Losing someone you love or admire is often difficult to grasp. Knowing that you will never see them again on Earth can make their passing that much harder. Grief is no joke and if you no longer use drugs and alcohol to cope with your pain and misery, you may find yourself in a grief cycle that is unpleasant, to say the least. Although you have recovery tools that can help you to stay sober during this arduous period, you could have the thought cross your mind that a drink or drug would make your grief much easier.
The problem with this theory is that paying your respects to the deceased under the influence will not be a way to just take the edge off. Most likely you will find yourself taking the attention off their celebration of life and putting in on yourself. Even if you are not acting a fool while being drunk or high, people who know that you have relapsed could become more focused on taking care of you instead of honoring the departed. If you put your sobriety first, you can get through the funeral and show your sympathy with the friends and family in attendance while sober.
Don’t bury your grief
Try not to hold onto your feelings until you get to the funeral. In the true form of rigorous honesty, call your sponsor or your therapist and let them help you process your grief beforehand. Talk about what is bothering you and why your pain is significant so that you can attend the funeral in the right frame of mind. Going to a funeral is already depressing. Do not wait until the service starts to let your emotions go because if you do, you may just work yourself up right into a drink or a drug.
Get some closure
Part of your bereavement is finding some closure with your grief. A memorial service is intended to give you a way to let their physical body go but continue to honor their soul. Obviously, you will always feel some way about the passing of someone you care about, but you can close the door on the pain that is keeping you paralyzed. Going to a funeral service drunk or high is not only a sign of disrespect but will only stuff your feelings down further without giving you the ability to work through them. Closure is a good thing to help you move on from your grief which you should embrace fully so you both of you can rest in peace.
Create a tribute
There are so many things that you can do to honor someone’s memory and staying sober is a great start. You can also start a scholarship in the name of the deceased or find a cause they felt strongly about and let others know they can donate in honor of the person who passed away. Build a shrine, make a scrapbook, or put their name on a star to commemorate your loss. Find a new way to remember them that entails happiness and tranquility so that you can take away your sadness and replace it with the fondness they deserve.
Stick to your program
The most important thing you need to do during your bereavement is to continue to work your program. While that may seem like a no-brainer for you because you know your recovery tools work if you work it, you may get complacent because your grief may become too unbearable for you to handle. Keep pushing forward using your program as a place of solace. Honestly sharing in meetings about your grief will allow you to be surrounded by others in the program who can also relate to your grief. Ask those people who have walked through the death of a loved one without picking a drink or a drug to cope, how they got through the tough days when they did not feel motivated to do so.
You are blessed to be part of a fellowship that scoops up their own when they are going through hard times to give them the strength to carry on. Allow yourself to relate to them and guide you on how to stay sober during your time of grief. What will happen next is that you can walk someone else through their grief and let them know they are not alone while influencing them how to stay sober just like you did.
Initially, you may feel like you also want to die since you lost someone you love. The best thing you can do is continue to live for them and remain sober as they look down on you. You can still make them proud when you continue to live a life of grace and dignity on your journey of recovery.
Offering a full range of recovery and mental health services, Detox Center of Colorado offers “Expanded Recovery” to enrich our clients’ lives in mind, body, and spirit. Through evidence-based therapy options and the endless adventure of Colorado, Detox Center of Colorado fosters connection, encouraging clients to get connected to themselves, their peers, their families, and their higher power. With the power of recovery, clients are restored to full health and experience life-changing healing. Call us today for more information: 303-536-5463