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Navigating life as a woman & mom in recovery, one day at a time.

Dear Self: Read This When You Want a Drink

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This is a letter to myself that I wrote in March 2016 (around 10 months sober), to keep and read when I needed it. I’ve read it more than a few times since then.

Dear Self,

If you’re reading this, I assume you are struggling to quiet the voice in your head that says you can, or should, drink. That you’re not really an alcoholic, or even if you are, it’s not that bad. That it’s just for tonight, you’re a grown adult and can make your own decisions, and are perfectly capable of enjoying a drink or two, or five or seven, and be perfectly fine overall.

Or, maybe you’re upset. Maybe something bad has happened, or you are afraid might happen soon. Maybe something stressful is going on. Maybe you’re overwhelmed and anxious, and the voice is telling you that you are being ridiculous to “deny yourself” any longer.

Maybe you’re happy and relaxed, and something in your brain is piping up louder and louder. If you’re this happy and relaxed now, a couple of drinks would make that feeling even better. Right? Isn’t that how it works?

Whatever the situation going on, there is always an excuse that we can come up with to drink, if we try hard enough to create it.

Just do this for me (for you), just this once, please.

Just wait until tomorrow.

Just do this for me (for you), just this once, please, when you want to drink

It’s just for today.

You chose to quit drinking, and you have the complete freedom to choose to drink again at any point.

The reason that you haven’t is because you accepted the truth that once you take that first drink, all bets are off. You came to the conclusion that for you, it is no longer worth the risk.

You may not feel that way now, or today. I get that. I’m not asking you to do this forever, but please just hang on for another day. That’s all I ask.


Additional reading and resources:

*Journaling has been a key part of my sobriety toolbox. Check out The Sober Journal for a great starting point if you’d like to try it out.
*How I Stayed Sober for The First 30 Days


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  1. Char T on April 20, 2021 at 5:36 pm

    It’s hard to stay sober when you have a husband was an alcoholic and refuses to to acknowledge it. I wasn’t a big drinker until I met him and it just spiraled since then. We had a rough couple of years that has made our drinking even worse. I knew I had a problem but it was so hard to quit when it’s constantly available in the fridge. I work a highly stressful job and I’ve always turn to a drink for comfort I guess. But after reading your letter it has helped me a lot. I try to find other ways to destress. Thank you so much. Now I need to write myself a letter. 21 days and counting!! Woohoo!!

  2. C.T on April 20, 2021 at 10:24 am

    It’s been a struggle not to drink when you have a spouse that’s an alcoholic but refuses to acknowledge. But I was spiraling out of control these past few years.
    But finding your letter has really helped me with my journey. It’s been over 2 weeks and I haven’t touched a drink. I’m so proud of myself. I’ll admit I’ve been tested a lot with stress from work and home. But I recite the words “one more day”….thank you.

  3. Bill Remski on December 18, 2020 at 8:49 pm

    You have a good point with this letter that when we have cravings we should step back and try to let them pass. I have had a drinking problem off and on for about 36 years now, and other addictions, and am just recently making an effort to change my life for the better. Thank you for posting such a thoughtful letter.

  4. Tami on September 10, 2020 at 9:09 pm

    Already 5 down, then I stumble across this letter. I want to finish off the 6 pack but not anymore. Thank u

  5. AGNA on July 3, 2020 at 11:09 am

    This was really nice to read people need more like these to survive!

    • Anonymous on February 19, 2021 at 9:48 pm

      Thank you! Its so honest and true. I have been fighting this disease for many many years. I want to stop and then I’m off again. I wish you nothing but the best. GOD BLESS!

  6. Anonymous on November 21, 2019 at 7:48 pm

    You inspired me to write my own letter to myself. Thank you for posting this and sharing your journey.

    • Srinivas Layagrahi on December 21, 2019 at 4:33 am

      Yes..The way of self care..!!

    • Kim on September 6, 2020 at 12:48 am

      Wow! I needed this so much tonight.

