Updated: Nov 25, 2020
Grieving the Loss of your Addiction - Mindfulpath
by, Erica Ives
When one traditionally reflects the term, ‘grief,’ or the concept of ‘mourning,’ one is likely to immediately connect these to death. However, this term and concept envelop far more than death. Worden (2009) states that normal grief also referred to as uncomplicated grief, incorporates a wide range of feelings and behaviors that are common after a loss. However, the experience of grief is not only roused by the loss of a loved one or even the loss of a job or relationship, grief and mourning are also activated when someone loses a way of life or a way of seeing themselves for some time. Anytime there is a loss or transition, grief can occur, especially if the emotions surrounding the loss or transition are of extreme intensity.
It is a common misconception that recovery will bring immediate relief and alleviate discomfort, but often in the early stages of recovery, as in the early grief process, it actually gets worse before it gets better. This concept may seem almost inconceivable, for who would need to grieve a relationship that brought them nothing but pain, sometimes agony. Just like the addict who relied on their addiction the same way an individual relied on a loved one. The deeper you go into addiction, the more the drugs or alcohol becomes your greatest priority and your constant companion.
Grieving the loss of one’s addiction may be a misunderstood concept, which deserves increased attention and awareness. Many would describe the experience as similar to the death of a peer or family member. The relationship to addiction is an intense, enmeshed, profound relationship that can take you down to the depths of despair. Therefore, it is imperative that this type of loss, of course, dependent on the intensity of the relationship to the addiction, is viewed through the same lens as any other loss. Again, the loss is real and the pain of losing your addiction can be so very intense and literally feel like a death. Of course, everyone deals with grief differently but addiction loss needs to be acknowledged as a real loss so one can heal and grieve in a healthy manner. It is a truly significant loss. To recognize the truth of your addiction, the good and the bad can be profoundly healing. To grieve this loss is to give honor to your sobriety and recovery.
Should you need, please reach out for support at Mindfulpath Inc.
All my best,