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A Letter to Myself: Six Days Sober

I was doing some “fall cleaning” and decided to go through my Burn Bag. I keep a bag of all of my old journals which I have told a few people close to me to burn if anything were to ever happen to me. These are my most private and intimate thoughts. I found the journal from when I first got sober—this time.


July 11, 2013—Six Days Sober

I’m sick of being given these fucking journals to write in for the “start” of my recovery. I start writing in them and when the shit hits the fucking fan again, they get abandoned somewhere and I wonder who has read my insane thoughts. Or it’s just another failure recorded permanently on paper.

When I write it down, I mean it. The “never wanna do this again” and “time for a new life” positive bullshit. Then I’m dumped back on my ass again, made a fucking fool of. It pains me to have it all on paper to look back at as a reminder of how much worse it hurts when you give 100% and it all slips away again.

I’m fucking tired of this. I’m so fucking tired.

I’m running out of options. So desperately I want to give up, I sometimes wonder why I can’t be the one who dies of an overdose. Why does God continue to let me carry on with all this pain? Why do I have to do this alone?

When I have a little clean time, I convince myself that God has a bigger purpose for me. I convince myself that I am going through all of this because He knows I am strong enough to take it. I am going to channel all this pain and suffering into something good one day. But is this one day ever going to arrive?

I am exhausted with always going through growing pains. Which of my two lives is the façade and which is my destiny? I can’t keep up with the flip-flop because each time I go from recovery to relapse I get weaker. I feel broken and hurt and the fire inside of me is extinguished. My passion for life is gone. I feel victimized and betrayed. My heart is cold as ice. I don’t want to be alone, but I don’t anyone near enough to me to hurt me again.”


I wish I could go back and just hug this version of myself. I was just finishing detox and I was alone and scared. I wish I could just tell myself about the journey and the life that was coming.

To the six-day sober Hillary I say this:

You are going to get all of the things you ever hoped for. All. The. Things. Plus more. You will get your family. Your sister will come back into your life. You will restore that special bond that you had with her and your nieces. Your mother will come back and you will make amends with her. You will help her navigate cancer and move onto the next world with some dignity and comfort.

You will get a job and will be promoted time and time again. You will get your dream job. Then you will walk away because you decided you deserve more. You will finally know your worth.

You will get in relationships and you will get out of them. You will have moments of happiness and moments of extreme emotional pain. All of this will lead you to finally finding exactly what and who you always wanted.

You will become a mother. A great mother. You will have the most beautiful daughter and she will believe you’re her hero. You will sacrifice everything for your daughter and in return, you will have the most rewarding relationship of your life. You will find true unconditional love. Together, you will thrive.

You will be afraid. It’s okay to be afraid. Fear is healthy. When you reach five years sober, you will still have all of the knowledge and experience of what you’ve been through. The difference this time is that you will have learned how to use it.

You will find your purpose. Your purpose will shift and morph. Sometimes you’ll think you have it all figured out and then you will change your mind. You will know how to navigate those challenges with grace because of the resiliency you learned through the hard times.

You will channel all of your pain and suffering into something good. Suffering taught you to be fiercely empathetic and compassionate towards others who suffer. You will devote your life to helping them.

Hang on girl. Just a little longer. You are so close. You are right on the edge of escaping the grips of your addiction and the emotional pain and chaos.

Freedom is just around the corner.

Hillary Dumas is a woman with five years in recovery from substance use disorder and is from central Massachusetts. Hillary is a single mother to a strong willed two year old girl.

Hillary manages a substance abuse treatment program. She has a certificate in Alcohol and Drug Counseling and is halfway through her Bachelor’s in Business Administration Management. She believes in transparency and sharing her raw experiences to help others feel less alone.

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