A Letter to My 10-Year-Old Self from a Person in Recovery

If you could advise your 10-year-old self, what advice would you give?

Posted Mar 01, 2021 | Reviewed by Kaja Perina

Florian Klauer/UnSplash
If you were able to give advice to your younger self what advice would you give?
Source: Florian Klauer/UnSplash

Throughout my life, I have often wondered if I made all the correct choices in my lifetime. I was once asked by someone as to what advice I would give to my 10-year-old self. Growing up can be challenging, and there are so many obstacles we face. If you could write a letter to your childhood self, would it be a handbook of survival, a missive of near misses? Or a soul-lifting celebration of triumph over adversity? 

As an individual who is in long-term recovery, I think that this is more relevant than ever before. The following letter is what I came up with.

Dear Michael,

I know that this will be the strangest letter that you will ever read in your life. The reason that I say this is that I am the future version of you. I felt compelled to write this to you as a guide that will help you throughout your lifetime. A lot of things have happened since 1979.  There are going to be choices that you will make that are positive, there will be choices that are negative and there will be those choices that will challenge the very fabric of your own existence.

The path that you are currently on has certainly taken its twists and turns (don’t worry, this one won’t make you motion sick), but has turned you into the man that you are today. You will become an individual who has been able to make a difference in the lives you interact with.

One of the wonderful choices that you have made is getting married to your wonderful wife, Julie.  You just celebrated 25 years of marriage to each other and have been there for a lot of ups and downs in your life together. Has it always been perfect? No, but no matter what, you were always willing to work through the challenges in life.

You are a father to five children that you and your wife decided to adopt to work to give them a better life. You will adopt three boys and two girls. It has not always been the easiest of paths that you have taken in life. Nor has it been the easiest path for them. There will be pain as you will lose your youngest daughter to the tragedy of suicide. You will feel as you are to blame and there will be times that you feel that others are blaming you as well. As painful as all of this is, you can and will get through it.

You will become a grandfather to an adorable little boy. My advice to you is to be there as much as possible, to be there to love and support him and his mother. As much as you want to be able to spoil the little fella, just remember that the decisions that are to be made about his life are to be made by his parents. Always be there to pass along your wisdom and your experience to help them both through life.

One of the things that will happen to you in life is that you become addicted to alcohol. I wish that this were something that had not happened in your life, but that is not the case. You spend about five years battling this demon and this is something that nearly took your life.

One of the proudest things that you will be able to say is that you have maintained nearly 30 years of being sober. What I mean is that you have not drunk any alcohol during that time. It is something that is considered being in long-term recovery. I know that you do not understand this at your young age. This is something that will help define who you are as an individual. One of the things that you are able to say is that none of your children have ever seen you at your lowest point in active addiction.

Has your path to recovery always been easy? Absolutely not! There were several times throughout the past 30 years that you nearly gave in to your demons of wanting to drink. Especially after the death of your mother and daughter. Always remember that going back to the pit of despair will not erase the pain but will only enhance it. I am proud to say that you were able to overcome these pitfalls in your life.

Your experiences have led you to be able to help others when it comes to battling their own demons of addiction. You can let them know that even though you have not used in nearly 30 years, you relate to the struggles they have gone through. Continue to help as many as you can so that they are able to live a better life as well.

You have been able to share your experiences through writing about your recovery and you have published this experience in a book and through your blog. My hope for you is that 10000 Days Sober-My 27 plus year journey in long term recovery along with your blog will be able to help others throughout the world who are still striving to deal with their own battles.

This is just a small but what I feel is a vital part of our lives. Remember that no matter what happens in life, a lifetime of recovery is better than a day of addiction.


Michael Rounds (Your Future Self)

Taking Recovery One Day at a Time (10,650 Days and Counting)

© Michael J. Rounds 10,000 Days Sober