Letter from Jake (20 years old)

Dear Dad,

I’ve been thinking a lot about what to write in this letter, and it hasn’t been easy. The counsellor asked us to be honest, so I’m going to try my best.

Growing up with you as an alcoholic was tough. I remember the nights when you would come home late, stumbling through the door, the smell of alcohol heavy in the air. Mom would try to keep us away, but we couldn’t help but hear the shouting. Those nights were the worst. It wasn’t just the noise or the fear; it was seeing you, our dad, someone we looked up to, in such a state.

There were so many broken promises, Dad. Like the time you promised to take me fishing. I remember packing my little backpack, so excited, only to find you passed out on the couch. Or the time you got into a fight at my birthday party. I wanted to show off my dad to my friends, but instead, they saw a side of you that I wished I could forget.

But it wasn’t all bad. I remember the good times too, like when you taught me how to ride a bike. You were so patient, running alongside me until I finally got the hang of it. Or the time we built that treehouse together. Those moments felt like glimpses of the dad I always wanted.

I know you’ve struggled with your addiction for as long as I can remember. I know it’s not easy, and I’ve seen you try to fight it, even if it didn’t always work out. It took a lot of courage to go to rehab, to finally ask for help. I’m proud of you for that. It shows that you’re ready to make a change, to be the dad you always wanted to be.

I know you feel like you drove Mom away, and maybe in some ways, you did. But that doesn’t mean you can’t fix things. This is a new adventure for you, a chance to start over. I believe in you, Dad. We all do. We’ll always love you, no matter what.

Take this opportunity to heal, to become the best version of yourself. We’re here for you, cheering you on every step of the way.


Letter from Emma (23 years old)

Dear Dad,

Writing this letter is one of the hardest things I’ve had to do. The counsellor wants us to be honest about our experiences, so here it goes.

Growing up, you were always larger than life to me. I adored you, even when your drinking started to get out of control. But as I got older, I began to see the other side of it. The lies, the broken promises, the constant worry. I remember when you promised to take us to Gold Reef City. We were so excited, but you never came home the night before. Mom tried to make excuses, but we knew.

The fights with Mom were the worst. I used to hide in my room, covering my ears, wishing it would all just stop. It wasn’t just the fighting; it was the fear that came with it. Never knowing what would happen next, never feeling completely safe.

Despite everything, there are moments I cherish. Like the time you took me to my first cricket match. I was so happy, feeling like a normal kid with her dad. Or when you helped me with my science project, staying up all night to get it done. Those moments remind me of the good in you, the dad I love.

I know you’ve struggled for a long time, Dad. I’ve seen you try and fail and try again. It takes a lot of strength to keep fighting, and I’m so proud of you for finally going to rehab. It’s a big step, and it shows that you’re ready to face your demons.

I know you feel guilty about driving Mom away. It’s a heavy burden to carry, but you don’t have to carry it alone. This is your chance to start over, to rebuild yourself and our family. We’re here for you, every step of the way.

Take this time to heal, to become the person you’ve always wanted to be. We love you, Dad, and we’re rooting for you. No matter what happens, you’ll always have our support and our love.