If you are struggling to articulate your feelings about the emotional roller coaster that is early recovery, writing those thoughts out may be able to help.
A goodbye letter to addiction is similar to journaling because you are still writing down your emotions, and you will likely feel some of the same effects. It serves as a personal outlet for any feelings you may be struggling to come to terms with. A goodbye letter to alcohol or drugs can also help you in the future as a physical symbol of your commitment to changing for the better. If, during your recovery, you start to feel weak or as if you may relapse, this letter may act as a reminder about why you decided to get sober in the first place and help reinforce your sobriety.
Benefits of Writing for Mental Health
Journaling about stressful events such as addiction has been found to have many psychological benefits, such as reducing stress, managing anxiety, and decreasing depression.1 Writing, in general, can be therapeutic because it not only allows you to get your emotions out but also, by putting your feelings down on paper, you are able to move past them and focus on the future. This helps to physically put things in perspective, especially being able to visualize the thoughts and behaviors that have been causing so much trouble.
How to Write a Goodbye Letter to Alcohol & Drugs
Writing a letter to your addiction may seem daunting at first. What do you even write about? Do not worry. As an Illinois drug rehab, we are sharing a few tips on writing a goodbye letter to addiction that could not only help you in the present but also be beneficial in the future.
Focus on the Why
Addiction recovery is a big step. When you stumble, it is tempting to just give up. When you focus on writing about why you decided to get sober, it will reinforce these reasons. You can write about how you knew you hit rock bottom and needed help. You can also write about the secondary problems that came about because of your substance abuse issues and why you want to change them.
Talk About the Benefits of Sobriety
It is easy to dwell on all of the negatives, but this shouldn’t be your only focus. Several benefits come with being sober, and if you are in early recovery, you may already be experiencing some of them. In your addiction break-up letter, you can discuss these as well as your goals for the future now that you are sober. This can keep you motivated in your recovery as well as help you feel power over your addiction as you recognize that you have a brighter future ahead of you.
You may be talking to your future self with this letter, so providing words of encouragement can be helpful. Remind yourself that you can do this and that drugs and alcohol do not need to control your life. Be that supportive voice you may need to hear at a future date. These same words may stop you from relapsing later on.
Let It Out
This isn’t a letter that you are submitting for a grade in school. It is a personal goodbye letter to alcohol and drugs, as well as a physical acknowledgment of the damage they have caused. Do not get too caught up on perfect grammar, structure, or organization. It is understandable that the writer may be emotionally charged. It is more important to make sure that you get out everything that you want to say.
This Is Just the Beginning
Writing a break-up letter to your addiction may be an important step in the recovery process, but at Banyan Treatment Centers Heartland, we know that one letter alone won’t do it. This is why we offer several addiction therapies in Illinois that allow our patients to come to terms with their substance abuse problems in different ways and heal from these problems. Patients in need of Heartland drug treatment can access a variety of programs that address addictions to different substances, including alcohol.
If you need that extra support to break away from your addiction, call Banyan’s Heartland treatment center at 888-280-4763 and speak with one of our intake specialists today.
- University of Rochester Medical Center - Journaling for Mental Health