Grief is our natural healing response to the loss of someone or something that we had loved or when we are faced with extreme change. It is a complex process, not an event, proceeding in stages from initial shock and chaos through adaption on to acceptance and transformation.
GRIEVING IN SUBSTANCE ABUSE
People feel that they do not have a problem concerning alcohol or substances. Even if they do feel as if they might have a small problem, they believe that they have complete control over the situation and can stop drinking or doing drugs whenever they want.
Example: “I don’t have to drink all of the time. I can stop whenever I want.”
The anger stage of abusers relates to how they get upset because they have an addiction or are angry that they can no longer use drugs.
Examples: “I don’t want to have this addiction anymore.” “This isn’t fair; I’m too young to have this problem.”
This is the stage that drug and alcohol abusers go through when they are trying to convince themselves or someone else that they are going to stop abusing in order to get something out of it or get themselves out of trouble (or to justify continuing their use of drugs and/or alcohol).
Examples: “God, I promise I’ll never use again if you just get me out of trouble.” “…If you let me stay here, I will never do drugs/alcohol again.”
Sadness and hopelessness are important parts of the depression stage when drug abusers are faced with the reality of living a life without their substance of choice. Most abusers experience this when they are going through the withdrawal stage of quitting their addiction.
With substance abusers, admitting the existence of a problem is different from accepting the problem. When a substance abuser accepts that he/she has a problem, they see that that they are powerless in the face of this addiction without help. It is a process of giving up ego to find humility. Accepting that he/she has a problem is when you realize that you have a problem and start to take action.
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