  7. Jill on August 19, 2019 at 2:06 pm

    Thank you for this. After almost 2 years without alcohol, I slipped on Friday because I was lonely and feeling sorry for myself. This is awesome.

  8. Peppergirl on August 15, 2019 at 9:36 am

    Thank you, I needed this today. I am going to print & carry with me.

    • David W on October 7, 2019 at 7:01 pm

      Absolutely love this letter! I can so relate to it in every way. Together we can do this. I need to hear others speak of this inner dialogue. I can not afford to fall for alcohols lies . 966 days sober!!! Thank you God !

  9. Ant White on April 30, 2019 at 9:58 pm

    Where do I begin. Phew.!! I know I’m not waking up with a drink or drink during the day. However when I do drink I cant stop for a day. Yes my history of pain and death losing family seems to scare me, and I just want to forget it. I am clean for 4days and don’t feel like a drink. But I dont want to go on like this. I used to be so strong and focussed, but the last 2 years was so painful.

    AW 02052019

    • Ashley Ann on May 4, 2019 at 2:31 pm

      I hope you’re doing ok today. <3 You can do this.

  10. Don on April 21, 2019 at 5:58 pm

    Thank you! I know once I go back to the bottle, I’m never coming back. Everyday is a battle. I always say, wait till tomorrow. It may not be better, but if I can make it till then and then tomorrow, and tomorrow, etc. Life goes on.

  11. Danny A. on April 1, 2019 at 2:31 pm

    Love this…Thx‼️I’m gonna need all the inspiration I can get. Drinking has been a big issue for me these past couple years. A lot has changed in my life. I went through a divorce a little over a year ago. I’m fine with that. It’s the struggle of finding a balance in my life without waking up and going to bed knowing my girls are safe asleep in their beds each night. Long story short, the ex makes horrible decisions and it stresses me the f out. That and I really miss my babies. Drinking basically numbs everything. I know the risks, and I’d like to be alive long enough to see my babies grow old enough to make families of their own. So today I’m starting my “dry” run.
    Wish me luck‼️

    • Ashley Ann on April 13, 2019 at 6:42 pm

      Hi Danny – I hope you’re doing well! I know what you mean about the balance and routine issue (and not having your babies every single night). Divorce is tough in its own way, even if it’s for the best in some situations. I’d love to hear how you’re doing, either here or via email (, if you’re up for sharing. Your babies will benefit so much from your sobriety, I wish you the best. <3

    • Julio on May 4, 2019 at 7:59 pm

      Be strong and love yourself

      • Adam on May 3, 2020 at 5:25 am

        Thank you for the letter.
        I can relate fully to this.
        I’m in very early sobriety and fighting the demons everyday. Reading the letter and everyone’s comments is like looking into a mirror.
        Until tomorrow I will stay sober. And then tomorrow.

  12. Kelli on February 9, 2019 at 12:23 pm

    Love the letter …. that is great!! I have 45 days sober today & I can relate a lot to that letter.

  13. Blie_Skies79 on January 10, 2019 at 10:16 am

    It’s only day 5 of sobriety for me … This letter is amazing and well done for getting it out there x

  14. Shirley on July 15, 2018 at 8:17 am

    Hi caroline its tough and u can do it good days bad days but then u start getting more good days be kind to yourself give yourself a pat on the back when u ave got thru a difficult moment its 10 years since I’ve drank and I was bad u will realise what a very strong person u can be u will be faced with a lot of challenges but u ave the courage and willpower to get thru this keep in touch

  15. Shirley on July 15, 2018 at 8:15 am

    Hi caroline its tough and u can do it good days bad days but then u start getting more good days be kind to yourself give yourself a pat on the back when u ave got thru a difficult moment its 10 years since I’ve drank and I was bad u will realise what a very strong person u can be u will be faced with a lot of challenges but u ave the courage and willpower to get thru this keep in touch

  16. Anonymous on June 11, 2018 at 4:24 pm

    Time too start

  17. Lori on June 3, 2018 at 9:44 pm

    Oh and KEEP IT SIMPLE!!

