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How Do I Handle Grief and Loss in Recovery Without Relapsing?

Coping with loss and grief is never easy, particularly when you are in a vulnerable state. Recovery is a delicate time, depending on how far you are in the journey, but at any point life’s circumstances can send you reeling. Relapse is always possible but you can handle it better with the right perspective, and some support, on the journey of coping with loss.

Loss in Recovery

After you return home from rehab, everything seems brand new. Life is not the same as before, yet it is the same. You have changed, even when it feels like nothing else has changed. Perhaps you are attending group meetings, focusing on sobriety, and healing broken relationships. It can only take one slip to send you back to drinking or using drugs as a way of coping, so it is a delicate balance that first year. The old coping mechanisms are still there, not yet replaced by better, more efficient ways of dealing with hardship. Grief is hard for everyone, but when you are newly sober, the first thing you want to do is drink or use drugs when things get tough. It is important to stay focused on what you learned in rehab and through treatment to help you get through the stages of grief with recovery intact.

Remember What Matters

It can help to take a walk and think through things when you first process the news of a loved one passing away. When you were under the influence of drugs or alcohol, you likely felt little to nothing because that is how you wanted it. Numbing the pain was a way to cope with life, but now you are sober and feeling everything. The emotions and physical sensations of grief are going to be a shock at first but it is better to feel than not feel anything at all. When you play back all the memories of time spent with your loved one, it can bring so many emotions flooding into your consciousness. Just remember:

  • You are in control of your recovery
  • Reach out for help from support groups, friends, and loved ones
  • Let yourself feel it without numbing
  • Find an alternative release (journaling, exercise, yoga, meditation)

The last thing you want to do is slip back into old habits before you even give the new ones time to sink in. There is a lot to be thankful for, so focus on gratitude for the time you had with your loved one and let yourself process the grief in a safe, supportive space with others who understand. This will help you navigate your way through the coming days, weeks, and months as you focus on recovery while grieving the loss.

Serenity understands grief in recovery is a difficult journey. If you are struggling to cope with grief, addiction, and recovery, let us help. Our programs and services are tailor made to help you deal with life’s ups and downs more effectively. Call us 24/7 at our toll-free number: 866-294-9401