Grief and Loss During Recovery

Grief and Loss During Recovery

Articles, Australia, Education, International, LGBTQ, Malaysia, Treatment, Understanding Addiction, United Kingdom, United States

Recovery is a difficult process. When entering recovery you may spend some time in an in-patient facility and be very routine and scheduled, but eventually you must get back to the real world. Hopefully when you do you will be better equipped to handle whatever life throws your way, but there are some things that no one can prepare for in life. If you are in recovery and someone passes away then it may be tempting to deal with the pain by going back to your addiction. Death is a stressful occurrence and stress is very likely to lead to relapse if the person is not prepared. If you experience grief and loss during recovery there are some things that can help you cope and stay strong in the recovery process.

Additionally, grief is not limited to death. Any situation that causes you to feel overwhelmed and helpless can result in trauma, even if no physical harm occurs.

When grief and loss does occur in recovery, your subjective emotional experiences determine how you feel about the given event. This can produce many emotions and reactions. The symptoms of traumatic shock are different for everyone, but include shock, disbelief, anger, mood swings, fatigue, fear, muscle tension, insomnia, and many more. Each person will experience this type of trauma differently. Unfortunately this is when many turn back to their addictions in order to escape what is happening. This does not really create an escape, but does dull the pain that is being felt. This is not helpful, especially if you are trying to stay away from your addiction of choice. As part of recovery we must face traumatic events head on in order to be able to move forward. Fortunately, once the trauma is resolved than it no longer holds the same importance it did.

To deal with these traumatic happenings we must explore them. This is often done as part of individual therapy. While the current grief and loss or traumatic events should be the focus as the past needs to stay in the past. Many will also need to work through the trauma that lead up to addiction. There are a few basic tips that can be applied to all situations, but specifics will need to be discussed with your support system and therapist.

One way that all trauma can be helped is by focusing on the positive. Trauma, grief and loss in the past has likely made you stronger and taught you various lessons. Though these were tough lessons to learn, you will never need to relearn them. Take the strength inside you and use it to create long term recovery. Learn to take care of yourself. Part of recovery is putting your needs first. This does not mean you should isolate yourself or be completely selfish, but it does mean that your personal care and well-being must be moved to the forefront. Dealing with trauma can be exhausting so you need to practice good self-care. Take time to relax and unwind each day. Also make sure you are getting some exercise. Trauma often brings on depression and this can be combatted with self-care, rest, talking it out, and if necessary, medication.

No matter what, remember that if you do stumble you can get back up and start again. As long as you do not quit you can end up successful. The key point to remember is that once the trauma is resolved it does not hold the same importance as before. You are free to move on in life and recovery. So don’t let your life’s trauma continue controlling your life, get started today.

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Anne -

Anne Lazarakis joined the DARA Rehab team from Sydney, Australia. She writes about addiction and mental health on a global, local and community level. She also relays personal accounts of substance abuse and recovery through the stories of our clients, their families and our own team members.

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