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Coping With Death: The 5 Stages of Grief

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The 5 Stages of GriefCoping with death is not easy, nor does it sound appealing at first. When you lose someone you love, it can be very painful and difficult time. You feel your heart drop and have an emptiness feeling inside. You probably keep asking yourself, “Why?”  You suddenly think that you could have done something different, especially when your loved one lost their life due to a drug or alcohol addiction. It’s unfortunately too common nowadays, to the point where more Americans die from drug overdoses than from car accidents. A new study from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, CDC, shows that over 30,000 Americans die from an accidental drug overdose every year.  If that number isn’t shocking, about 2.4 million visits to the emergency room are related to drug misuse or overdose. But how can you cope with your loss after the fact? Coping with death is a process, and here are some tips to help you through the 5 stages of grief.

Related: Heroin Statistics Infographic 

The 5 Stages of Grief

When you are coping with death, grief is the process of reacting to a loss as well as the emotional and life changes that the survivors experience. The length of time for grieving will depend on your personality, your relationship with the lost loved one, and the cause of death. Some common symptoms of grief consist of shock, numbness, anger, guilt, fear, anxiety, depression, physical ailments and sleeplessness. Here are the 5 stages of grief that are all perfectly normal if you experience.


“This can’t be happening to me. This isn’t real, they’re coming back.” Talking about the person as if they were still here, or as if they are coming back.


“Why is this happening? Who is to blame?” Some people may get major resentments, even towards their Gods.


“Make this not happen, and in return I will…” People will literally pray that if their loved one can come back, they will give up anything in exchange.


“I am too sad to do anything.” Depression is another disease that may require treatment.


“I am at peace with what happened.” Acceptance, or letting go, is realizing what happened can’t be changed. Many people who dealt with loss have accepted what happened, and shared their stories with many people.

Ways Of Coping With Death

If you find yourself experiencing any of these emotions after a loss occurs, please know that your reactions are natural, and in time, you will heal. Some other ways to help you cope with your sudden loss:

Maintain a normal routine

Get plenty of rest

Keep a schedule

Exercise regularly

Keep a balanced diet

Drink enough water

Draw upon inner strength

Take it one hour at a time, one day at a time

Find some emotional support

Consider keeping a journal

Don’t use any drugs or alcohol to mask how you’re feeling.

Helping Others

Coping with death doesn’t need to be hidden, nor do your memories of your loved one. It is also important to know that the 5 stages of grief aren’t always in order. Some stages can happen at the same time or more than once, and everybody’s length of time for this process is different. Once you’ve gone through the five stages of grief and you’ve accepted that your loss was real, maybe you can consider reaching out and spreading awareness; find or start an organization to raise awareness for drug and alcohol related deaths and save others’ lives. You could share your experience, strength and hope with other families, because you never know who could be dealing with the same thing as you. You never know who else may be trying to be coping with death, and by you spreading your story and the feelings you overcame, it may help others.

Here are some sites and organizations that can also help you with coping with death and the five stages of grief.

Nar-Anon members are relatives and friends who are or who have been affected by someone with a drug addiction problem.

Al-Anon members are relatives and friends who are or who have been affected by someone with alcoholism. is filled with support, resources, and other information as it relates to loss and the grieving process.

If you know someone is currently in the grip of drug addiction or alcoholism, contact us now at or call 24/7 at 1-800-861-1768.

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