Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Letter to My Addiction

One of the exercises in the Recovery by Choice workbook -- and it's an old exercise, widely used, not invented by me -- is writing a letter to one's addiction. You write a "Dear Jane" letter to the addiction, then you write your addiction's response to the letter, and you conclude by replying to the response. In the framework of the "A" (addict self) and "S" (sober self) metaphor, it's a dialogue between the S and the A.

Mark J. did this exercise last month and read it out loud to his group. So many people commented on it that it came to my attention, and with Mark's permission I'm reprinting it here:

Dear Jane,
I am writing you this letter in regards to discontinue our relationship altogether. I want to be forthright with my stance on this. We have spent a time in our lives that for life safety reasons I realized needed to be ended. I ask of your acceptance of this as I need to move on and pursue a life that is productive to my development and responsibilities. There were good times, yes. However the damage to my well being both physically and emotionally has caused me to seek recovery and I’ve found it to be a life worth living. Let me not leave out the fact that I have caused damage to others as well when we were together. Let me state again that I am taking action at this writing to cease relations with you permanently.

I have read your letter and think you maybe need a break for a while and I am more than willing to let things cool off (or until you finish your phase). But let’s be serious, you know we are meant to be together. A break from this relationship is fine with me, but to consider never seeing each other again is not like you. You are the one who sought me ought and wooed me with your words, touch and actions in all situations when you felt the need. You came to me! Through those times we produced the best sensations and moments of true genius that you demonstrated to others. The music on computers you made was untouched in individuality. You were afraid of talking to the people you really wanted to talk to until we were together. When we were together you consciously new it was better than sex and you ignored sexual advances with the thought that sex would get between you and I. We had mystique. It was I with you the greatest spiritual moment in your life happened, and you dare wonder if it was real or imagined. Of course it was us. Do I need to go on? I think you know the answer to this question. So now after all I have given to you, this is suddenly something you would never consider again? I know you romanticize about me and you think you can shut out or use your bullshit recovery techniques to stop yourself from me. However, I’m always here and that makes you wonder doesn’t it? You can’t forget about us can you? I understand you are going through some voluntary brainwashing to delude yourself from our relationship, however to think you’ll leave me for good is not something I’m worried about.
In remembrance of old times,

Dear Jane,
I have read your reply and cannot overstate the fact that you and I together is life threatening to me. I will die and hurt others along the way. While it is true that there were times together that still bewilder me, I am working towards moving into the now and there is evidence that this is happening. I simply enjoy being sober more than the ups and downs of being with you. The adventure of life is unfolding and I know in my heart that I can always find a way sober no matter what may happen. The past experiences with you brought a change in how I wanted to live. I don’t want to shut my memories out and accept that I will remember the “good times” as well as the bad. This is not a war and I will not fight you. I just simply will not take you. The things that I thought I needed you to do with me I now am doing myself and I don’t need an audience to tell me when I know something is right. From this moment on I choose a life worth living.

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