I know this is not how you thought 2016 was going to go down. Remember how strong you felt in January? Running your ass off, up and down mountains, across bridges? You’ve still got that. Now you have to channel that stamina into something new.

This isn’t the first time you’ve had to fight this dragon, I know. Addiction isn’t a light conversation topic while pushing kids on swings, but you’ve said enough over the years. I’ve always been impressed by how you own your past and celebrate who you are today. So many of us, including me, feel like we have to hide our mistakes. Or we pretend our biggest fault is leaving dishes in the sink overnight, feeding the kids cereal for dinner, or some other nonsense.

But struggle is what makes us who we are. One reason you’re so great is how real you are. Everyone around you can feel it. They are attracted to your candor and spirit, even if they don’t know why.

I wish I’d known how bad things had gotten. This isn’t about me, but I feel like a crappy friend. I’m sorry. I’m sorry you slipped back into bad patterns. I’m sorry you felt like you couldn’t ask for help. My heart hurts for you.

I’m proud of you right now, even with all the sadness. Proud of you for heading to rehab, leaving the kids, the man, the house – all of it – to get on top of things. Doing it instead of just thinking about it, talking about it even, hemming and hawing? That’s pretty bad ass.

Addiction is sneaky. Alcohol isn’t my vice but that doesn’t mean I don’t get it. My obsessions are different but equally unhealthy, emotionally. The way we talk about drinking is so messed up. Life needs booze! Have a drink! Relax, you deserve it! But not too much, obviously. Only losers can’t control their drinking, right? Never mind that we laugh when someone’s had too much, and use it as an excuse for letting go.

I don’t really know what to say to you. I don’t have a lot of experience with rehab. My brother went, for a whole year, and I know we’ve talked about it. All I could do for him was write – nearly every day just so he’d know he wasn’t alone. I can do the same for you. Even more, I’m here for after, when you have to try to take care of yourself and real life, too.

I can’t imagine how you feel right now. I don’t have to. Know I love you, even the broken and ugly and dangerous parts. Really. You probably don’t believe me right now. That’s the addiction talking, making you feel worthless. That’s the lie. You are worth so much, even drunk and falling apart and doing stupid things. You still have value.

Talk to me, stay silent, punch a hole in my wall, shave my head. I’m here. And I know you can do this.