The death of a loved one or other type of personal loss is complicated to deal with at the best of times, but grief can be almost unbearable for people who are also struggling to stay clean and get their lives under control. Personal loss is an emotional roller coaster, and sometimes it can seem like the easiest way to manage those feelings is to turn back to drugs or alcohol to get through.
However, there are ways that you can manage personal loss during recovery, and these coping mechanism tips will help you get through any tough times in the future as well.
1. Continue With Your Regular Support
A lot goes on after the death of a loved one, and friends and family find themselves with several commitments, such as funeral planning, the service, and memorials. These obligations are both difficult and time-consuming, and that creates a temptation to use and skip meetings, which is doubly detrimental to your recovery.
That’s why it’s more important now than ever that you continue with whatever treatment and support groups you’re a part of, including regular meetings, therapy, outpatient programs, and rehab. The support will keep you on track, help you address the difficult emotions you’re feeling, and help you manage triggers. And if you find you need more support during this time, seek out extra counseling or therapy.
2. Recognize and Confront Your Feelings
Grief is a natural reaction to personal loss, but the personal loss doesn’t only come in the form of the death of a loved one. Grief can be caused by any loss, such as the loss of a relationship because of a breakup, the loss of a house when you move, or the loss of a pet. Grief can even occur as a reaction to the loss of addiction and the lifestyle it entailed.
Don’t think that because nobody died, you shouldn’t feel the way you do—you’re entitled to grieve over any loss. You must permit yourself to go through this experience during drug or alcohol treatment, rather than trying to ignore the emotions.
3. Reach Out to the People Around You
Everybody needs help from time to time, and knowing when you need help is a sign of strength and self-awareness. If you need some extra support, need to talk, or need to be with somebody right now, make that clear to the people you love and ask them to stand by you. In the case of the death of a family member, there’s a good chance your loved ones need similar comfort right now.
4. Eat Well and Get Lots of Sleep
Emotional pain is physically draining, and you must treat your body well during your time of need. This means eating a proper diet, getting plenty of sleep, and taking time to relax and enjoy important things you.
By taking care of your body, you’re taking care of your mind, and this will make it easier to manage your feelings and your cravings. If you need help relaxing and letting go of stress, which is a major trigger during recovery, there are several things you can do, including:
- Take a long walk
- Have a bath
- Go to church
- Listen to music
- Read a book
- Practice deep breathing
- Do yoga or some other exercise
Experiencing personal loss is difficult for anybody, and it’s certainly a test for people in alcohol or drug rehab. But you have the resources and strength to get through this difficult time with your recovery intact, and you must draw on your therapy, personal support systems, and internal strength during this tough time.