As recovering addicts, we’re no strangers to loss. We’ve lost loved ones to their addictions. We’ve damaged and lost relationships because of our problems with addiction. We’ve experienced a great deal of tragedy, trauma, and grief related to addiction in our lives. The losses we’ve sustained can play a huge role in our recovery, both in holding us back and in pushing us forward. How can loss affect our recovery?
Sometimes when we’ve lost family members, friends, partners, and other loved ones to addiction, we naturally and instinctively want to shield ourselves from more hurt, so we avoid thinking about both our grief and addiction as a whole. We deny we have a problem with addiction. We might deny that our loved one was an addict because we just don’t want to believe the painful truth. We might deny how afraid we are that we will follow the same path and lose our lives to our addictions. We deny how bad our depression and other mental health issues have become. Denial is like any other coping mechanism in that we lean on it to comfort us in the moment, thinking it will help us cope, but it doesn’t lead to true healing. We end up holding ourselves back when we’re unable, to be honest with ourselves. When we don’t give ourselves the time and space to really grieve our losses, when we continue to deny how affected we’ve been by them, we only hurt ourselves more. We keep ourselves from seeing just how badly we need help, how low we’ve fallen, how bad things have gotten. We keep ourselves from getting better, and we delay our recovery.
On the other hand, sometimes a loss can serve as a powerful wake-up call in our recovery. When we lose a loved one to their demons, we’re reminded in a painful but clear way that we have to face our demons and stop running from them. When a relationship we value ends because of our addictions, we realize that our illness has robbed us of yet another thing that was important to us. When we see how many losses we’ve incurred in our lives, all due to our addictions, it can be the catalyst for finally seeking help. Loss can have a transformative impact on us and on our consciousness. We gain an understanding of just how urgent it is that we take our recovery seriously. We remember how precious life is, and we have a newfound motivation to get well.
If you or your loved one is struggling with addiction, you are not alone. Reach out for support. The community of Riverside Recovery has personal experience with addiction and recovery, and we’re here to help you reclaim the life you love. Call (800) 871-5440 today.