Grief is a part of life, and you will continue to experience events that cause you to feel loss and grief throughout your life. Unfortunately, you don't always get to experience tragedy at a time in your life when you feel the strongest and most able to deal with it. In early recovery, dealing with loss can cause you to lose your focus.
Grief, like anger and resentment, blocks us from the sunlight of the spirit. Becoming too immersed in our despair and hopelessness can lead to a loss of sobriety or, at the very least, reverting to some old bad habits. Here are 5 tips to help you deal with loss in sobriety so you can use your experience to find your own strength and come out stronger, so you can help others when they go through the same thing.
Acknowledge and accept your pain.
The first step to dealing with any problem is accepting it. One of the worst addicts do for themselves is to deny their own feelings while they are actively using. Learning to accept your feelings and really experience them for the first time will help you start to heal from a lifetime of ignoring your own feelings.
Understand the stages of grief.
It is normal to go through the five stages of grief after any big loss, including divorce, losing an important job, or the death of a loved one. The five stages, according to a process outlined by Swiss-American psychiatrist Elizabeth Kubler-Ross, are denial, anger, bargaining, depression, and acceptance.
When the five stages were originally introduced, Kubler-Ross applied them to the process individuals go through when they learn that they are dying. People go through the same basic stages when they go through a loss, but the process isn't as linear. There is no correct way to grieve, and you might find yourself angry when you wake up, depressed as you go about the day, and then in denial as the day closes. It is all right to let yourself go through all those feelings until you get to the end stage, which is acceptance.
Ask for help.
Talk to your sponsor, and let your home group know that you are going through something. Let your friends and family know that you need to talk or just spend time with them. Join an online support group, see a psychologist, or do whatever else you need to do to get through this time. There is no shame in letting people know that you are suffering and letting them help you.
Express your feelings.
Be creative. Write in a journal, sing, paint a picture, or do something else that will allow you to express your feelings. Expressing yourself creatively can help you experience your feelings in a way that can help you start healing.
Take care of yourself.
Eat regular, healthy meals, exercise, and lie down for eight hours every night. You may have trouble sleeping but you still need to rest. All these habits that you are forming in sobriety will help you get through other tough times, as there are bound to be some. Once you learn to live in the light, it will be easier to see that you are in the place you are meant to be right now.