DEAR ABBY: My dearest friend passed away five years ago. He was a severe alcoholic, and his death resulted from it. I was aware of how bad things had gotten and I was trying to talk him into getting help. I live across the country but visited and spoke with him often. I was considering telling his parents how bad things were since they were mainly supporting him, but I was torn because he was an adult, and I didn't know if it would be appropriate.
Well, while I was considering it, he passed away, and I haven't been able to get over the guilt. I feel like I should've done more. I have a strong urge to tell his parents I knew how he was doing and was contemplating telling them and how sorry I am that I didn't. Would it be selfish, like rubbing salt in their wounds, just so I can find some kind of peace? I have been going back and forth with this since his death. I have such regret that I didn't do something more. I don't know if their forgiveness would help me, or if I'd just be hurting them more. Your opinion on this would be helpful. -- FULL OF REGRETS
DEAR FULL: Please forgive yourself and stop second-guessing. You are guilty of nothing more than being a caring friend. The deceased was responsible for his own alcohol-related death. If his parents were supporting him financially, they were already aware their son had a serious problem. Because after five years you cannot stop flogging yourself, you have two options: Discuss this with your religious adviser, or ask your doctor or your insurance provider to refer you for some sessions with a licensed psychotherapist with whom you can work through this.