Please note, this letter is my own and unrelated to any Al-Anon approved literature.
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 that I go to Al-Anon. What the heck? I did not have time for that stuff. 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 myself, 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, reach out and find help. There is no shame in reaching out, only hope.
No family is immune to addiction, but recovery is possible. So here’s my voice as a 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 a little over four months has changed my life every moment I work the program. Active recovery 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 makes 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 my Higher Power 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. Please respect my promises, because they are not empty threats. My recovery is based around myself and my Higher Power and the boundaries I set have only healthy interests in mind.
While I did not cause your disease and cannot cure 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. My recovery has allowed me to build a much stronger self than I ever imagined.
With love and gratitude and respect,
Your wife in recovery
Letter photo available from Shutterstock