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A young person is sitting at a desk with purple headphones on, writing in a notebook. The desk is covered in trinkets, crystals, and notes. The writer is bathed in a soft, pink glow.

The Letter

alcohol use disorder alcoholism love letter Jun 14, 2024

Written by a CSUCI Service-Learning student.

Dear Brook, 

As always, I was listening to music while writing to you. Stop and listen with me. 

So it turns out that I’m an adult child of an alcoholic, which basically means that I have issues. I read a really interesting study that says that I’m more prone to self hatred, low self esteem/confidence, and I’m more fearful mixed with a lack of trust in others… among other things. These characteristics present themselves in my relationships: sexual, familiar, and friendships. And I’ve noticed all of them. I finally understand why I struggle so incredibly much with relationships and my self image. I only wish I had known these things earlier. 

Funny story, a friend of mine tried to get me to read a book about this, but I didn’t trust that it was something I needed to read. I thought she was projecting her issues onto me. My reasoning: my mom never drank around me, and I didn’t grow up around my dad, who passed away a few years ago. But as I read this short study, I realized that my mom’s alcoholic behaviors are still there, and they still present themselves in her daily life. Which means that my brother is probably a lot more screwed up then I realize because he lived with my mom and dad in their abusive marriage until he was 4. I guess that story isn’t funny at all.  

I’m not an alcoholic. I just want to make that clear. Though I do struggle with addiction to food and cigarettes. I like to eat 2 dinners sometimes, because I hate feeling hungry and empty. This year has been painful, uncomfortable, depressing, anxiety-riddled, and introspective. I like the last word; it makes me feel like it was all for something. I feel like we’re in the middle of a war, and in many ways, we are. I’m at war with the person I am and the person I want to be. I want to be free. Rid of my weaknesses that are now staring me down like my reflection sometimes does at night. Peering into my deep brown eyes full of pain and desire. I desire to be rid of my mother’s downfalls and struggles. Free of the statistics and memories of those who came before. But I don’t think life works that way. 

Adult children of alcoholics are partial to laziness. I try really hard not to be lazy, but rather motivated and goal oriented. So when I see a page slowly fill with strings of words that make some sort of sense to the one reading it, I feel a sense of accomplishment. Like when I smile. Smiling gives me a feeling of accomplishment, and I feel every one I perform and get back. 

Isolation is easier, just so you know. Pulling back and away from you, or anyone else I have real feelings for is an extremely difficult choice for me. It’s painful to let people in, they might see the truth; the duct tape, stitches, scars, and glue holding me together. I don’t want people to see that. I want them to see the strong person standing in front of them; the person that lived through those things and only just learned that they lived through them. I mean to say that I still have feelings for you. Even though it didn’t seem like I did to begin with. 

This song makes me think of you. Remember how I told you that I pictured our wedding… This sounds like it. It’s like a Grey’s Anatomy season finale scene. I walk down the aisle first. We’re by the river, and everywhere you look there’s green trees and people we love. I now stand at the front, waiting for you to meet me. You’re wearing a gorgeous dress that perfectly captures your personality, classy and fitting with a little flare and sass. Your dad walks you down the aisle, the same conservative dad that you thought would never let you marry a woman, let alone a Black one. Haha. You smile through your bouquet, and then I get to hold your hand with mine as it shakes because I made it here – with you. The ceremony is short and sweet, and then we kiss. It’s the last first kiss I’ll ever have, and I couldn’t be happier; because you see, Brook, getting to this point in life didn’t seem like a possibility until I met you. 

Laying in bed, holding your hand. 

Touching your face. 


Deep breathing.


Slow and steady. 

Sweet. Warm. Like a melody in a song, it all makes sense. 

I’m here. You’re here. 

Presence has never been an easy thing for me, my brain tends to rush in different directions, but I’m here… fully. I wouldn’t miss it for the world; that saying finally makes sense. 

I want to stay here forever with you. 

Shhh… just listen. 

You’ll sadly never get this letter, because that’s how children of alcoholics work; we long for closeness, but have no idea how to get it. I love you, and I always will. I mean, I’ve loved you from a distance since I was 13… What’s a few more years?