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[ Opinion ] [ Personal Narratives ]

A Letter To My 8-Year-Old Self

Dear Kelly,

As crazy as it sounds, I’m writing you from another world. I know you’re much too young to understand all of the things I’m about to tell you, but I’m going to try anyway because you deserve these words of wisdom and these warnings. I’m sure you’re enjoying school right now at age 8, learning multiplication and playing travel soccer with your friends. I know you have no idea what’s in store for your life in the coming years and maybe it’s better that way. Life is going to come at you hard and fast and I want you to be ready for that. I want you to stand tall and be sure of yourself along the way. As you start to grow up, I want you to keep the following points in mind. This is advice from you to you. Take heed and never be afraid.

1. Keep playing soccer no matter what.

There will be times you’ll want to quit. There will be times when it’s just too hard and too tiring and you don’t feel like it’s worth it, but it is. Soccer will save you, in more ways than you can understand right now. It will bring you pain and physical injuries, but these will teach you determination, perseverance, and bring out your inner badass. Soccer playing is a gift for you, trust that intuition and go with it.

2. Your friends are good enough.

You’ll feel the urge to skip around between different groups of friends as you age. You’ll feel like you’re searching for something and that will be the start of your disease. No matter how many coed birthday parties you get invited to, or how many boys are interested in you, none of these things will fill you up the way you’re searching for. Stop trying to look for new friends, cherish the ones you have. Nurture those relationships and keep them close.

3. Your parents don’t always know what’s best, but love them anyway.

You’ll shocked when you hear Mom and Dad don’t know it all, but they don’t. It’s a hard truth to swallow. You’ll be ok, but you’ll have to navigate your own path. Mom and Dad are human beings and therefore, flawed. They make mistakes, they say hurtful things, and they aren’t perfect. But that doesn’t mean you can’t love them just the way they are. It will be hard some days, but just remember, to love them. Don’t blame them for your issues.

4. Just because you aren’t good at math, doesn’t mean you’re not good at life.

I know you hate math and I’m sorry to say that won’t change. There will be teachers who will make you feel dumb, inadequate, and there will be others who don’t understand why their help isn’t helping you. Just do your best and be comfortable with it. Math isn’t your thing and that’s ok. You have other skills that will allow you to shine much brighter. Math isn’t tied to your self-worth.

5. You need to get help with your anger.

In a few years, you will feel very angry. You won’t be sure where it comes from or why, but it will affect every aspect of your life. Drugs and alcohol will become a way to not care and get rid of these emotions. There are resources out there that are designed to help you. Tell someone. Reach out. Don’t be afraid of the way you’re feeling. You can get help.

6. No substance or person will make you feel satisfied.

You’ll endlessly search for something to fill you up, but you won’t know what it is at that time. This void can not be satisfied by Christmas gifts, men, drugs, or alcohol. You can try, but it won’t work. The only cure for this problem is diving deep inside yourself and getting in touch with your true being. The good news? You don’t need any substance or person to complete you. You are already complete.

7. You are worthy of love.

For some reason you’ll get the idea in your head that relationships should be dramatic. You’ll think that jealousy and possessiveness are equal to love, but they are not. Kelly, you don’t need drama in a relationship for it to be exciting. You are completely worthy of a healthy, normal partnership. You deserve that. You can walk away from any relationship that is not serving you. You do not need a reason why. Not every relationship will work out and that’s ok.

8. It’s not all about you.

Mind blown, right? I’m not saying this to be mean. This one fact alone will completely open your eyes. Not everyone around you is saying and doing things with you in mind. Every person you meet will be on their own journey. If they hurt you, it’s most likely because they’re having an internal struggle. Try not to take everything personal and you will be saved a lot of heartache.

9. You have the power to change your life at any moment.

In a few years it will seem like you’re not living life, it’s living you. It doesn’t have to be this way! You have the power inside you to change the course of your life. Life is what YOU make it. Don’t be afraid to embark into the unknown and live a life beyond your wildest dreams. You can do it and you deserve all of the happiness in the world. You are worth it.

10. The disease of addiction will shape who you are.

That disease I mentioned – it might sound scary, but it will be the key to understanding almost all of the questions that will plague your mind in the coming years. Most importantly, you are not alone, you are not weird, or bad, you are not a lost cause. You will face addiction and you’ll fight like hell. You’ll come out the other side a new person. Your soul will be forever changed. Going through this will give you the satisfaction you’ve always been searching for. Don’t be scared, embrace it. This will be the defining moment of your life. Your life will never be the same and everything you do going forward after this point, will be based on three things: acceptance, kindness, and love.

The advice I’m giving you may seem a little abstract. You might put this letter down and never think about it again. But I want you to know there are beautiful things waiting out there for you Kelly. You’re going to be ok. You will live a life filled with gratitude. The universe will become your friend, the ocean your guide.

Now go forth with love! And never forget to always be true to yourself.