3 Little Words
November 15, 2014
Kindness: Where Has It Gone?
November 27, 2014
3 Little Words
November 15, 2014
Kindness: Where Has It Gone?
November 27, 2014

Grief Reactions and Addiction Recovery

People have a hard time believing that for those people in recovery this is a lot to grieve.  An activity (drinking, sex, drug use, shopping, gambling) that has been a major focus (daily for most) of their lives in now something they can never do again.  The main comfort they have had is now gone and their live has to adjust to a new “normal”.  This is huge and people feel extremely vulnerable during these early months.  Ego strength is low and coping skills few.

Grief, being a universal emotion, can arise any time a person loses someone or something they value.  To add to that grief is the knowledge of how much they have lost due to their addiction.

Here are just a few examples of the losses people experience:

  • The drug itself and the sense of relief it provided
  • The support system usually made up of other addicts
  • Time spent in the active seeking out or use of the drug
  • People, place and things that made up the ritual of using
  • Finding out how much one missed during the time of using (children growing up; marriages; careers; homes; etc.)
  • Sense of self
  • Dreams and goals for the future

Symptoms of grieving which often occur include:

  • Feeling that emotions are out of control
  • Crying at unexpected times
  • Hopelessness about the future
  • Difficulty with concentration and thinking
  • Trouble with sleep and appetite
  • Empty feelings along with loneliness
  • Missing people, places, things
  • Hypersensitivity to what others say and do

These grief responses are all NATURAL AND NORMAL!

It is important to accept the reality of the loss, to work through the emotions, to adapt to the “new normal” and to find a way to regain a solid sense of self.  Recognize that recovery takes time and will not provide instant relief.  The process, however, will be rewarding and the fresh start for your life a gift.

“Sobriety is its own reward.”  — Anonymous


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