My Sister's Goodbye Letter To Alcohol

My older sister, Jamy was extremely, smart, fun, and witty. She was also addicted to alcohol and when her liver started to fail, she developed something called esophageal varices. These are enlarged veins in the esophagus that can cause internal bleeding. She had been to the hospital several times because of this condition but never gave anyone any details about her health. One day, when she began throwing up blood once again, she didn't ask for help. Instead, she stayed locked in her bedroom in immense pain and allowed herself to bleed until eventually her heart stopped beating.

There are no words to describe the sickness I felt in my gut when I heard the news. I needed answers and like a detective, I searched Jamy's room to find them. Her clothes were hardened with bloody vomit, there were blood spattered books, and empty mini vodka bottles everywhere. None of this even made me so much as cringe because I so desperately needed to know why she gave up, why she didn't fight or call 911.

What I found were notebooks, journals and this letter I am about to share with you. All of this poetically written evidence that my sister did fight. She fought really hard, she just lost. I debated sharing this for days but I have decided to do it for several reasons:

1. I want to shut people up who claim addiction is not a disease or mental disorder and that people can and should just stop using.

2. To make the 20 somethings who brag about their tolerance, (as I once did) think twice.

3. To help the person who reads this and relates to my sister find the courage and motivation to ask for help before it's too late.

4. To keep my sister alive in some way. She always liked to make waves and make people uncomfortable. Now she is able to do just that, even in her death.

So here it is, re-written but as close to the letter as possible (she always joked about how awful her handwriting was):


Dear Alcohol (+ friends) -

I'm pretty sure this letter doesn't come as a surprise from me. I mean, it's not like it's the 1st one you've gotten but this time the difference is it's ME talking + not everyone else. People have tried to keep us apart before but I needed you then + those people didn't get it. I mean your friends w/ all of them too but w/ us it's different. You aren't there for them when they go to sleep or the 1st thing on their minds when they wake up. You don't crawl into bed with them @ 3 in the morning + then accompany them to everywhere they go. To me you have always been more to me than a friend, a lover, or even my dog. I couldn't bring AXL (her dog) to work or my boyfriend's, food or x-mas shopping all the time. Sometimes, not even to the beach, but you were always game for anything + and it was awesome when you brought your friends along too.

But you have destroyed me - taken away my free will, health + self-respect. You've robbed me of relationships by making me choose + you know what I'd pick. You weren't there in the hospital for me or court or jail, just always waiting outside.

Well today I am telling you no more, you've been replaced. I'm sure I'll see you out sometimes but now I'll look away. Some nights I'm sure I'll wonder what could have been, why I fell so hard + why I had to let you go. But then I'll remember what was to what really could have been + I'll smile w/ knowledge + peace knowing I finally made the right decision. I'm still going to hurt + be hurt + cry + get angry but w/o your liquid compassion + courage I will also truly love and be loved + smile + laugh.

So goodbye + I wish you nothing but the worst - + I know you'll find someone else but I really wish you wouldn't.




Your friends may not get it, but w/o you, they're nothing to me. So, goodbye to them as well.


© 2019 Lauren Center

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