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  • Writer's pictureChoice Recovery

Saying Goodbye

Why is it so hard to say goodbye to our addiction? We do not want it. We have dedicated a large portion of our time and energy to get rid of it, and we are well aware of the destruction it brings to our lives. Yet, even with all this effort and knowledge, we cannot let it go. We fantasize about the good-old-days of using. We rationalize why next time it will be different, and we marginalize the negative impact using had on our decision-making.

Often, because we cannot say goodbye forever to our addiction, our lives are put on hold. We are stuck in a stationary position or in a circular motion that stunts life advancement. This holding on even pulls us right back down as we try to make positive life changes. It seems we are constantly starting our recovery over, looking for a new place to live, another job, and rebuilding relationships. What makes things even harder is, each time we start over, we do so with less confidence, more hurdles, and additional shame and regret wondering why I keep doing this to myself. The fact is, saying goodbye is hard. This is why we tend to stay attached to the things we don’t want and that we know are not good for us. Whether it’s a friend who is unhealthy to our recovery, a job we hate or a bad living situation, we have a hard time letting go regardless of how irrational it might be. Do you have a hard time saying goodbye to your addiction and related things? If so, what is your reason? Could it be…

  • There is comfort in keeping things the same. When things stay the same, even if they are painful for us, we do not have to admit failure, learn anything new, or live-up to new expectations. All we must do is endure the pain caused by whatever we are holding on to, which we have already done many times before.

  • The uncertainty of having to find a new job, a new hobby, or a new mate creates too much stress and anxiety, so we stay with what we have. After years of using, we lack confidence in our skills or the ability to make things better, which makes it “okay” to settle for what we have today.

  • By nature, human beings look for the easy way out. It is far easier to continue to use, argue with a significant other, or resent a boss rather than take on the challenge of finding a new job, building a new relationship, or dealing with reality. While we want to make life changes, once those changes bring difficulty or uncomfortableness to our lives, we quickly run back to the comfort of what we know.

  • It is easier to blame our addiction for the lack of motivation, failure, or inadequacy in all that we do. If we get clean, we might have to take responsibility, act with character, and do what we say we are going to do.

  • Saying goodbye often brings an empty feeling to our gut. A feeling that we are missing out on something or giving an opportunity away. This feeling can cause us to second guess or blame ourselves for the outcome. We explain to ourselves that we handled the situation poorly, and if we gave it/them another chance, the result would be better.

Building a life that you love requires the ability to say goodbye. The reason is, absent of a healthy goodbye; your efforts to start anew will be limited by the glorification of the past. To find a purposeful job, perfect mate, or sustainable recovery, you cannot be restricted by these false hopes. For example, if the addict believes they will someday gain the skills to use responsibly, they will never fully commit to recovery. Similarly, if you continue to wait for an ex-mate to change or come back for you, you will never give yourself entirely to someone else. This inability to say goodbye forever prohibits transformational change. The hope that your ex may return could be blocking you from seeing a perfect mate standing right in front of you. Your wish to someday "use responsibly" is shielding you from experiencing the greatness of living life authentically and clean.

Over the years, we have built a history that has tremendous influences on our beliefs and decisions. These influences can be beneficial to our growth in recovery; however, if we are not careful, our beliefs can be very limiting. A healthy goodbye includes getting rid of any biases or influences that close us off to all the growth and opportunity this world offers. Our biases and influences have produced the life we live, so to make transformational change, we must modify our way of thinking. This new way of thinking often includes a new purpose and set of beliefs. However, a new way of life starts with a committed goodbye to what we do not want any longer.

What keeps you from letting go completely, to saying goodbye in a manner that enables you to commit fully to something new? Find the freedom to take a risk, trust yourself, and commit to getting what you want. It all starts with healthy goodbyes.

FOR CONSIDERATION: The addict should not be disappointed if the thought of using shows-up every now and again. As addicts, we want to work through the trauma or “why” we turn to drugs and alcohol, but we never want to entirely dismiss the damage and misery our addiction bought to our lives. Through a healthy goodbye to their addiction, the addict can progress and build sustainable recovery. However, these subtle reminders about who we once were can be used as motivation to never return to our old ways. These thoughts of using that pop-up are gentle reminders that we must always be committed to and working our program. Our addiction helps us never forget how bad life can be if we fail to do the next right thing, and for this, we can be grateful.


Choice Recovery is an intensive outpatient addiction treatment center located on the Tempe and Mesa border. The Choice Team includes master's level clinicals, life-coaches, and case managers. Our approach to care is an integrated one that focuses on more than simply the trauma or "why" on turns to drugs and alcohol. We look at the whole-body and life-style to determine how best to support addicts as they look to begin a new life journey.

Choice Recovery accepts AHCCCS insurance such as Mercy Care, United Healthcare, Banner University and others. We offer intensive outpatient treatment ("IOP") in the morning and evening as well as online. Our tele-health services include group sessions, individual counseling, and life-coaching. If you are looking for treatment service that Choice Recovery does not offer, but need an AHCCCS facility, you might try Terros, Saga or Community Bridges. Please reach Choice Recovery at 480-527-0337 or


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