Writing a farewell letter

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Quitting your addiction and going into recovery means saying goodbye to your addiction and starting a new chapter in your life. Saying goodbye means letting go of certain habits, places and, often, also certain people in your life. You can consider this as a (mourning) process that you have to go through. Writing a farewell letter can help you to bring this period to a close. Before you write a farewell letter, we would like to invite you to write a letter in which you look back on the pleasant and perhaps even happy moments you have experienced during your addiction. This may sound contradictory because you mainly paid attention to the negative consequences of your addiction during your recovery process. Nonetheless, it is also important to reflect on the enjoyable moments during your addiction. This is also part of bringing a period of your life to a close.

Letter 1: Write a letter in which you look back on the good moments during your addiction

Look back to your period of addiction; what were the benefits of your addiction? How did it make you feel? Are there certain moments or situations of which you have a good memory? Are there people you have met that you are grateful to have met? What lessons have you learned from this period? Take your time and write down what comes to mind. You can decide on the length of this letter yourself.

Be aware: if you notice that your craving increases while writing the letter, stop for a moment and continue writing the letter another time.

 

Letter 2: Write a farewell letter addressed to your addiction

Now, think about what you want to say goodbye to. What has the addiction cost you? What situations do you no longer want to be in? Are there certain people that you have said goodbye to? Or are there people standing in the way of your recovery process that you need to say goodbye to? What negative thoughts have been bothering you for a long time that you want to say goodbye bye to? Also write down why you want to say goodbye to your addiction. Why do you want to return to a life without addiction? Take your time and write down what comes to mind. You can decide on the length of this letter yourself.

Do emotions surface when writing the letter? Try to identify and accept them. If you find that it becomes overwhelming, take a break. When the emotions have subsided, you can continue writing the letter.

 

Discuss whether you want to read the letter during your treatment with your professional. You can also read the letters to people close to you, such as your partner or a good friend.

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