A major challenge that a recovering addict can face is grief. This grief can be occasioned by an unexpected tragedy, loss of a special person in life, or even the demise of an important dream. Grief comes in all manner of sizes and shapes. Even the most motivated people have a hard time staying on course when faced with overwhelming grief. Nevertheless, a recovering addict can face and deal with grief without necessarily relapsing.

Addiction and Grief Psychology

The desire to numb pain is natural to humans. When faced with grief or loss, most recovering addicts relapse as they try to use drugs to numb the pain. They use drugs trying to forget circumstances or turn off certain emotions.

Some addictive substances feel like a safety blanket when a recovering addict is faced with pain and confusion. Nevertheless, using drugs when faced with grief can mark a relapse. It can be a way of turning back to the life of an addict. Unfortunately, even using the addictive substance once can leave the recovering person with feelings of shame, guilt, anxiety, regret, and even more pain.

The recovering addict can ignore the experience they were enduring once when they sought free rehab centers due to their new, uncontrollable desire for more drugs to numb their pain. Consequently, this can take them back to the harmful addiction cycle.

Grief in Five Stages

Grief is a five-step journey. And, most people are familiar with these stages.

They are as follows:

  1. Denial – When you hear that a loved one has died, the news may seem unreal. This is a natural defense mechanism enacted by the mind to avoid shock.
  2. Anger – This can entail shifting blame. For instance, a person can feel angry at a healthcare provider instead of accepting the truth.
  3. Bargaining – At this step, a person can feel like they didn’t do enough for their loved ones. For instance, a person can feel like, had they done one little thing, or something different, their loved one wouldn’t have died. Self-blame can make a person that has received free drug addiction help use drugs to deal with their sad feelings.
  4. Depression – This entails dealing with feelings of sadness, deep worry, and regret. There is no time for this step but if the depression caused by grief lasts for too long, it can affect the entire life of a person.
  5. Acceptance – This step entails finding people or coming into terms with what happened or the reality. It’s accepting that everybody will die at some point and finding closure.

Everybody may look at the grieving journey differently. However, these are the common steps of grieving. Many people go through these steps as they try to find healing from their loss. Anger and depression steps can make overcoming grief difficult for individuals that are already battling addiction and they don’t want to relapse for perceived help. Nevertheless, people have different opinions.

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How to Face Grief in Drug-Free Ways

The most important thing a person that’s battling addiction and facing grief should know is that they are not alone. Additionally, they should know that addictive substances are not their only option. Here are drug-free ways to deal with grief:

  • Depending on the support system – Research has shown that peer support groups have numerous benefits for recovering addicts. It’s particularly important to lean into these groups or support system when facing grief. Naturally, a grieving person may want to keep their troubles to themselves. However, this is not the best way to deal with it. A good approach is reaching out to family, friends, and a support system. These will know the best way to help you overcome your grief.
  • Attending meetings regularly- Attending regular meetings may have decreased after the treatment program. However, when facing loss and grief, it’s crucial to be surrounded by a community that comprehends your struggles. Therefore, consistent meetings should be included in the schedule of a recovering addict that is faced with grief. What’s more, the sponsor that a person gets when undergoing free drug addiction treatment should also be involved.
  • Be Creative – Writing, music, and art provide great ways of letting our grief. These activities are great for individuals with creative streaks. They provide great ways of unpacking their experiences. They also help them process the pain they endure in healthy settings.
  • Sticking to Regular Food and Sleep Routines- Sleep and food can be further away from the mind of a grieving person. But, sticking to healthy routines is important for a person that is recovering from addiction even when grieving. Engaging in bedtime routines and meal prepping are great ways of sticking to routines. Seeking help from the people living nearby can also help.
  • Avoiding Triggers – It’s crucial to know and understand your triggers when faced with grief and you don’t want to relapse. It’s easy to avoid relapsing when you know things that can prompt you to use addictive substances. Therefore, pinpoint places, people, and situations that can act as your triggers. This will enable you to keep them at bay and focus on overcoming grief without them.
  • Take time to Grieve- It’s natural for any human being to mourn. Therefore, allow yourself time to feel pain for your loss. The pain that you go through can feel like something you can’t bear. However, this is a natural aspect of loss and mourning. Avoiding or numbing the pain by abusing substances will not make it disappear. You don’t want to go back to a free drug rehabilitation center. Therefore, the best way to get over it is taking time to grieve fully. If necessary, seek the help of a professional counselor to navigate through the grieving period in healthy ways.

The Bottom Line

Grief is an overwhelming feeling that everybody has to deal with at some point in life. The grieving period can last from days to even years. How one person deals with grief varies from the way another person deals with it. But, a person that has or is getting free addiction help can have a hard time trying to deal with grief without relapsing. That’s because they may be tempted to use addictive substances to numb the pain caused by grief. Nevertheless, following the tips highlighted here can help a recovering addict get over grief without relapsing.