Coping with loss is never easy. Unfortunately, some individuals spend an inordinate amount of time grieving people, relationships, pets, and other losses. When they run out of practical and healthy ways for managing their pain, they often turn to drugs or alcohol. For a very short time, using certain substances may blunt negative emotions that threaten to overwhelm. Sadly, however, the risks and consequences of doing so far exceed any perceived benefits. If you’ve been using drugs or alcohol to deal with your grief, you probably recognize this strategy as causing far more harm than good. Rather than simply stopping your substance abuse, however, you’ll also need to find a way to address the painful emotions that have caused it. This is the surest way to avoid relapse and the best strategy for ensuring lifelong success in recovery. Because drug and alcohol treatment centers know this, they offer a broad range of therapies and interventions that are designed to help patients process old grief effectively.
Many people who’ve never participated in drug or alcohol treatment programs before do not expect these environments to be as warm, welcoming, and accommodating as they are. In reality, many of the people who staff these facilities share common experiences and have recovery stories of their own. There are also a number of onsite counselors and other professionals who are specially trained in dealing with grief. Grief counseling for those who’ve been overwhelmed by loss is frequently a key part of substance abuse treatment. If you’ve been looking for a healthy and effective way to start processing your grief, receiving addiction treatment may be the best place to start.
Why Grief Counseling Is Often A Necessary Part Of Addiction Recovery
Grief is an incredibly intense emotion that people often experience as the result of their most challenging and darkest moments. However, irrespective of how powerful grief can be, people have an equally powerful ability to oppress it. It is not uncommon for those experiencing overwhelming loss to hide their grief away. Despite consciously or even unconsciously pushing grief back, until this painful emotion is confronted and processed, it will never actually go away. Efforts to mute grief, and efforts to ignore or forget it are among the more common causes of drug and alcohol addiction.
It’s important to note that grief itself is often associated with other negative emotions such as guilt or shame. These emotions can also play a role in causing people to seek unhealthy outlets and unhealthy forms of pain relief. What’s especially unfortunate for those using drugs or alcohol as a means for controlling or forgetting their grief is that substance abuse can actually heighten the intensity of negative emotions. From causing anxiety and stress, to intensifying feelings of anger, depression, and hopelessness, alcohol and drug use for pain management are never worthwhile. These are all ideas that you will discuss in great depth during private counseling as part of your addiction treatment.
The Power Of Understanding Your Feelings And Developing Healthy Coping Skills
One thing that counselors in addiction treatment centers stress is that drugs and alcohol are only robbing of you of your present moments. By not processing grief and by using substances to hide it, you are missing out on the possibilities of each moment, and the time that you still have with the people who continue to fill your life. They also teach patients about the physiological impact that alcohol and other depressants have on their bodies and their natural ability to process emotion. In many instances, the depressive effects of substances can actually keep people trapped in a cycle of using to forget their pain, and feeling pain because they have used.
Group therapy can be a very helpful part of addiction treatment for those learning to process grief. When taking part in these programs, you’ll likely find people who’ve been through similar life events and who are currently facing similar challenges. These commonalities can foster a sense of camaraderie while giving patients the ability to share their thoughts, feelings, and hopes in a completely safe and accepting environment. These therapy sessions are also great for identifying, learning, and sharing effective coping strategies for grief so that moving past addiction becomes infinitely easier.
For those using drugs or alcohol to manage grief, seeking addiction treatment can be incredibly liberating. Not only will you be able to free yourself from the binds of substance abuse, but you can at last confront and process old and long-hidden emotions. If you’re ready to reclaim your life and want to start enjoying more of what the present moment and future has to offer, we can help. Call us today at 844-639-8371.