How to Deal with Grief Without Using When You Are a Recovering Addict
You have taken the first steps on your path to recovery and entered an alcohol and drug addiction treatment program. Everything seems to be progressing okay, with good and bad days, yet you are working hard to remain clean and sober. Then, out of nowhere, something tragic happens.
For most recovering addicts, facing grief head-on can be very emotional and painful. It could even trigger a relapse if addicts feel so overwhelmed and consumed by grief that they need an escape by using drugs to console themselves. They might believe they can get away with just using once and they won’t relapse, only to find themselves in the throes of full-blown addiction all over again.
Grief in itself, is a natural emotion all of us will experience at different times in our lives; it could be caused by numerous tragedies, including but not limited to:
- The death of a loved one.
- The death of a well-loved pet.
- The termination of a long-standing relationship with a significant other, or even ending a friendship.
- Facing sudden diagnosis of a chronic illness.
- Unwanted pregnancy, loss of a pregnancy, or experiencing a stillbirth.
- Being terminated from a job.
- A child leaving the parent’s home, such as the loss of full custody, or when a child leaves to go to college many miles away.
- Financial troubles and mounting debts.
- Being evicted from your apartment or being notified of foreclosure on your home.
Rather than let your addiction get the better of you while you are experiencing grief, there are several things you can do to help prevent a relapse:
- Talk to your substance abuse counselor. Your counselor is there to listen to you and provide support and guidance during this difficult time. You can even turn to friends and family members for added support.
- Don’t suppress your feelings and emotions. The worst thing people can do during grief is to suppress what they are feeling. Let your emotions out and express how you feel. Doing so will help you deal with your grief in a positive manner.
- Maintain a schedule of regular support meetings. Do not skip going to your recovery meetings, counseling sessions, and individual and group therapy sessions. Each of these meetings allows you to open up and express your pain and the struggles you are facing.
- Keep friends and family members close. It can be beneficial to have a close friend or family member stay with you while you grieve. Simply having someone around that you can sit with, cry on the shoulder of, or talk to can be a big help.
- Practice yoga or meditation to help focus. Yoga and meditation could help you focus on your emotions and resist the temptation to relapse. There are even smartphone apps that focus on meditation and anxiety relief.
- Find a creative outlet to channel your emotions. You could write how you feel in a journal, paint, garden, or do something that keeps you occupied while working through the stages of grief.
- Accept help from others. Friends and family might offer much-appreciated assistance or guidance; examples include cooking, cleaning, or simply offering a listening ear. It is okay to lean on them while grieving and let them help.
If you are experiencing grief and are a recovering addict, Retreat Premier Addiction Treatment Centers is here to help you through your difficult time. Please feel free to contact us at (855) 859-8808 today – we are available 24/7 on our helpline.