Facing Grief and Loss in Recovery

Bereavement, better known as grief and mourning that occurs after death, happens more often than any of us would like during our journey of recovery. Death seems to be attached to the concept of addiction. We grieve the substances we once used, those we’ve lost to the disease of addiction, and the person we were during active addiction. It is difficult enough to cope with death with the proper support system and coping skills, but when we add in the fact that drugs and alcohol were numbing us for so long prior to our recovery, facing grief can be even scarier.

Stages of Grief

Bereavement can be demonstrated as a mental, physical, social or emotional response. Emotional states can be those of irritation, blaming oneself, nervousness, depression, and hopelessness. Some physical response includes trouble sleeping, feeling hungry, overeating, and physical health conditions arising.

Grief has no specific timeline. Just because someone we know is suddenly seeming okay after the passing of a loved one does not mean that another individual will also be fine at the exact same time. There is nothing wrong with this. Often people go between stages of grief in varied forms and may even fall back to a previous phase or skip a stage.

According to Elizabeth Kübler-Ross, there are five stages of grief: Facing Grief and Loss in Recovery

  1. Denial may happen whether we chose for it to or not. We may avoid the reality of the situation, any truths or data that reminds us of our loved one’s passing. This is normal, so do not despair when you go through denial after death. This stage is a way for us to handle the fact that a loved one is no longer on this earth with us.
  2. Anger may be demonstrated onto yourself or towards others in your life. This is especially true for how we may react to those who are close to us. If you are one of the unlucky recipients of anger, staying detached and not judging the individual is advised.
  3. Bargaining, or a negational stage, may be experienced by you. This could be through prayer, silent wishes, or even out loud to others in our life. We may ask for it to be us who is taken instead of the person has passed away. We may bargain through words such as “I’ll be good if you…” or any other bartering options.
  4. Depression is also known as “preparatory grieving” and demonstrates that you are no longer in denial over the death of your loved one. Anxiety, questioning, unhappiness, and remorse may occur during this phase.
  5. Acceptance occurs when there is a level of emotional disengagement and objectivity regarding death. Please note that you can reach this stage and still revert to a previous stage.

Discovery Place: A Great Place to Find the Support You Need for Your Sobriety

Loved ones, including those you met in 12-step groups, family, friends, co-workers, and your own faith can be wonderful support systems for you during bereavement. Unfortunately, grief is a stressor, and stressors can sometimes lead to relapses. At Discovery Place in Burns, Tennessee, we understand the importance of a good support network. Our alternative drug and alcohol rehab provides you with an environment that fosters emotional, physical, and spiritual wellbeing. Alumni-volunteers take on leadership roles as both mentors and as friends. We are committed to affordable services. Call us today at 1-800-725- 0922 to allow us to aid you through this journey.

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