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Question
Posted by: Samantha | 2010-05-17

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My friend is currently in rehab. Her counsellor asked if I could send a letter to her outlining incidents and my perception of her addiction and also how it has affected me. I''m not really sure how to go about it. On the one hand I think it is important for her to get faced with the truth, in all its graphic and sordid details  but on the other hand I''m scared that it will hurt her feelings, that she will get really angry and that it will ruin our friendship. I''m scared that it will be like kicking her when she is down and really vulnerable.

I''m not sure what to do. I''m also really angry with her and extremely hurt because of things that she had done to me in the past few years. Not all of them were related to her drinking. I thought I had put those things aside and have moved on but they have now resurfaced in a big way, mostly because they were never properly resolved at the time and she has never shown any remorse for her behaviour. So, to make a long story short - I''m ecstatic and very relieved that she has finally gone for treatment but really, really angry with her. Should I include this in my letter to her?

I really want this letter to be helpful but I''m not sure how to go about it.
Thank you.
Best regards
S

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Our expert says:
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Hello S

This is not the time to worry about hurting your friend's feelings. This is not about saving feelings, it's about indirectly saving someone's life.

Write that letter as honestly as possible, but I would stick to the incidents relating to her drug or drink usage and all the consequences around that.

Write about how it affected you, her, everything that you can think of.

I would suggest that you phone her counsellor as well and discuss this issue with him or her. Those letters are a vital, vital part of the addict's recovery.

Addicts are in complete denial about what they've done to themselves and other people and these letters usually shock them back into reality.

I kept all my letters that I received when I was in treatment and I refer to them whenever (in a moment of insanity) I toy with the idea of using again.

You will not be kicking a dog when it is down, you will be helping it. If you are worried about mentioning these other issues in the letter, speak to her counsellor about it.

Best of luck
herman@harmonyclinic.co.za

The information provided does not constitute a diagnosis of your condition. You should consult a medical practitioner or other appropriate health care professional for a physical exmanication, diagnosis and formal advice. Health24 and the expert accept no responsibility or liability for any damage or personal harm you may suffer resulting from making use of this content.

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Our users say:
Posted by: Addictions Expert Forum | 2010-05-18

Hello S

This is not the time to worry about hurting your friend's feelings. This is not about saving feelings, it's about indirectly saving someone's life.

Write that letter as honestly as possible, but I would stick to the incidents relating to her drug or drink usage and all the consequences around that.

Write about how it affected you, her, everything that you can think of.

I would suggest that you phone her counsellor as well and discuss this issue with him or her. Those letters are a vital, vital part of the addict's recovery.

Addicts are in complete denial about what they've done to themselves and other people and these letters usually shock them back into reality.

I kept all my letters that I received when I was in treatment and I refer to them whenever (in a moment of insanity) I toy with the idea of using again.

You will not be kicking a dog when it is down, you will be helping it. If you are worried about mentioning these other issues in the letter, speak to her counsellor about it.

Best of luck
herman@harmonyclinic.co.za

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