Grief is hard for anyone and it can be a disaster for someone in recovery. Grief is typically associated with the death of someone close, but it can also be caused by other traumatic events, such as a car accident, an assault, a burglary, or a breakup. Grief means coming to terms with an irreparable loss. If that loss is great, the pain may be intense and it might lead to depression. It’s easy to start using again when you’re grieving. Here are some ways to prevent relapsing in the face of grief.
Accept the situation.
As hard as it is to accept when something bad happens, refusing to accept it is actually much more stressful and prolongs your suffering. When you accept a bad situation, you can start to deal with it.
The important thing is not trying to avoid feeling bad. One way or another, you’re going to feel bad. If you let yourself feel bad early on, you will feel better in the long run. Observe what you’re feeling and accept that it’s normal to feel that way. Try not to project into the future, but instead just live one day at a time.
Talk to someone.
Don’t try to weather grief alone. Call a friend or your sponsor. Talk to a therapist. Go to meetings and share what’s going on. Let people help you. The last thing you want is to feel like you’re going through something painful without support.
Write about what you’re feeling.
Keeping a journal can help you process your emotions and feel more in control. Spend a little time every day describing how you feel as specifically as possible. Articulating our feelings gives us more control over them.
Find and anchor.
When your world has been shaken, it’s normal to feel disoriented. Look for ways to stay connected to your life, whether that means getting back into your normal routine as quickly as possible, staying in touch with supportive people, going to meetings, or any other activity that helps you orient yourself.
Get plenty of sleep.
Lack of sleep has been linked to anxiety, depression, and suicidal thoughts. Everything is harder when you’re tired. Getting enough sleep in times of grief is crucial. Unfortunately, grief can also make it hard to sleep. You may have to look into some drug-free ways to sleep better. Cognitive behavioural therapy can help, as well as exercise during the day, and healthy sleep habits. Talk to your doctor or therapist if you can’t sleep and make sure your doctor knows about your addiction history.