How Do I Mourn the Loss of Drugs or Alcohol?
It may seem strange but when an alcoholic or drug addict stops the use of drugs or alcohol, there is a period of mourning that occurs. The mourning has to do with the loss of a friend that has stood by you for months or even years. When you feel stressed at work, you might drink. If you argue with your spouse, you might take a pill or indulge in a harder substance. When life gets overwhelming, you turn to your friend to get you through it.
Your friend will support you through any of life’s problems and provide you with comfort. This friend will help you to forget all of your problems and to make you feel good about yourself. Your friend has been there for you until you decide that you no longer want to have this friend in your life.
There is a period of grieving when you lose your friend to recovery. Who will you turn to now that your friend is gone? Some addicts report “missing” their friend as it was easier to indulge with the friend than to face responsibility or life’s ups and downs. This period of grief is normal as the recovering addict begins to face life without drugs or alcohol.
Many in recovery find themselves writing letters to their friends in order to process the loss. Some have even used creative visualization to say goodbye to their friend. People may even have dreams about their friends and wish they were still together.
Your friend, the alcohol or drug of choice, is certainly powerful. Its main purpose is to keep you from living a whole, purposeful life. It makes you think that you cannot survive without it. It is as dependent on you as you are on it. Without you, your friend would not exist.
As you begin recovery, say goodbye to your friend. Mourn the loss of this friend as it did stand by you for so long and through so much; however, it is no longer needed. You have found new friends in recovery through social support, improved family relationships, and your higher power. Your friend might find someone else but as long as it is not you, that is okay.