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The Good-Bye Speech

It was one of those goodbye’s that left a tear in your eye, but also left you with that feeling of strength, love, and that none of us were alone in this thing we call addiction. As I gazed around the room I saw that we were all moved. This client spoke with such conviction that it rattled the guys’ chains they had been bounded by for years. It broke the silence, the fear, the guilt and it moved us.

We loved his Goodbye so much, we thought you’d love it too:

Today I am able to look back on my life with clarity of mind and the power of sobriety. Sobriety is a gift given to us all, but one we are not all able to maintain. It is a gift that I will fight to keep. It is a gift that I will fight to pass on to my son. My path to sobriety is now my story that I will tell to those that ask in hopes that they will take what they will, leave what they won’t, and in some way guide them towards sobriety for themselves. Sobriety is measured in actions taken daily and not days without using.

I remember the ease of childhood play and the joy of anticipation one day brought to the next. Waking up early to watch cartoons, to have my favourite cereal, to see my friends, to explore my neighbourhood, my town, a city and spend time with family. When did this become not enough? When did I become lost, mistreated, or victimized by life, love, another or myself to look for comfort in addiction? These things happen every day. Where did I stop and my addiction start? Addiction is powerful and has brought me to my knees many times. It disguised itself in many ways throughout my life.

If I look hard enough I can see it and feel it at the most intense parts of my life – either waiting or responsible – cunning enough to convince me that the problem is now somehow the cure. What was responsible for my pain is now my saviour. Our addiction waits like no other enemy and it takes many forms. Idle time, good days and bad, celebration and sadness, joy and depression, kind and unkind acts, often brought to us by friends and not enemies, always revealing itself as the ultimate show of force.

One of the things that I know to be true is that sobriety is a gift to be fought for and this place is not my punishment. Every time I drank or used drugs didn’t end in darkness but every one of my darkest moments was due to drinking or drugs. Our strength comes from knowing our enemy and knowing where our relationship with addiction takes us, where it left us, and where we allowed it to go. That place is not a constant reminder of failure to be doubted or its intensity lessened with time, but an absolute truth of a failed relationship with addiction. Regret is a prison we build ourselves and love and forgiveness is the key. The key to our happiness is to love ourselves as we love our family, our friends, our children or as a parent should love a child. I will continue to work on me, the one thing that I have the power to change.

My tools are the power of positive thinking, stopping the negative self-talk, treating myself the way I treat others, owning my past and loving my future. As we rebuild our life piece by piece we forget that time and pressure didn’t create us overnight but over years. We first strive to acknowledge our problems, seek understanding of self, and overcome our addiction through lifelong learning and application. Be real with yourself for what you know to be true is what got you here. So don’t hold onto a mistake just because you took a long time making it.

To my brothers fighting the battle today know that you are not alone, we are never alone. What one day brought you pain can now give you meaning. Trust in the power of urgency to save your life, to get you sober. Ask for help when you need it and give help when asked, for when you save another you save yourself. I will stand by you like you stand by me. I got your back like you got mine. We will have each other’s backs from here on.

Yesterday is simply the ingredients: today is who we are, and tomorrow is whatever we want it to be. The power of yesterday will fade if we let it, regardless if we choose to learn from it or not. If we hold onto the good memories, forgive ourselves and others for the bad and never forget that we are forged by fire, are stronger together and are a band of brothers in recovery. I will not run and I will not hide for what I couldn’t do myself I now do with a band of brothers from this day forward. For those still fighting, don’t give up, you are worth it, you are loved and you are worth fighting for. For those we lost you did not die in vain but now help guide the way.

To those I have wronged I apologize, I am sorry. To those that have wronged me I forgive you, but fuck you.

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