Once we enter recovery, we are able to more fully participate in life. Unfortunately, this can sometimes mean dealing with loss in sobriety. How do you take care of yourself through this process?
Back In The Stream Of Life
While drinking and using drugs, we can spend years detached from the world – including from the lives of our loved ones. When we finally get sober, we find ourselves thrust back into these relationships, albeit with a new perspective and attitude towards being involved. Rebuilding relationships, learning to show up for those around us, and most importantly learning to put others and their needs before ourselves. Recovery offers us a framework for accomplishing these things and the rewards are huge. It feels great to be an active participant in life after spending so much time separated and alone. Just because we are sober though, does not mean that life stops happening. While it is an uncomfortable subject, part of life is walking through the loss of loved ones. Fortunately, working a program of recovery gives us the tools to deal with these struggles – empowering us to not only take care of ourselves, but to show up for the other people in our lives that are affected and need our strength.
Taking Care of Ourselves During Loss in Sobriety
It is difficult to show up for others if we are not able to show up for ourselves. That is why one of the most important parts of dealing with loss in sobriety is to make sure you are doing what you need to do in order to take care of yourself. One of the biggest assets of being active in sobriety is having a community that can pick you up and carry you when you are struggling. While loss is never easy, by staying connected to others around us, we are able to confront our struggles much more effectively, staying strong in the support of others. Working with a sponsor as you go through the emotional roller coaster of a loss is an important part of dealing with it in a healthy way. Having someone else to be accountable to and to support you while you are working through difficult emotions is often one of the most necessary components to finding relief. Another big benefit of being sober is having others to lean on that share your experience. There is rarely a situation that someone will find themselves in that has not already been experienced by someone else in recovery, including painful the painful parts of life. If you work with a therapist or counselor, this is also a good time to rely on their guidance as you cope with your loss. Remaining vulnerable with those around you gives them the ability to show up for you while going through a difficult time.
Showing Up For Family
As we lean on those in our recovery community for support through loss in sobriety, we are also able to begin showing up for our loved ones, often for the first time. Without needing to worry about our addiction, our families are able to take care of themselves, often for the first time in many years. One of the gifts of recovery is the recognition that everything is not about us – by realizing this, we are able to take care of ourselves while being present and supporting our loved ones that may be struggling or needing more support than we do. Remember, when dealing with a loss in sobriety, we are not the only ones affected. By being attentive to the needs and emotions of those we care about who are also dealing with an emotional struggle, we are able to show up for them and can often find ourselves as a source of stability and comfort. This can be an unfamiliar but powerful experience, coming from years of being a source of pain for our families. In fact, it is not uncommon to grow closer with loved ones while working through the emotions that arise during a loss in sobriety.
Being Present For a Loss in Sobriety
If we continue to rely on the tools that recovery has given us, we are able to remain present even during the difficult experience of a loss in sobriety. Remember though, while the program has a variety of tools that exist to help us through these experiences, sometimes professional help can be very useful. If you have found yourself struggling after the loss of a loved one and can’t seem to get to the other side, there is no shame in reaching out to a licensed therapist or counselor for additional support working through your struggles. In recovery, there is nothing we can’t stay sober through as long as we are willing to do the work necessary. Check back this Friday, when we will be sharing a personal story from a young person in recovery of their experience with the program helping them through a difficult lose in their sobriety.