In 2010, Ron Grover wrote an open letter to his son — and anyone with addiction — that still moves us today. Writing a letter to your child who is struggling with dependence or addiction can be cathartic for both of you. It can also allow you to express the caring and emotion you feel that might be harder to communicate in person.
Read Ron’s letter below and ask yourself if letter writing might be a good option for you.
Life is not easy. It’s not easy if you are struggling with addiction – or even if you aren’t. It’s all about evolution. The strong survive. It’s not just about physical strength; it is more about mental strength. Do you have the will to survive? Do you have the strength to make it one more day?
As a person who has never struggled with drug or alcohol addiction, I can only speak from that perspective. My insight into your world is only through observation. I do not wish to walk in your shoes, but I can tell you what it is like to walk in mine – if you are serious about recovery.
Every day, I have unfulfilled wants that are not centered on anyone else. It may seem selfish, but I believe that the center of one’s being can only revolve around oneself. I want things, I want different feelings, I want changes in others, I want, I want, I want. It really never ends. I believe that desire is no different for anyone – for people with addiction and for those without.
Daily, there are people out there telling you no – bosses, friends, parents, spouses and significant others – and that is just a part of life. Disappointment and hurt are as much a part of living as joy, happiness and love. Hurt is the same for those with addiction as it is for those without. The difference is how we react to and cope with our emotions, whether they are good or bad. I don’t know what drugs do for a person with addiction to help cope with disappointment. I don’t know how drugs heighten the joy of happiness. But I do know that my life would be very monochromatic without its peaks and valleys.
I have no doubt from observing you that you hated every day you used substances. I can see how your life was out of control, spiraling into a pit of hurt and despair. You became so lost that the helping hands of others could not even be grasped.
I see your struggles with being in recovery, with more pain than joy. It’s a time in your life where the scales are not balanced. You are working so hard to survive but everyone is saying no. There are so many frustrations. “What is the point?” you may wonder.
There is one place where no one will say no. There is one life that will accept you. The life of substance use that you have known for the last several years. That is the easy path to take.
But please know that the immediate pain you feel now will eventually fade.
When my father died, I felt terrible pain and remorse. I wanted to pick up the phone and call him, but I knew I couldn’t. I wanted to one last time, for old times’ sake, but I couldn’t. I flashed back to all the good times, but they were not to be anymore. I believe that feeling of loss is something similar to what you are experiencing in order to live on. Your old life must die, and there is tremendous pain with that death. Each day you will want to use substances just one more time. Time may heal all wounds, but the scars are there forever.
In time, the scales will balance and you will experience more joy than pain. But for now, you must travel the difficult path and find the will to survive. You will become stronger each time you choose to steer away from that dangerous and tempting path at the fork in the road. It may be hard to see because the path to recovery is difficult. But please know you are not walking alone – hands of help are reaching out to you with your every step.