Losing someone you love dearly can be one of the most difficult things to go through as a human being.
Experiencing this type of loss brings with it a range of overwhelming emotions broken up into different stages. Just some of these include sadness, anger, confusion, resentment, and even relief if a loved one has been suffering. In a nutshell, these emotions are grouped under one term: grief. It has many faces, all of which are 100% valid.
If you’re on a journey of recovery and committed to a life of sobriety, processing grief comes with a mountain of challenges. Here’s a helpful guide on coping with grief in recovery…
Coping in sobriety is a challenge all on its own- you have to learn how to live and maintain a completely new way of life. Recovery from addiction is an ongoing journey- so what happens when a curveball is thrown in your path, such as losing someone you love?
Coping with loss without jeopardizing your sobriety is completely achievable, here are 9 tips to help you along the way:
The weight of your loss cannot be measured against anyone else’s. Your grief is your own- but this doesn’t mean you can’t turn to others for help. What it does mean is that you are allowed to take your time to grieve and accept your feelings.
One of the best ways of moving on from grief is to take in what you are feeling and feel it- the good, the bad, and the ugly. Then move on. Yes, this process takes time and patience. Be kind to yourself and you will notice your grief dissipating over time.
As a recovering addict, your commitment to your treatment program is vital during a time of grief. While you may not feel like sharing or talking, it’s important to be consistent with attending meetings. Visiting your recovery therapist during this time could also help.
Going to meetings offers you a support network many other people may not have. It will help to change your focus, open up your mind and reconnect with your treatment principles. Remember that these principles can be of service to you as your process your loss.
When processing a loss you may want to completely isolate yourself and hide from the rest of the world. While this attitude is understandable and even acceptable in the beginning stages of grief, it’s not a healthy long-term plan.
It’s super important to get out and connect with positive people. Whether it’s a short coffee date, walk in the sunshine, or long chat in the park- seek out positive, supportive friends and family during this time. It will help you to gain some much-needed perspective and clarity.
The truth of the matter is that you are extra vulnerable after the loss of a loved one – and most especially if you are a recovering addict. With this in mind, it’s important to remove yourself from other types of situations that could trigger addictive behavior.
In short, now is not the best time to test out your sobriety. Instead, surround yourself with positive influences, positive people, and positive situations. Avoid things that make you feel uncomfortable, unhappy, or extra vulnerable. Now is the time to put your own needs first.
Loss of appetite during a period of grief is extremely common. And this may not only relate to food but also a loss of appetite for your own life. You may lose all sense of motivation and slip into poor eating and sleeping habits while avoiding exercise or your favorite hobbies. The reality is that this only compounds your chances of relapse.
Try to stick to a healthy regime that involves whole foods, plenty of sleep, outdoor activities, and a little bit of exercise. All of these factors combined will help to boost your mental state. If you need help or motivation, ask your family or friends to coordinate their mealtimes with yours or enlist a friend to workout with you.
Now is not the time to shy away from a little extra support when you need it. Don’t be afraid to ask for help- even if it’s for simple things like grocery shopping. A little bit of help goes a long way.
Try and be as specific as possible when asking for help too, ultimately this will ensure your needs are being met. And when the time is right, make sure you express your gratitude to those who were there for you when you needed it the most.
If you’re feeling a little fed up with yourself and want to think about helping others for a little while, then volunteering your time is a great way to do this. It’s also a fantastic way of boosting your own sense of self-worth, switching you into a more positive mindset.
Look for volunteer opportunities at your local church, ask friends and family if they need help with anything. Giving back adds value to your life, which in turn can help you manage your grief better.
Another great way to inject some positivity into your life is by setting yourself a new goal. Map out a path on how you’ll achieve it and work at it a little bit every day. It’s important to choose a goal that really resounds with who you are, and something that’s achievable in a relatively short space of time. Go for something you can achieve in less than 60-days. This may be something small like meditating every day for 20-minutes, achieving a certain yoga pose, or running 5-miles, etc.
Get your creative juices flowing (and your emotions) by picking up a new hobby, but make sure it’s something that allows for creativity. It may sound a little cliché, but creative expression is a brilliant means of expressing emotion, without having to speak. This could include simple tasks such as journal writing, painting, drawing, cooking or gardening.
Whether you have a family member or friend who is struggling with addiction, our treatment facility in San Clemente offers world-class recovery facilities to help them find their way back to a happy life. Coping with addiction can be extremely taxing on loved ones and friends, at Tres Vistas Recovery, we are here to help everyone through. Learn more about our programs here.