5 Things to Remember When You Lose Someone You Love to Drug Addiction
1.You Are Not Alone
Each year, more than 570,000 people die from drug addiction. Think about this for as moment. That is 65 lives lost to drug addiction each and every hour. This is a devastating figure and what it means for you is that you are not alone on the path of recovering from the loss of a loved one. Reach out to support groups in your community and online to meet others who are also grieving the loss of their loved ones. You don’t have to grieve alone.
2.You Did All That You Could Do
During the stages of grief, you may experience emotions of blaming yourself, feeling ashamed or guilty that you could not do more for your loved one.
It is unfortunately normal to experience thoughts such as: “Maybe if I hadn’t said that…”; “Maybe I shouldn’t have done that…”; “Maybe I could have gotten them help”. What you need to remember and hang onto is the fact that all of the decisions and actions you took were based on the combination of circumstances and situations that you were experiencing. The decisions that you made at that time and in that situation, were made in the best possible interest of your loved one. These were the right choices, the right decisions. You need to accept that you did all that you could to reach to them and help them. There is not more that you could have done for them.
If you still find that you cannot move past self-blaming, then speak with a grief professional. A grief professional can help you with understanding your emotions about losing your loved one to a drug addiction.
3. Take Care Of Yourself
Losing a loved one to drug addiction can feel like falling into an ocean of grief. As you make your way to the shore again, it is important for you to not lose yourself in the process. Your loved ones and relationships will suffer if you are unable to separate yourself from the grief.
Make an effort to wake-up and rise each morning. Start the day by doing activities that help you focus and feel good. Take an early morning walk or do some yoga or stretches in your lawn. Try deep-breathing or relaxation exercises as you watch the sunrise. These exercises will help you beat the stress that is wearing you down.
Focus on your nutritional intake as well. You cannot stop eating and when you do eat, you need to eat a healthy, nutritious meal. If you feel that you cannot eat or don’t have the appetite to eat, then visit your doctor to discuss this.
Sleeping is very important when trying to cope with losing a loved one from a drug addiction. If you are experiencing trouble falling asleep, then cut back on caffeine, going to bed hungry and taking naps during the day. You also have to avoid self-medicating or taking alcohol as a means to temporarily escape from reality. Such behaviour can lead to addictions, which have already led to the loss of your loved one. Moreover, alcohol and medications taken against the advice of a medical professional can amplify the grief that you perceive, resulting in feelings of depression and helplessness. If you have trouble falling asleep and staying asleep then visit your doctor and discuss this. It is important for you to practice healthy sleeping habits so that you wake up feeling refreshed and empowered to meet the challenges of each and every day.
4. Let The Tears Fall
We are emotional beings and everything that we experience, every single moment that we perceive is related to our emotional self. It is natural to cry at the loss of a loved one. It is also natural to grieve. Yet, our culture has affiliated tears with weakness, and grieving with negative connotations so people shy away from grieving and crying.
It is not healthy to avoid grief by immediately returning back to work, or following destructive behaviours such as drinking or drug-use to temporarily mask feelings. Even by following such behaviours, those feelings will not disappear. As a result of shying away from your own emotional-self, you may notice that your perform at work or school is markedly reduced. If you resolve to alcohol or drug addiction, you may develop a dependency and your personal life will begin to suffer.
Rather, you need to let your grief surface. You need to let the tears fall to wash away your grief. This process will help you in taking ownership of your emotional-self and overcoming the loss of your loved one.
5. Raise Your Voice Against Drug Addiction
The pain that you feel at the loss of your loved one will unfortunately become a reality for many others, whose lives are also impacted by drug addiction. You can transform your grief and recovery into creating a positive impact onto the lives of others.
You can direct and focus your energy towards initiatives such as:
a. Campaign for changes to drug policy. Use your voice for creating and supporting drug and addiction policy reforms.
b. Empower and educate others. Actively participate in your community to educate others are what drug addictions are and how they can prevent losing their loved ones to drug addiction.
c. Host a vigil for those who have also lost their loved ones to drug addictions. Help yourself and others heal collectively.
d. Commemorate the life of your loved one. Within your home, you can commemorate your loved one by placing their photographs, planting a tree in their honour or creating a scrapbook of photographs and memories.
e. Give back. Give back to the families and victims of drug addictions.
Losing a loved one to a drug addiction can feel like an emotional roller coaster. While it may seem that the emotions and pain of losing someone are unbearable, remember to turn to your loved ones during times of need. Let your loved ones help you and accept their support.
If you are religious or spiritual, then let your faith guide you on the path of healing. Make the effort to reach out to grief support groups, addiction counsellors and substance abuse advocacy groups to help you cope.