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How to Deal with the Death of a Family Member

A woman hugs her friend.
Sometimes just being there to listen is the best way to help a loved one who is grieving.

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One of the biggest struggles for someone new to recovery is learning to live in the moment — instead of avoiding it through drugs or alcohol.

That’s why the death of a loved one can be especially painful and challenging to those who are newly sober. They’re just beginning to get a handle on their coping skills—and may not be prepared to work through such a devastating loss.

At a time like this, knowing how to support your friend or family member is more important than ever.

Coping with Death While in Recovery

The most important message to convey is that your loved one needs to feel this loss.

There’s an old anonymous proverb that tells us, “Pain is inevitable. Suffering is optional.”

We suffer when we experience grief alone, attempting to “be strong” for others. We begin to work through our grief when we allow ourselves to release it.

That can happen with friends or family, in a support group or even with a therapist. The priority is to ensure that coping with grief does in fact happen.

Take time just to listen to your loved one. Encourage them to open up and tell you how they feel. Make sure they understand it’s not just OK to grieve; it’s a necessary step in the healing process.

Carrying on with Life Through Grief

In treatment, your loved one learned how important it is to practice self-care. That includes eating right, exercising, getting enough sleep and taking time to engage in hobbies or interests.

Encourage your loved one to carry on with these routines as much as possible, stressing how important they are in processing the many emotions that come with loss.

Hope and Healing at The Raleigh House

At The Raleigh House, located in Denver, we offer individual therapy, group counseling and family counseling. There are also a wide variety of opportunities to heal both mentally and physically, including yoga classes, a climbing wall and art and music therapy. Interested in learning more? Fill out our form or contact us today to get additional information on the treatment programs at The Raleigh House.

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