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Many turn to substance abuse out of a need to cope with emotional pain. Feelings of abandonment, neglect, isolation, being different, or having the symptoms of mental illnesses such as depression and anxiety, can drive one to need a mind calming solution. Drugs and alcohol provide people the solace, escape, and comfort they need to get through challenging emotional circumstances. One of the most significant life events someone can experience is the loss of a parent. Grieving the loss of a critical life figure is emotionally taxing, spiritually breaking, and difficult task.

Grief, in all of its stages, can feel like it will never end. Losing someone special like a parent leaves a hole and a void in our lives that forever will go unfilled. Attempting to fill that hole with drugs and alcohol may anesthetize the pain temporarily. However, the longer we prevent ourselves from feeling through the cycle of grief, we only delay the inevitable. No drug and no drink, despite our willful attempts, can truly make that pain go away. Somehow, when it comes to emotional experiences, it is only by thoroughly feeling and processing grief that it can be resolved.

Being in the safe and therapeutic environment of treatment, at any level, is a considerable place to being working on grief. As you begin to dissect the relationship that might exist between your substance abuse and the loss of a significant loved one in your life, take these suggestions to heart:

It’s true, nobody could possibly understand unless they’ve experienced it

You might be quick to get angry, resentful, or write off people who try to sympathize with what you’ve experienced. Rightfully, you find it hard to relate to anyone’s sympathy if they themselves have not lost a parent. Try to remain open to receiving emotional support and seek the similarities in what your peers offer you, rather than focus on the differences.

Experience your emotions authentically and take care of yourself

Learning how to participate in self-care is a part of the recovery process when you are in treatment for drug and alcohol addiction. On particularly tough days, know that it’s okay to just not be entirely okay. It is also okay to do what you need to do to take care of yourself. Remember, though, you are learning what that means. There is a difference between isolating and taking quiet time for yourself. Help stay grounded in your choices by allowing others to guide you and listen to your needs.

Enlightened Solutions uses the spiritual healing of holistic practices supported by strong evidence based practice and 12 step philosophy. By seeking understanding through underlying circumstances, our program helps residents gain insight to their addictions. We offer certified dual diagnosis treatment for both substance abuse and other mental health disorders. For more information call 844-243-LIVE.