Write A Goodbye Letter To Alcohol – A Strong Tool For Sobriety
“The act of writing itself is like an act of love. There is contact. There is exchange too. We no longer know whether the words come out of the ink onto the page, or whether they emerge from the page itself where they were sleeping, the ink merely giving them colour.”
Georges Rodenbach, The Bells of Bruges
There are many methods of helping you along your path to sobriety as we discuss here– and writing a personal goodbye letter to alcohol has been used by many as a successful therapeutic one.
The purpose of this blog post today is to look at what a goodbye letter to alcohol is, if you think it might be useful in your own journey to sobriety then we look at suggestions on how to get started writing your own goodbye letter to alcohol.
Either way, writing a goodbye letter to alcohol is a very interesting and successful method. Let’s take a look in more depth.
What is a goodbye letter to alcohol?
When we write a letter, it is personal, words created from our minds onto paper, something visible and tangible.
Using this method of moving thoughts to something physical is a powerful thing. Harnessing this power to write a letter to alcohol – a goodbye letter spelling out the end of your relationship – that is some serious power to harness.
A goodbye letter to alcohol in it’s basic form is simply another tool that you can utilise on your path to sobriety. It gives you the opportunity to be very honest with yourself and your relationship with alcohol.
Actually going through the physical process of writing a letter, or writing in general may not ‘be your thing’, or even trying it just might not have a desired effect. But with many – it does.
Actually creating a letter is a very powerful way of seeing in black and white, seeing what you think of alcohol and why you are leaving it out of you life.
Writing a letter is a common therapy called expressive writing, it allows you to express your feelings without the fear of being questioned, judged or constrained in any way.
Do we actually put pen to paper, or physically write a letter?
Yes, that is exactly what you do. But yes, to follow this process, we highly recommend that you create an actual letter, and address the reader (in this case, this would be the drink).
Writing a goodbye letter to alcohol can be done with pen and paper, or on a computer, or phone – or whatever suits you. The objective of the exercise is that you create something that you can look at, read, and is personal to you.
When you do write a goodbye letter to alcohol, actually ‘write a letter’ – in letter form. Using the basics of who you are writing to – so ‘dear alcohol’, or for me, simply ‘alcohol’ (I no longer hold it in ‘dear’ regard). Write your letter and sign off as you would when writing a regular letter.
What should I put in my goodbye letter to alcohol?
Your letter is specific to yourself, so put in it whatever you wish.
As a guide, often people put in information about what harm that alcohol has done to their lives, maybe who they have harmed when under the influence of alcohol – and the shame that they feel for their actions, the regretful times that they have experienced. In the early days of drinking, alcohol was often enjoyed by people and this is added into the letter.
If you are struggling to articulate your feelings about the emotional roller coaster that is early recovery, a letter may be able to help.
What is important is honesty. How you feel about what you have done, who you have become whilst drinking and who you are now or who you want to be.
Writing an farewell letter like this, it is geared towards telling alcohol (personifying it and talking to it as if it were a person) why you no longer want it to be part of you or your life.
The major plus of this tool is that you CAN be honest as you are in total control. And the more honest you are towards yourself, the more of a useful tool you will find it.
What do we do with a goodbye letter to alcohol? Who reads it?
Writing therapy is extremely personal and often allows the writer to be able to express themselves in ways that they may not do in other therapies.
With this in mind, who you share your personal goodbye letter to alcohol with is entirely your choice. It may be something that you would find useful, to allow others an insight into your own journey with alcohol, or it may be a tool that you want to keep totally private.
What we do with the letter, again, is our own choice We may decide to write it once and feel a weight come from your shoulders and never look at again
We may decide to re-visit the letter from time to time, as a reminder of why we cut alcohol out of our lives. There are lots of methods of quitting alcohol out there and it is very much a ‘horses for courses’ approach. This particular tool worked well with me. I do re-read it from time to time, but this is just something that has helped me along my own personal path.
How does a letter help in my path to sobriety?
Writing a goodbye letter to alcohol is quite an amazing tool really. Once you start writing, you will realise that you have the ability to speak the truth about your feelings about alcohol. It helps you to open up, reflect on your life with alcohol and guides you to reasons as to what it has done for you. For me, it made me realise my feelings towards alcohol and what it has taken away from me.
It did raise some bitter feelings, but also made me think about these feelings. It lead to quite a lot of introspection on my part, an aspect of finding your own alcohol off switch that I truly believe helped me – in fact, the main catalyst for me stopping drinking.
My personal goodbye letter to sobriety
I used this method when I decided to stop drinking and found it extremely useful to do, and here is my own personal goodbye letter to alcohol. It is very personal to me, but I believe that it may inspire others and help them use a goodbye letter to alcohol on their own journey of sobriety.
This is the very reason that I created The Alcohol Off Switch blog, and this is the reason that I have decided to share my own letter with you here.
My own goodbye letter to alcohol.
We have been together for such a long time. I first got involved with you aged 14 when I remember buying 4 beers with my cousin.
But I think that I knew all about you by being surrounded by adults who were having ‘adult drinks’, so you had already got my attention before I even got directly involved.
The first time we ‘met’ it was out of curiosity, and we would hook up now and again for the next couple of years.
It wasn’t until I lost my job and home in the space of a week that you were really there for me. I came to find you and you were there, taking away all of my worries and concerns. And you helped.
At the age of 19 when I sadly lost my baby, I came to find you again and we stayed together for a couple of years, spending most nights together.
Around the age of 22 when I joined the forces, you were there through the good and bad times – a constant in my life.
You were hanging around with my friends and me, and we just seemed to work well together.
As the years rolled on, you were there almost daily. You were there throughout my wedding and my early days of marriage. You saw me have our firstborn child, then my second born…and continued to be with me all the time.
I honestly thought that you were my friend, and a good one to have. Then I realised that you actually shielded me from growing into a person. You stopped me from learning how to deal with life situations. Whenever I hit a turn in the road – good or bad – you were there to stifle my emotions. Whenever I was with you I behaved like a dick, I made bad decisions and stole too many memories from me. You have been the hardest relationship that I have experienced, and I no longer want to be part of that relationship.
Dear addiction – take notice of this personal goodbye letter and let me live a great relationship with my life, and not be part of the neediest relationship – one that I regret being part of.
I am now not only saying goodbye, but stay the fuck away from me and my family. Stay away from my life and my memories. I am stronger now than I ever was with you and you are a dangerous one to be around. You give false confidence and make-believe happiness. This is my personal goodbye letter to you, goodbye addiction – take notice and listen.
I know that I can hear you shouting for me at times, calling me back to hang around with you. But I know that you are an evil that my life needs to be without.
I am healthier without you. I sleep better without you. Since leaving you I suffer less anxiety about normal life things that others can deal with. I have learned to deal with emotions, grown-up mentally stronger – something that I should have done at an early age. I believe that I have been robbed of 25 years of my life, and I point the finger at you for this.
When I read this letter, I do feel that I am putting a lot of blame on you..and to an extend this is true. But, I take responsibility for choosing to hang around with you. I was foolish to think that our relationship would continue and continue well.
This will be the last time that I am in contact with you, I know you will crop up in my life and in lives of people that I care about. With all the will I have, you will not be permitted in my life again. Stay away and goodbye.
Writing a goodbye letter to alcohol has been used in recovery for many years, and for all types of addictions and drugs, and is one recovery tool that I really advocate.
Writing a personal goodbye letter helped me and it may well help you. You might not see yourself as much of a writer, but give it a try! Start writing a letter yourself, and you might be surprised just how much it helps you.