By: Ava
May 24, 2019

How to Cope When You Lose Someone to Addiction

Table of Contents

US statistics on drug and alcohol use is chilling. Yet, there seem to be no signs of the scourge slowing down. It can become challenging if someone you love is a part of the statistics. Learning how to cope when you lose someone to addiction is essential. Taking the right steps will help you overcome the grief that accompanies the loss, and help you move forward in life.

What should you do to overcome grief, or at least get some sense of normalcy when you lose someone to addiction?

 Give yourself time to grieve

Coping with death is hard, and it is vital that you realize that different people deal with the situation differently.  While some people can move on almost immediately, others may sink into deep depression requiring some therapy to overcome it. You know yourself best, you know how you handle tough situations, and you should apply the same when you lose someone you love.

Do not insist on coping with the situation on your own because it can become overwhelming.  Ask family members, friends or professionals for help; so that you’re able to process the loss better as you take positive steps towards moving on

 Face your feelings

Losing someone to addiction will come with attendant emotions like guilt.  Most people feel that they could have done so much more for the addict while the reality is that, it may not have been possible.  If you do not acknowledge that you are having these feelings, you may end up with severe problems, whether mental or physical.  If for some reason, you could have helped the addict but did not, deal with that guilt and leave it behind.  By learning to forgive yourself, you will make it so much simpler to cope with the death of your loved one.

 Understand you cannot control outcomes

The outcome of the addiction for your loved one was death.   It is not possible for you to change it and to beat yourself up will only make the situation worse.  Accept the situation and find a way to cope.

Take stock

Dealing with addiction is difficult for both the addict and those close to them. You will never find that there are aspects of your life that you let go of, that may now require your attention.  If for instance, you have young children, now is the time to take stock end have a more active role in their life.  People who depend on you for strength will draw inspiration from how you handle the situation, do not forget that other people are affected as well, and they also need help to cope.

Think about yourself

Thinking about you for a minute could mean that you take a trip somewhere and unwind.  It would also mean separating yourself from other people around you for some time if you feel that you will not be able to give them the best of yourself. Sometimes all you need is a little space, especially if everyone around you is grieving. So go ahead, book a vacation somewhere and if you must, go on your own.  The time away will help you sort through what you are dealing with and give you coping skills to face the coming days.

 Join support groups

Many bereavement groups have people who may be facing what you are going through. It does not hurt to surround you with them.  Studies show that such groups may benefit some individuals but not others. It largely depends on the stage of grief and support from significant others. Find the right group for you and if you feel that it is not working,  then take a step back and focus on coping as best as you can.

Find a way to say goodbye

While you may feel the temptation to move on completely and erase any memories of the addict, it may benefit you more to find a way to say goodbye in a better manner.  Go to the graveside, take them some flowers, talk to them and express any issues that you may be holding onto; and when you’re ready, say goodbye.

Final thoughts

Losing someone you love to addiction can be devastating.  You, therefore, need the right coping skills to overcome the grief. It is crucial that you realize that it is not your fault and you had no control over the outcome. If you need to, surround yourself with people who can give you emotional support, but in the same token, if you need time away from everyone else, then, by all means, take a trip somewhere and unwind.  Forgive yourself if you feel that you let the person down in any way, and most importantly find a way to say goodbye in a manner that gives you peace.

If you or a loved one are struggling with addiction, do not hesitate to reach out. Multi-Concept Recovery is there for you. Contact us today.