Author’s note: I am a substance abuse counselor at an intensive outpatient rehabilitation facility, and one of the psychoeducational activities I have my patients do is writing a “goodbye letter” to their addiction. I, too, am an alcoholic in recovery and decided that if I ask my patients to do this, I should do it too. So, here goes…
Where do I even begin? It’s hard for me to write this letter because I know that saying goodbye to you is futile, just like trying to control you.
It didn’t work for me.
I had to admit my complete powerlessness over you in order to release your grip on my existence. But as I bear witness to you ripping through the lives of my friends, my family members, and my patients. I find it nearly impossible to surrender again. You would think I would have accepted this by now—that you want us dead—after battling with you my entire life. You would think I would stop being surprised as I hear about overdose after overdose… countless lives that you’ve taken hostage and pursued until the gates of death.
You would think.
But, my dear addiction, I see you for what you are. They say that when we are sitting in meetings (12-step programs), you are outside in the parking lot doing push ups. Waiting to pounce at any given moment…waiting to take hold of our sanity and our serenity, down to a visceral level, when we turn out backs for just one second.
You don’t quit. You don’t surrender.
You don’t stop even when we are lying broken on the floor, crying and begging for mercy. You don’t stop when we are shaking, physically withdrawing from your chemicals. You don’t stop when we try to take our own lives, because it seemed that suicide was the only solution to this never ending insanity.
So I won’t either.
I am not going to stop stepping into the light. I am not going to stop spreading a message of hope.
I hope not going to stop reaching my hand out to the newcomer, trying again and again to give them even a microscopic portion of what I’ve gained throughout my recovery. I am not going to stop working in this field (until I am burnt out and need to leave in order to continue taking care of myself). I am not going to stop seeking. I am not going to stop growing. I am not going to stop healing.
So f*ck you, addiction.
I’ll meet you in the arena.
Author: Hannah Rose
Editor: Renée Picard
Image: via the author