? Who did you turn toward? Who did you see in the mirror? Who didn’t help? Who didn’t try?

Where was the hurt? Where was the pain? Where did you hide to drink and disappear? Where was the rock bottom you so desperately craved? Where was the rebound we all prayed for? Where did all the relapses come from? Where did all of the second chances disappear to?

What happened to your goals? What happened to you? And to us? What happened to raising kids and cherishing family life? What was it about alcohol that took away your choices? What about drinking erased your ambitions? What part of it all made you think it could silence the pain?

When did it all become too much? More than your marriage? More than your kids? More than our friendship? More than you? When did drinking start to define your personality? When did the darkness take hold, and never leave? When did the pain from not drinking become greater than the regret?

You were never a quitter, so why did you feel so defeated? Why did this disease take your identity and keep coming back for more? Why was it so greedy and so selfish? Why did it corrupt your conscience and weigh you down with guilt? Why did it dig a deep hole and fill it with all your discarded dreams?

Did we all lose hope? Or just you? How did I not try harder? Did you try hard enough? How did I let my irritation win out at times? How did we lose our trust with each other? Why did each time we found our way back to friendship did the trail of breadcrumbs get smaller? Why did I place blame and get angry? Why did you hide and go silent?

Where did you go when you disappeared? How did you react to all of our worries? When was leaving a better option than staying? Why was running away ever an alternative? Who were you fighting? Alcohol or yourself? What created all of the doubt that took over your soul?

When did the need to get sober become a plan? Then a necessity? Then a hope and a prayer? Then a repeated cycle that broke all of our hearts? When did you leave us? I mean really leave us? Why did you never come back?

How tight was the grip of depression? Were you ever happy? I’ve known you since we were kids and I remember you happy, don’t I? When did the last few bad years begin to overshadow two decades of great years?

Were you able to find your shelter? Were you able to find your peace? How is it possible that you are no longer here? How come all of my questions can never be answered? Yet, I keep asking them?

Do you have some tranquility now?

Do you grasp how much we loved you? And still do?

Do you understand that the better times have held on in our minds?

Do you recognize that we won’t let your addiction erase who you really were to us all?

Do you know that I know you tried? (Because I am scared you don’t).

Despite what you thought, do you know that we will never be better off without you? Do you know you are missed? By your family? By your friends? By me?

Please, please know all of this and more.

Your friend (always).

Kelly J. Riibe

Kelly J. Riibe has four children, a husband, an adorable Jack Russell Terrier, and a mildly curbed addiction to Diet Coke. Keeping busy for her involves staying home with her children and also finding work as a freelance writer. She has been published in Nebraska Magazine, Pregnant Chicken, MockMom, Heels on a Farm, The Manifest-Station, BonBon Break, Living Here Magazine,, Black Hills Faces Magazine, and Sammiches and Psych Meds. Kelly is also the co-writer for the blog: Follow her on Twitter at @familyfootnote and @KJRiibe.