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Feeling Loss, But Not Lost: Overcoming Alcohol and Drug Dependency

greiving-addictionDeciding to make a change is one of the greatest gift you can give yourself and those who love you. An overwhelming sense of pride come from watching someone you love struggling with drug and alcohol dependence finally seek help. But for someone who has been dependent on drugs and/or alcohol for quite some time, the shift to sober living can make one feel a sense of loss, rather than pride. Taking the first step and seeking the help of an addiction program can be overwhelming as you’re not only giving up a substance, but you’re also deciding to make a drastic lifestyle change.

Learning How to Cope: The 5 Stages of Grief in Drug and Alcohol Dependence

Change is hard for everyone, especially when it is met with a sense of finality. The closing of this chapter of your life, a chapter so intimate and personal, is now gone. It’s easy to see how saying goodbye to this part of your life could be seen as similar to saying goodbye to a loved one. It’s normal to be sad. It’s normal to be angry. And in order for someone to find closure and have a greater chance of lifelong recovery from alcohol and drug dependency, a grieving process is necessary.

The 5 Stages of Grieving is a coping technique prescribed to those suffering from any kind of loss, be it the loss of a loved one or something else we hold dear in our life. When suffering from drug and alcohol dependency, your process of grieving will be just as unique as the way you became addicted in the first place. You may find yourself skipping some stages. You may find yourself on some stages longer than others. You won’t necessarily experience grief in this order—and that’s okay. Grieving is a very rich and personal experience and there is no right or wrong way to do so. However, only when you come to accept your lifestyle change for what it is—a true life-changing experience—will you be successful in your road to recovery.

  • Denial and isolation – Denying we even have an addiction or withdrawing from loved ones who are concerned and want to talk about it.
  • Anger – Intense or self-pitying, many people who experience an extreme loss become angry and want to blame others and themselves.
  • Bargaining – Looking for loopholes and excuses to make the addiction seem okay and controllable.
  • Depression – An overwhelming type of sadness and hopelessness is often felt when the person suffering from loss realizes an uncertain future.
  • Acceptance – Once we can admit to ourselves the reality that surrounds us, then can we begin the recovery process.

Grieving On Your Terms

Everyone is going to experience grief differently. Making sure you experience it on your terms will not only help make the process easier, but it will also help you find the sense of closure you’re seeking. An addiction treatment center can help you with all five stage of grieving, or with just one. They can be your support system as someone to talk to or a drug rehab center can take a more active role in your recovery. However you decide to begin your road to recovery, make sure you’re comfortable with the process and make sure it’s on your terms.

***If you or someone you know is experiencing addiction to drugs or alcohol, you’re not alone. There are many roads to recovery and getting in touch with a professional is the first step. Contact The Raleigh House to start your journey today.

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