To the Alcoholics and Addicts

A Letter of Hope and Strength

Russ W


Photo by Andy Køgl on Unsplash

This piece is for all the addicts, alcoholics and anyone diagnosed (or yet to be) with substance use disorder.

You might not want to admit it yet, but you know who you are.

You are not alone.

Maybe drunken holiday party antics cost you a job. Maybe you’ve wrapped your Benz around a tree. Maybe your coke habit wrecked your marriage. Maybe you need an eye-opener to shake off the morning shakes. Maybe your liver numbers just shot through the roof. Maybe you got HIV shooting meth with dirty needles.

The notes may be different, but the music is the same.

There are people out there who understand your struggle. Your pain strikes a deep chord within us.

We are an invisible army of brothers and sisters who tried to quench our desperation with every substance imaginable. We, too, reached for anything with the power to alter our moods and free us from the hamster wheel of our minds.

We, the recovering, have survived through the worst kinds of childhood trauma, relationship wreckage and self-destructive behavior imaginable.

No matter how dark and dangerous your life may have become — know there is a path out of the shadowland of addiction. It is well worn and has stood the test of time. We can show you the way.

We’ve kept the secrets.

I see you hiding vodka in empty suitcases in the closet, slipping grams of coke into old suit jacket pockets, trying to mask the smell of bourbon with afternoon coffee, justifying flu symptoms every Monday.

It’s a tall order to keep secrets from everyone and try to get away with reckless substance use. It’s exhilarating to lead a double-life until it becomes exhausting.

The burden of sustaining a habit is all-consuming when we’re always seeking a window to sneak away and help ourselves to a little nip, bump or shot.

Other people, even loved ones, become obstacles to navigate around. Family functions become high-pressure races against the clock in our all-consuming search for that window. Our impatience and irritability can boil over when we’re trying to seek the…



Russ W

Addiction therapist with an alphabet soup of degrees. Writer. Creative. Human. Hit me up: