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    I am not sure where to put this, so sorry if this is in the wrong place.

    I had a thought this morning that really upset me. I had a friend who worked at the ranch where I learned how to ride and leased a horse for a few years. She taught me so much about horses, and sold me a bunch of tack that I still have and use on the occasion that I ride. Anyway, she was an alcoholic. She drank on the job and everybody knew it and she didn’t really try hard to hide it. On some level, I knew I had my own problem but was in denial or trying not to think much about it. Because of her problem, she was very moody — sometimes very happy-go-lucky, other times angry and critical and argumentative. You never knew which you would get, or when the switch would happen. She ended up leaving the ranch and taking her horse and going to work someplace else, but we kept in touch a bit, as a lot of the other people from the ranch did with her. At some point, there were stories going around about how unstable she was and how she was going “crazy” and the consensus was pretty much that we should all just give up on her. She was manipulative, back-stabbing, blah blah blah. We talked a few times and my heart kept telling me that I should stay in touch with her and “help” her (how I don’t know) but everyone was saying that it just wasn’t worth it, that she’d take advantage of me and I’d be left in the dust. So we lost touch. I stopped leasing because it got too expensive, so I didn’t go to the ranch much anymore. About 6 months later I was giving a final exam and I got an e-mail from one of the ranch owners saying that there would be a “service” for my friend. I was confused and hurt. I hadn’t known she died. I figured I knew how it happened, but I wanted to make sure so I e-mailed her back. Yep, she had committed suicide. Apparently they had tried to reach me by phone, but I had changed my number, so they e-mailed me instead.
    I felt awful. I knew logically that I couldn’t have done anything, but I felt guilty anyway. For some reason, today I really started thinking about the situation and realized that that guilt stemmed from knowing that I had the same alcohol problem and in that way, I understood what she was going through in ways that no one else did. Did I abandon her because I didn’t want them to know about MY problem? I have no idea, I just know that I am feeling that guilt ten-fold today.

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