An open letter: It’s hard to watch you struggle with addiction

Our birthdays are this month, and you’re going to be around to celebrate.

I’ve forgiven you for the numbers of birthdays you’ve missed, and I need you to know this. I don’t want you to believe that I hate you (even if I’ve said it a million times) or that I blame you. All I want from you is to read this letter and gain a deeper understanding of what it’s been like to love you.

I’ve always loved you; you’re my best friend.

I realize that I love you differently than anyone else. I heard someone say “I love him, but not the person he’s become, the addict,” and at first I agreed. But I thought about our relationship, and it’s been rocky but I’ve never loved you any less.

I’ve loved you harder, and I’ve loved you for the exact person you are, whether it’s “the addict” or not. I’d never take a second of it back, but I pray that you never have to love someone this way.

Loving you is hard. It’s hard to watch you struggle with addiction, and not be able to take it all away. It’s hard to watch you do drugs, but it’s even harder to ask you to stop. It’s hard to hold you while lying in a hospital bed in pain from withdrawals, but it would be even harder to leave. It’s hard to give you things you may ask for knowing you’re using them for the wrong reasons, but it’s harder to tell you no.

Loving you is confusing. I’m so mad at the decisions you make, but I can’t be mad at you. I cry myself to sleep every night and curse the situation, but never you.

Loving you is living in fear. Every time I get a knock at the door, or hear my phone ring my heart skips a beat. I’m scared of who’s on the other side and what they have to tell me… Are you alive? Are you in trouble? These things instantly take over my mind.

Loving you is living with insomnia. How am I supposed to sleep when I don’t know where you are? Have you eaten? Are you cold? Do you even have a bed to sleep in? When is the last time you even slept?

Loving you is so many things. But of all of them, the most important is it’s worth it.

You’re worth it, and I’m proud of the person you are.

About Quinlan Jones

I am a 20-year-old college student and currently a senior at Tarleton State University studying within the Social Work Program. After graduation I plan to continue to receive my graduate degree as well as receive my LCDC, License Chemical Dependency Counselor. I want to specify in Drug and Substance Abuse Counseling.


  1. Very profound Quinlan! I am so proud of you. You just can’t imagine. Your letter hit home with me as I know it did with many others. I lived with and loved my older sister as she struggle with prescription drug addiction. I wanted so much to help her but she couldn’t help herself. I often wonder if it was the drugs that brought about the bursting of a brain annurism that took her life at the age of forty. I will never know for sure. I love you Quinlan Jones. I could nevet have asked for a better granddaughter.

  2. Quinlan, your words touched my heart. So many of us are living with addiction, whether it is with ourselves or someone we love so much. Thank you for putting it in writing for us to have:) You are so very wise for your young age.

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