Sample Recovery Letters

The recovery letter can be addressed to someone recuperating from an illness, accident or surgery . . . or someone recovering from an addiction.

The writer and the recipient of the recovery letter are usually well-acquainted with each other. If you are the writer, your experience interacting with the person recuperating or recovering should serve as a compass pointing you in the right direction.

Sympathy is not the same as empathy. The letter must avoid patronizing the individual at all costs.

Humor is fine as long as you don't cross the line in the recipient's perception.

The recovery letter can be just a few, short sentences long or take up more than a page. It can be as short or long as you want it to be. When writing a recovery letter, write what you feel you must and is appropriate without bothering about the length of the letter. Would you restrict yourself to a certain number of words if you could be there in person?

That said, don't ramble on. Never lose sight of the recipient. Try to connect with the recipient using the power of the written word, not impress him with your vocabulary or writing skills.

You are writing a human being. So, write like one. What comes from the heart, goes to the heart.

[Date]

Dear [First name],

You can't imagine how upset I was to hear you had had another breakdown and are now back in rehab.

The rumors about you are so thick, you could cut them with a knife.

I know you have never given a damn about the gossipmongers. And as you know, neither have I.

I wonder what's eating a guy like you.

As long as I have known you, I have known you to be a poet, writer, philosopher, creative iconoclast, an hilarious impersonator, someone with a great sense of humor, and a lovable black sheep.

You have had breakdown after breakdown in the past 10 years or so. And I wonder why.

Is it something to do with your brain chemistry? We already know your "need for weed", as you put it so succinctly, has not helped matters.

I think you are too smart for your own good. I also think the problem lies in your habit of embracing the opinions of others—including the "enlightened" ones such as Osho—as your own.

Your inability to think beyond your own self may also have had a role to play in the situation you now find yourself in.

The last time we spoke, you sounded more saner than I have ever known you to be. Was it because your mom had been diagnosed with cancer just weeks before?

I am glad she has made a full recovery and your brother and your sister-in-law drop in on her every now and then.

No matter what I or others may say about you and despite what you think of yourself, I want you to know I will always respect and love you.

Take care of yourself.

Until we meet again . . .

[Signature]

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