Living with addiction and mental illness means we’ve likely sustained some form of grief in our lives. Sometimes it is our grief that is the catalyst for our addictive patterns. We use our addictions to try to escape the intense pain we’re feeling from our grief. Grief, like depression, can be debilitating and cause us to become stuck in our lives, preventing us from moving forward and finding our happiness. Our grief can be so overpowering that it blocks us from connecting with ourselves and our purpose. Sometimes our grief is all we can see and feel. Everything else can pale in comparison to our grief because it’s so painful.
Our grief can be a result of various different life events. We might have lost people close to us who themselves were battling with addiction and succumbed to the battle. We might have lost people to distance, illness or tragedy. We may have pushed people away out of fear of being judged or rejected by them. We may have ended relationships or separated ourselves from loved ones because we placed more importance on our addictions than on the work it required to stay connected to them. The necessary components of successful relationships, resolving conflict, establishing boundaries and having healthy communication, are all even more difficult when we’re struggling with addiction.
We might be grieving a choice we made, or something we’ve lost in our lives that meant a lot to us. When we’ve lost something or someone important to us, we can be left with tremendous grief that stays with us for years after we first sustained the loss. Our grief can be multifaceted and profound, altering our sense of self and changing the trajectory of our lives. Grief can be a combination of different emotions – deep sadness, feelings of depression and anxiety, shame and guilt for the mistakes we’ve made, regret, remorse, and fear. We can become overly afraid that we’ll continue to lose the people and things we care about most. We can find it hard to forge connections with people because we’re afraid to get too close to them, out of fear of losing someone else we love and having to undergo the grieving process all over again. Our grief can keep us distant and removed from people. It can cause us to isolate ourselves, and we suffer alone with our grief, with no one to understand or support us.
Understanding why we’re grieving is an important part of the healing process. Recovering from our addictions means addressing the losses we’ve sustained in our lives and examining the emotional aftermath of those losses.
Recovery for us is personal. Seventy-five percent of the Riverside Recovery staff has lived with addiction and successfully gone through the recovery process. Call us today: (800) 871-5440.