Losing a loved one or something that’s very important to you can be very tough. You might be one of those people who thought that you’re immune to bouts of sadness only to realize that you can’t seem to make yourself get over your loss. This can be especially difficult if you’re trying to recover from drugs and alcohol because you cannot anymore turn to these substances to forget your painful experience.
It is no wonder then why many people in recovery relapse when they are faced with grief and loss. These challenging situations become an excuse to do one more hit or drink the blues away. For some, doing this might seem like the only choice to be able to survive, however, you have other options that do not involve drugs and alcohol. Yes, it won’t be easy but it will be worth the shot. Here are some ways on how you can avoid relapse when trying to cope with grief and loss.
Acknowledge your emotions
You’ve probably heard of the 5 stages of grief: denial, anger, bargaining, depression, and acceptance. Most people unconsciously go through these stages when they are dealing with heartbreaking situations. It depends on the individual how long this process will last so it’s hard to rush or just skip to the acceptance part at once.
However, what could help is to acknowledge your feelings. Recognizing that you are feeling miserable will help you better address these emotions rather than bottling them up inside you. A lot of times, you may want to put up a strong front or pretend that you’re alright just to avoid the feeling altogether. You might be doing this because you don’t want to feel sad or depressed but there are times when it’s impossible to control your feelings. It doesn’t make you weak or a lesser person to feel these emotions. You have to keep in mind that it’s okay not to be okay.
Hold onto your recovery program
Before your recovery program, drugs and alcohol might have been your primary methods to cope with sadness and grief. You might be tempted to turn back to your old habits thinking that this is the easy way out. But in reality, this is the more dangerous, more difficult road. Having that drink to drown away your troubles is not the easy way, rather, it’s putting yourself in a more difficult position because you’re throwing away all your efforts towards long-term recovery for a temporary yet destructive reprieve.
When coping with grief and loss, it is more important than ever to stick to your recovery plan. Go to meetings, speak to your counselor, and follow your recovery routine. Don’t take a break from your recovery.
Connect with others
Being in isolation is one reason why many people in recovery get tempted to drink or use drugs again. Understandably, you’d want to keep to yourself during these difficult times. You might not have the energy to speak to people or share your feelings. While it’s okay to spend time alone to reflect and deal with your emotions, it will also be beneficial to start connecting with other people.
Being around people who love you or care for you is a great way to remind yourself that you are not in this alone. There are people who are rooting for you and will be with you. If you cannot be physically present with other people, use virtual messaging and video calls to connect with other people. It’s also a good idea to join fellowship groups to find new connections.
One of the reasons people turn to drugs and alcohol is because they want to feel better. However, when the effects wear off, many people find themselves feeling worse. If you’re feeling down, try to go for self-care activities that will benefit you mentally, physically, and emotionally. Some suggestions include:
- Eat nutritious food like fresh fruits, veggies, healthy proteins, and fiber-rich food. Avoid sugary food and processed foods.
- Practice mindfulness meditation.
- Engage in physical activities like exercise, sports, outdoor hikes, swimming, etc.
- Try out calming activities like soaking in a bubble bath, aromatherapy, massages, and listening to music.
Seek professional help
If you feel that your grief is too much for you to bear, talking to a therapist may help. A professional can help you identify triggers as well as work on different strategies to help you cope with your loss.
If you or a loved one is dealing with substance abuse issues, help is available.
Contact Lighthouse Treatment Center today.