What can I say, it's complicated. Some days I love you, some days I hate you. I guess all relationships are this way but I feel like ours is more bad than good. I just keep trying to think of a good reason to have you in my life at all and I'm struggling. You probably don't understand because well, you can't think, but I'll try to explain.

Our first introduction was pretty awkward and crappy. You would take people I loved and turn them into people who were either funnier than in every day life, or you would turn them into people I didn't want to be around. You seemed to make some people really happy and giggly, but others angry and dangerous. I was little and it was confusing to me. I liked happy people and thought they should maybe even drink more often. I hated mean people and I thought they shouldn't drink at all. My conclusion as a child was that it must not be you, the alcohol, it must be people. Some were just happy and some were just mean.

When I started drinking you, I thought you were magic. You made me feel like everything was funny, all people and parties were fun. You took away that voice in my head that said things weren't a good idea. I thought we were having so much fun. Until we weren't. You also made me do stupid things and endanger my life and health. You made me feel alive at night but dead the next day. Our relationship seemed bitter sweet.

I started hating you when you took the person I loved, grabbed a hold of him and wouldn't let go. You stole him from me and I will never forget that. I will never forget how you took him from a sensitive, funny, loving human and made him a lying, hardened dangerous man. The cruelest thing that you did was to let me think that I could have him back, only to snatch him away again. I had lost him to you and had to walk away.

Your cruelty didn't end there. You are relentless when you get someone in your grip. It continued for years. From a distance I had to watch the person that I loved wander this earth as a lost soul, trying with all his might to shake you and failing every time. In your final act of heartlessness, you stole him for good. His death a painful reminder of your power.

I thought even through all these years that I could turn to you when I had a rough week or wanted to celebrate something. But it is hard to enjoy putting something into your body that you hate. I wanted to be like other people, use it to get happy, celebrate, or create some romance. I wanted you the most when I went on vacation and was hoping to get away from it all. But you are a dirty little bugger, and you couldn't even let me enjoy that. I don't have a drinking problem. I have an "I hate alcohol and what it does to people so it is hard for me to drink it" problem.

So sometimes I feel like I'm the only person on the planet that knows the real you. The wolf under the sheep's clothes. I wish I didn't. I guess I'm happy for those who don't yet know the real you and how you steal everything that is good and decent in life. For those who can enjoy you over dinner and go home and have no consequences. I'm glad. I wish I had never seen the things I saw, never felt the things I felt, never witness the destruction I witnessed. To date you have stolen more people from me than I can count on one hand, and I hate you for that. Those people were mothers, fathers, brothers, sisters, husbands, and wives. They had mothers and fathers and none of them will ever be the same.

I don't like to lose. I don't want to admit that you have traumatized me and created in me an irrational response to your existence in my brain. I hate that I feel so helpless and confused sometimes. I hate that you appear so alluring and to this day I try to talk myself into not knowing all that I know because it is more socially acceptable to drink you than to not. But do not think that you have won yet.

I am getting better. I am wise to you. I am remembering more and more of that girl I used to be before you got in my head. You may not ever go away completely, but I'm finding the tools to shrink your power in my life. I cannot bring back the people who are gone, or stop those who will follow, but I can decide how to take care of me. I don't know where that leaves us, like I said, it's complicated. But I know that I have to do what I have to do and that may or may not ever involve you.

Carie T.