  18. Carolina on June 1, 2018 at 9:30 pm

    Today is day 30 for me. I wish I could say I didn’t want a drink, but that would be a lie. I actually thought I may go and have one or two, but in my head I know that would not be possible as I would not be able to stop. I am missing this pacifier. I stumbled across your page and I am grateful that God lead me here to get me through my day 30. I have often heard it takes 90 days to form new habits and I so desperately want to set my goal to make it through 30 more and then maybe another 30. I recently went through the loss of both parents. They always watched after me and I know I was blessed with two awesome parents. My precious mother died three days after we buried my father and they were young at the ages of 72 and 73. I spent over a year solo trying to take care of both, hold down my job and get my daughter off to college. I was running on adrenaline 24/7. I feel I failed them although I know I did more than most would have done. It plagues me daily. Vodka straight out of the bottle was my comfort as I had no one to console me. I was alone. In my 30 days I have been able to start the grieving process, but it isn’t anough. I stopped on my own and detoxed my self alone. I am scared to go to AA as I’ am scared and ashamed. I’m trying……I truly am. Pleas pray for me. I need it terribly. Feeling alone in this world is not the greatest feeling, but it is just that. I can’t say I will be able to make it through day 31, but I will try and pray that God will not leave me too.

    • Lori on June 3, 2018 at 9:42 pm

      Hi I am what is called an “old timer” in the halls of AA and NA. Just happened across this page. I believe that everything happens for a reason ! And I mean EVERYTHING. I just had my 26th year anniversary Blessed Be. I am just trying to let Ya’ll know that you don’t ever have to look at recovery as forever. Only look at it as A DAY AT A TIME!. Trust and believe it is not always easy but always worth it. I have 5 Granbabies now that had I not been sober I never would have been allowed to be around. Chances are I probably would have list my own 2 children back in the day. Vodka straight out of a half gallon jug was my best friend at the time I got REAL. I am sending healing love and light along with strength to help you through. Believe that I believe!. Some days I have to take one minute at a time and say the serenity prayer over and over and what happens is I can make it through that whole day and wake up sober. I will pray for you.


      • Anonymous on June 3, 2018 at 9:43 pm

        Oh and KEEP IT SIMPLE!!

    • Ashley Ann on July 3, 2018 at 11:55 am

      Hi Carolina – I just now saw your comment and I hope you are doing well. I know this is hard. Whether you go to AA or not, I pray that you find peace and a support network. That can save your life. Saying “no” to alcohol, one day at a time, takes effort but it gets easier over time when other tools are used. Like Lori says in the comment below, and like I say in this post – one day at a time. That is a saying that people might roll their eyes at, but it has carried me through so, so many tough days. Just for today. Don’t stress about forever. Just today. I hope you’re doing well, whether you made it to day 31, or 60, or not. It’s never too late to improve and take care of yourself. Feel free to email me if you want to talk privately (and this time I should see it a lot sooner than a month later, yikes) – <3

    • Anonymous on September 19, 2018 at 1:06 pm

      Check out the book “this naked mind. “ and the Facebook group

    • Anonymous on February 18, 2019 at 8:28 am

      Hey, your not alone. I got sober at 60! I will pray for you.

  19. Anonymous on May 31, 2018 at 9:55 am

    THis is amazing and it’s stopped me tonight

  20. D on May 29, 2018 at 8:42 pm

    Im going to do this too. This is so so helpfull. Thankyou

    • David W on October 7, 2019 at 6:59 pm

      Absolutely love this letter! I can so relate to it in every way. Together we can do this. I need to hear others speak of this inner dialogue. I can not afford to fall for alcohols lies . 966 days sober!!! Thank you God !

  21. Manon on May 16, 2018 at 11:10 am

    I needed this badly today. With endless gratitude.

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Sitting on top of Pike's Peak in Colorado, a little over 2 years sober.

Hi! I'm Ashley, and my sobriety date is May 6, 2015. I write to share my experience, strength, and hope in recovery. On any given day, you can find me developing websites, writing, or chauffeuring kids around.  Read my story...

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