After reading An Open Letter From an Addict, I took the liberty of writing a letter back early on in my own recovery. Yes, MY recovery. After finding out my husband was actively using for years, I was devastated. How could I not know? What was I thinking this whole time?
It was eventually suggested to me to go to Al-Anon. What the heck? I did not have time for that crap. Why should I go to a 12-step program when everything is HIS fault, right?!
Very, very wrong!
Even though I had no idea my husband was actively using drugs, I had become sick and insane without knowing it. I needed to take time and deal with ME, not him! And now, I make sure I make the time to take care of myself which is the best thing I can do.
If you are affected by the family disease of addiction—I encourage you to reach out and find help. There is no shame in reaching out—only hope.
No family immune to addiction...but recovery is possible. So here's my voice as a bipolar wife now living with a recovering addict:
I write this letter with gratitude because through uncovering your addiction I found Al-Anon—a recovery program that in little over 4 months has changed my life every moment I work the program. Al-Anon is a lifestyle for me and as of today I will write exactly what that means…
Do accept I am intelligent enough to fully understand and firmly believe you have a disease. You may have “fooled” me once, but know I have embraced Step 1 and my powerlessness over your choices make it impossible for you to fool me again.
Don’t expect perfection. I am a human with defects just as you are, but do know I am well aware of when I put Al-Anon into practice and when I don’t. You need not analyze my recovery process or judge it because you, my dear addict, are powerless over me too.
Know that you are no longer my top priority but I love you no less than I did before. However, I now need to love God and myself first.
Understand that loving others and serving others outside of you is not a punishment or reflection of resentment—it is a form of respect for myself, for us as a couple, and for the family disease of addiction.
I keep my promises and please respect my promises because they are not empty threats. My recovery is based around me and my Higher Power and the boundaries I set have only healthy interests in mind.
While I did not cause your disease, can’t cure your disease, or control it—I refuse to fuel it.
Through loving you I have a deeper love and respect for myself and my faith.
So I choose faith over fear
I choose health instead of habitual harm
I choose responsibility not reactivity
I choose serenity not insanity--- and have faith in this possibility.
My prayers, compassion, and unconditional love for you will never cease. Wherever life takes us, whatever God has in store for us—I trust that path.
I trust I can’t trust you and there is no blame or resentment in that fact. It is a fact and a symptom of addiction I simply have no control over.
I did feel broken but today I feel restored. God and Al-Anon have allowed me to build a much stronger self than I ever imagined.
With love and gratitude and respect,
Your wife in recovery
*Please note, this letter is my own and unrelated to any AlAnon approved literature.