How Do You Cope With Grief When Recovering From Addiction?

Have you accepted addiction as an issue and worked towards eliminating substance abuse from your life? Then, it shows your determination and strength. 

On its own, recovering from addiction is challenging but attainable. However, things can change after getting the news of your loved one’s demise, leading to a possible relapse. 

To some, handling grief without relapsing can sometimes seem impossible. All you want is to drown your anger, frustration, anxiety, and sadness in alcohol and drugs. Hence, sobriety is hard to maintain during such times. 

However, there are ways to stop you from relapsing while grieving during addiction recovery. In this blog, we will discuss ways to stay sober and other aspects related to grief and addiction. 

Why Does Grief Lead To Relapse?

Approximately 21 million Americans have an addiction. Statistics suggest that 40% to 60% of these individuals undergoing addiction recovery will relapse because of stress, depression, and pain. 

Technically, you can develop depression, anxiety, and stress while dealing with grief. That means these emotions can become triggers for a relapse. 

Dealing with a loved one’s death without relying on drugs or alcohol might become especially hard for those undergoing rehab. You are more likely to relapse during the mourning period if you have a history of substance abuse. Hence, you can’t resist the urge to use substances to cope with this emotional turmoil.

You might use alcohol and drugs to numb your emotions and feel worry-free for a short period. However, this won’t take away the pain of losing someone. Instead, it’ll only affect your addiction recovery progress. Remember, you cannot escape grief through substance abuse, so you must find ways to deal with it. 

Who Can Help You Deal With Grief at Rehab Facilities?

Talking to your loved ones about your current emotional situation can help. However, the best way to deal with grief and avoid relapsing is to consult a professional. You can hire a grief counselor if you’re recovering from addiction at home. 

However, coping can become easier if you are already at a rehab facility. Then, your rehab nurses will be in charge of helping you deal with the loss of your loved one. They will create a comfortable and safe environment where you can communicate your emotions. 

Reports suggest these nurses are trained to have active and non-judgemental listening skills. Hence, they will encourage you to speak openly about your honest feelings. 

Some of these licensed nurse practitioners have a four-year Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) degree. Similarly, others undergo a 15-month accelerated BSN online program. Registered nurses (RNs) from both programs have optimal clinical experience, as they receive specialized training in rehabilitation care. 

According to the University of Indianapolis, these healthcare professionals focus on holistic and physical assessments using clinical reasoning. They are highly equipped to help you through addiction and manage relapse triggers. That means you will be in safe hands while coping with grief at a rehab facility. 

Ways to Deal With Grief During Addiction Recovery 

While grieving, you might feel an impulse to escape your situation through self-destructive behaviors. As a result, grief can put your sobriety commitment to the test. Many turn to alcohol and drugs when feeling overburdened by emotions. 

During the bereavement period, you might experience depression, anger, and denial. However, bottling up and incorrectly managing these emotions can lead to alcohol and drug relapses. 

That’s why you should follow these tips to help deal with grief while battling addiction: 

  • Understand your vulnerability, stay vigilant, and recognize your triggers
  • Avoid isolating yourself from friends, family, healthcare professionals, etc 
  • Don’t suppress your emotions, and let yourself grieve 
  • Stick to your sobriety treatment plan and talk to your addiction support group 
  • Prioritize your nutritional well-being by having good-quality food 
  • Cherish the memories you’ve shared and release any regrets 
  • Focus on channeling your emotions through a creative outlet 
  • Follow a routine and maintain healthy personal hygiene 
  • Make efforts to avoid any triggering situations 

Remember to discuss your experience, accept your feelings, and focus on self-care. Moreover, you can create a sobriety plan with the help of your doctors and find online resources about grief and loss. 

The Bottom Line

There is a higher chance of relapsing if you have unresolved grief. Hence, you must mourn the loss of your loved one and go through the different grief stages to remain sober. 

You can start by self-evaluating your priorities and verbalizing your emotions. Then, focus on non-chemical coping alternatives like exercising, finding hobbies, or learning a new language. Doing so will help you deal with the stages of grief. 

You can also seek assistance from a counselor or your rehab nurse. They will help you get back on track, create new goals, and stick to your addiction recovery journey.

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