An Open Letter to the Suffering Addict:
To be honest, I’m not even sure how to start this, but there’s some things I wanted you to know.
You’re someone I’ve seen coming in and out of recovery for years now. You’re a family member. You’re one of my best friends. A sibling. A child. A neighbor. A parent. A significant other .You’re another human being, a lovable, valuable and worthy manifestation of that “power greater than us”, but you can’t see it.
Deep down, you feel like you aren’t good enough. You feel as if you are somehow inherently “less than”- broken beyond the point of grace or change. You feel like there is no hope- that you have tried the steps, you’ve tried religion, and you’ve tried to fit together every missing puzzle piece that will make sobriety last, and none of it has worked.
I know this, because I’ve been there. I’ve been broken and hopeless and could have cared less about whether I continued to exist- but I’m one of the lucky ones. I’ve managed to string together a few years now, purely on the basis of grace, willingness, and total defeat. There have been several points over the years where the pain seemed intolerable- but nearly every time this pain was a direct result of refusing to let go of some old idea or some belief in how my life was supposed to look. I knew how to speak the program- “no human power”, right? But deep down, deep in the part of me that is still a sick alcoholic, I believed on a level that something outside of me could or would still fix me- graduating, getting the dream job, forcing that relationship to work in my favor, filling my life with material things (and the associated credit card debt). I cannot stress enough how many times I have had these things bring me to my knees. But as a good friend of mine says, there is no growth through comfort. I’m still stubborn as hell, and have to be in a LOT of pain before I am willing to unlock my death grip on these things. And the only thing that has saved me from going out over them has been prayer, service to others, and a willingness (however grudging) to hand these things over to something bigger than me.
It can be hard to let go- to really let go and let our lives take a course that we may not have imagined. But I promise you- it gets easier. The practice of surrender, and faith, does not come overnight. For me, it required time and time again, of handing something over, then TRYING to focus on others (while still watching my life like a hawk). Gradually, you see that things ALWAYS work in our favor when we are open to the plans of our higher power, and spend our energy trying to help others rather than manipulating our lives to serve our own self-serving needs. Surrender gets easier, and so does staying sober. Sobriety CAN happen for you, and you deserve it. You are a beautiful soul- we are all made out of and in love, and that is our job here on earth- to give as much love as humanly possible, then sit in awe and watch how it returns to us in spades. You have so much to give to the world. You as much as anyone else deserves to feel peace, happiness, and contentedness- so keep trying. Keep coming back. Keep asking yourself the important questions, talking to a sponsor, and working the steps- if you are broken enough to see that none of your ideas work, and maybe some ideas or things need to be let go of in order to be happily and usefully sober, then you are closer than you think.