For those who are in recovery, there are some things that are tougher than others to work through, while staying clean and sober. Unfortunately, one of the toughest emotions to deal with in life, at any time, is grief. People grieve over loved ones who pass away, loss of a spouse or a child, and much more. Dealing with grief during recovery can seem impossible. Most recovering addicts want to get drunk or high, just to drown out their feelings. If you want to prevent a relapse, you must learn how to battle grief in healthy ways.
The number one way to handle grief during your recovery from an addiction is to get support. You may have learned this while you were in 12 step rehab. Everyone needs to have a great support system during their recovery. When handling grief, it is even more important to have people who you can lean on. Call up your family and friends and let them know you need their help. Talk to the members of addiction recovery meetings and let them know what you are going through. They will understand and be there for you as well. Call your sponsor or get a sponsor if you don’t already have one. Getting support can let you know that people are there for you. You are not alone. You can either talk to these people about what you are going through, or you can have them sit with you while you grieve.
Admitting to Your Emotions
One of the reasons that many recovering addicts’ relapse while grieving is because they won’t admit to their emotions. They do everything in their power to hide what they are feeling and that only works for so long. If you want to stay clean and sober, you must admit to your emotions. You must admit that you need to grieve. You have lost something very important in your life and you need to work through it. It can be tough to admit this, but you aren't alone. If you need to seek the help of a professional to help you work through your emotions, there is no shame in that.
Remember Step 1
Step 1 of the 12 Steps is one you probably know well, but you might need a reminder. We admitted we were powerless over alcohol - that our lives had become unmanageable. If you can remember that you were powerless over alcohol, you know that drinking to handle your grief is not the answer. You must find other healthier ways to grieve. It may not seem like anything is going to make your feel better and that may be true. However, you know that alcohol is only going to make things much worse. You can’t hide your grief, you must learn to handle it.
If you need to grieve during your recovery from an addiction, you should get creative. You may not necessarily feel very creative at the time, but it can help. Get out some drawing pencils and start doodling in a notebook. Write a poem in a journal about your loss. Make something out of random craft items you have in your back room. Find creative ways to volunteer or give back to your community. Being creative can help your soul heal. It can help you to distract your mind and make you feel better about your worth in this world.
Battling grief in the midst of recovery can be one of the toughest things you ever have to do. You no longer have alcohol or drugs to turn to in moments when life gets tough. These substances are no good for you and they never were. Now, you can turn to healthy ways of coping with grief, instead of trying to bury it. Practicing meditation could help you to handle your grief. Meditation allows you to practice deep breathing, sit in the present moment, and release negativity from your mind. It helps you to improve your emotional health as well. If the thought of meditating during times of grief seems overwhelming, just start with something small. Pick a basic breathing technique and focus on practicing that one for now.
When you are in recovery, after dealing with a drug or alcohol addiction, there are some emotions that will be tough to handle. Grief is one of those emotions. However, now that you are in recovery, you know that drugs and alcohol aren’t the answer. You can practice healthier techniques for battling your grief. Getting support, admitting to your emotions, remembering Step 1, getting creative, and practicing meditation are all healthy ways of handling your grief. Try at least one of them the next time you are grieving. If that one doesn’t work as well as you would like, step to the next technique, until you find the one that helps you the most.