When we have a dependency on an addictive substance or habit, we often romanticise this relationship. We confer power and affection to the substance or behaviour. We make up excuses why it is good for us, why we should continue. We might say, “It helps me relax,” “I am more creative when I use”, “It helps me connect to my spirit”, “It is there for me when no one else is”, “It takes away my pain”, “It gives me energy”, “It is my best friend”, “It soothes me”, “It helps me forget”, “It allows me to escape”, “It fills the emptiness inside”, “It gives me a sense of control”.
While this may be our experience in the moment, addiction is not a true friend. The feeling or relief doesn’t last. The love is not reciprocated. That substance or behaviour, whether it be alcohol, tobacco, heroin, marijuana, sugar or any other drug, gambling, sex or shopping – doesn’t care about you. It doesn’t call you to see how you are doing. It doesn’t offer to hold your hand, rub your feet, or go with you to difficult appointments. It doesn’t make you meals, sleep with you, or praise you for something you did well, or tell you that it loves you. In actual fact, it robs you of all of this. It is a lousy selfish partner that doesn’t care. As you use, you lose your connection to other valuable, real friends and relationships that you already have or can develop. Don’t give your drug of choice or unhealthy habit value. It is taking away from you what you are seeking from it. It is a thief.
It’s Time to Say Goodbye
It’s time to say goodbye to your addictive substance or habit.
Acknowledge the ways in which it has supported you in the past. Recognize the ways in which it has hurt you and is blocking your future. Prepare to end the relationship. Sever the ties. Divorce yourself from the substance or behaviour.
Write a Letter
Imagine your addictive substance is the thief who broke into your home and stole your most valued possessions, or the partner who cheated on you. Reflect on all the ways that this is true and find the words to express it. Write a letter to your “addiction” to end the relationship, acknowledging the ways it served you in the past, and the ways it is harming you now. Tell the “addiction” that it is no longer needed, that the relationship is over. Then mail it. Snail mail. and read your letter every night before bed. Let me know what happens after 40 days.
For information on upcoming Beyond Addiction programs, go to https://beyondaddiction.ca/events/training-programs/.