This is part-three in a three-part series about overcoming grief in recovery. In parts one and two, we talked about how the loss of a loved one is especially difficult for those in recovery and we discussed the five stages of grief. Now, we’re going to give you some helpful tips about how to undertake the grieving process without relapsing.
# 1 – Give Yourself Permission To Grieve The Loss of a Loved One
One of the most important things you can do while you are dealing with the loss of a loved one is to give yourself permission to grieve. Many people don’t do this. They try to push away their sadness and disbelief. They try to will away their pain or stuff it down and bottle it up inside. This is not effective when trying to overcome grief.
Tell yourself, “I give myself permission to grieve. I recognize this is going to be a painful process and it is going to take some time. I will honor my thoughts and feelings as I come to accept the loss I am experiencing.”
Doing this is a personal acknowledgement of your current state of being and a demonstration of your commitment to stay in recovery while you grieve.
#2 – Feel Your Feelings Without Trying To Escape Them
Grief is painful. There is no way around this unfortunate fact of life. No one wants to experience the gut-wrenching sadness, anger, bewilderment, and confusion that accompany the loss of a loved one. However; feeling feelings is a necessary component to overcoming grief.
Many people relapse during the grieving process because they want to escape the pain – not realizing that using drugs or alcohol or acting out sexually will only make the pain worse. While you will certainly want to escape the pain of loss, the only way to overcome it is to walk through it, feel it, and continue to confront it until it subsides.
# 3 Build A Support System
While no one can take your pain away from you or feel it for you, you can find great comfort in a support system. Surrounding yourself with people who care about you will ensure that you don’t become overwhelmed with loneliness and desperation as you undergo the grieving process.
It may be a good idea to join a grief support group so you can share your experience and find strength in the company of other grieving people. You may even consider seeing a therapist to guide you through the stages of grief. Having people in your life you can lean on while you reorient yourself to your new reality will help you stay committed to your recovery program.
#4 Keep Your Routine
When you are confronted with the loss of a loved one, it may seem like you can’t go on with life. You may feel like you are falling apart and simply cannot deal with the responsibilities of daily living. However; it is important to keep up with your daily routine. Go to work or school. Continue to maintain self-care like taking a shower, brushing your teeth, etc. Eat properly. Maintain your household. Exercise. Do what you can to take care of yourself and focus on your mental, physical, emotional and spiritual well-being. Maintaining a daily routine will help keep you grounded.
Remember, Grief Doesn’t Last Forever – It Will Pass
Although the grieving process can feel like it will never end, it will. Sure, there will always be an empty spot in your life where your loved one used to be. You will always miss them. But, you will become accustomed to the fact that they are gone and you will move into acceptance. The tears and the pain will subside. Life will go on.
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