How to Cope with a Loved One’s Death from Addiction
Coping with a loved one’s death from addiction to drugs and alcohol is difficult. There are no words that can truly convey the depth of how painful it is to lose someone you love and care about, especially when their death is a consequence of a drug and/or alcohol addiction. For parents, it can be devastating to lose a child – and lose them well before they die. Addiction is a scary concept that can result in horrific and fatal outcomes. Dealing with the grief and pain of a loved one’s death can be extremely difficult, and finding ways to cope after a loved one has died from addiction can pose even more of a challenge. For some, the pain may not go away. Time may not completely heal the wound on your heart, but you will live on and can have your loved one live forever in your memories.
Coping with a Death from Addiction to Drugs and Alcohol
Whether the death of a loved one comes as a shock or you knew before it was even officially announced to you, losing a loved one as a result of a drug and alcohol addiction can be a horrific experience. There’s no way around the pain of a loved one’s death from addiction, but you can find healthy ways to cope, live on, and not place blame on yourself.
Let Yourself Feel
In the beginning, you may feel shocked, angry, sad, confused, hurt, or guilty – and that’s okay. It’s okay to feel whatever you are feeling because you just lost someone you love, maybe someone who has been in your life for a very long time or someone that you cared for deeply. It’s important to remember to let yourself feel. If you need to cry, then cry. If you need to talk about your memories of your loved one with someone closest to you, then talk. If you need to get your thoughts down on paper, then write. Everybody has their way of grieving. Letting yourself feel is a key part in the process of healing. The more you resist, the more your emotions may build up and you may revert to unhealthy coping mechanisms, so make sure you let yourself feel, and at your own pace too.
Give Yourself Time
Don’t expect to just instantly feel better or less sad. Healing takes time, and time doesn’t necessarily make the situation hurt less but it does provide you a period to mourn the loss of a loved one. Finding out a loved one has died from addiction to drugs and/or alcohol can leave you feeling all types of mixed emotions, which is why it is critical to give yourself time to process each one of them. You may need to take off work, seek professional help, and reach out for support.
Healing Is a Process, Not an Event
Losing a loved one from addiction can bring unexplainable grief, but you can honor your loved one and those who are still with you by going on. Healing is not an event, but a process. Dealing with grief is not a simple matter, but you can come out of it. You won’t forget what happened, but as life goes on, you will smile again and you will laugh again.
Dealing with the death of a loved one is hard. You may not feel like yourself and you may feel that your entire life has changed. Your feelings are valid and you should give yourself the time to feel them.
“So that’s what I did. I stayed alive. I kept breathing.” – Cast Away
If you or someone you know is struggling in active addiction to drugs and/or alcohol, The Watershed can help. Addiction does not need to be a death sentence. Recovery is 100% attainable with reputable addiction treatment. Call The Watershed today at 1-800-861-1768.Tags: Addiction, coping with death, death, healing