Dr.Hays

Finding Closure in “Goodbye”

Blog Post created by Dr.Hays on Apr 20, 2016

Whether it be the passing of a loved one, the ending of a romantic relationship, or moving on from an important life event, saying goodbye can be a tough, emotional experience. For many of my patients who stopped smoking, they were surprised to find they experienced similar feelings of loss and grief when parting ways with cigarettes.

But perhaps it shouldn't be all that surprising. 

Much like a close friend, cigarettes became a source of comfort and consistency over the years for many smokers.  In the beginning, there were likely a number of positive experiences.  However, as time went on, the negative experiences became more frequent and it became clearer that this relationship was an unhealthy, lop-sided affair. 

In our residential program, we encourage our patients to write and share with one another a “goodbye letter” to cigarettes.  Making the decision to say goodbye takes a great deal of strength, commitment, and a self-love.  We find that writing can be a therapeutic way to express the feelings we cannot always say aloud.  Finding closure through an official goodbye can build an EX smokers resolve and provide the strength necessary to overcome the hold of tobacco addiction.   

Many of our patients often leave their letters to us to share with and perhaps, inspire others.  Below is one such letter from an EX smoker who experienced strong emotions in saying goodbye to a 50-year relationship with cigarettes.  After reading this letter, consider if you have any final words to write to cigarettes that might help you close the door on that relationship for good.

 

Dear Cigarettes,

This is my last communication with you.  It is a combination of a love letter, a story of betrayal, and a “Dear John” letter. 

You have been my companion for the last 50 years.  I thought of you as my best friend, strongest supporter, my comfort, and my breathing.  Every breath I took was you.

Finally, after this 50 year relationship I have realized that everything I thought about you was a lie and that you betrayed me in the most unconscionable way I can imagine.

What you are is my addiction and I am an addict.  You are not my friend, you are my enemy.  You have created a monster, but no longer.

My wish for you is to die a long, slow, painful death and never get near me again.  You deserve all the pain you have caused me over these last 50 years.  But, the worst part of all of this is that both of us know that addiction is so powerful that I can lapse or relapse.  My personal journey from now on is to be in recovery for the rest of my life.  My deepest wish is that I succeed.  I am ready for this battle.  I free already.

So here is your final notice.  Do not write me, do not call me.  This is my last goodbye.

P.S. I know you are an addiction and my enemy, but I am stronger than you are.

Outcomes