LOSS: How to Deal with the Loss of Drugs and Alcohol During Recovery
Adjusting to life without drugs and alcohol is a momentous transition. If you are recovering from a drug and/or alcohol addiction, substance use was quite likely a daily part of your routine.
Any loss can exhibit the signs of grief – Whether it’s losing a spouse, a child, a job, or drugs and alcohol, the stages of grief are real. Taking time to mourn is part of the healing process.
Here are 5 ways to let yourself grieve the loss of drugs and alcohol:
1. Acknowledge the loss. Admit how important drugs and alcohol were to you. They may have been your best friend, your go to, your hope. Until we can acknowledge how important of a role drugs and alcohol played in our life we can’t move on. Some people grieving the loss of drugs and alcohol see parallels to leaving an unhealthy relationship. You told yourself it would be different this time. Even though the relationship was unhealthy, at least it was familiar. Letting yourself get honest about all the layers of loss is the first step to moving on.
2. Cry. Crying is a release that can help us feel better. There is actually research to back this theory up. Studies have found that emotional tears have higher levels of stress hormones than reflect tears- the kind you’d get from dust in your eye. Studies have also show emotional tears contain mood-regulating manganese. Manganese helps regulate your nervous system. Crying also activates the parasympathetic nervous system which restores the body to balance.
3. Write. Putting pen to paper can be healing. Whether you are making a list of things to be grateful for or writing down how you miss getting high, writing can offer a healthy release.
4. Create a goodbye ritual. We love birthday parties because they are a ritual way to mark a significant period in time. You can also do a ritual to say goodbye. This might include flushing your drugs, throwing away your paraphernalia, or burning a list of all the ways alcohol and drugs negatively impacted your life.
5. Find joy. When we lose a loved one we may feel like it’s wrong to give our hearts to someone else. If you feel that same loyalty to drugs and alcohol you are not alone. This is the beginning of the rest of your life. It’s ok to find some joy in it.
Recovery offers a life of wonderment and awe. Castle Craig offers residential treatment programmes to help transition your life from one of addiction to one of recovery. Call our 24 hour free confidential phone-line: 0808 256 3731. From outside the UK please call: +44 1721 788 006
Page last reviewed and medically fact-checked | March 8, 2021