What’s grief got to do with it?
What does grief have to do with addiction? I would venture to say a lot more than most people think. Grief can be a huge relapse risk, especially when it goes unaddressed. At Fellowship Hall we have long recognized grief as an obstacle in the recovery process, which is the reason our grief group was developed and our extended treatment program delves deeply into the process.
Grief can often feel like being stuck in quick sand and barely keeping your head above the surface. What better way to “escape” from the pain than alcohol or drugs? The chemicals can keep us “numb”, but as soon as you attempt to get sober, the feelings that have not been addressed rear their ugly heads and the temptation to return to what you know “works” comes back with a vengeance.
We challenge the notion of grief as something you “get over”, or as something that can be done a right way or a wrong way. We face head-on the grief that comes from being in active addiction, the multiple losses…family relationships, control of your life, financial stability, health, friends to overdose, and the list goes on. These are the losses that are often over looked or negated, but are no less painful.
Recovery requires breaking this cycle, stepping into the grief work, developing skills for addressing uncomfortable feelings, and freeing ourselves from being “stuck”. Healthy grief work restores hope, a necessary commodity that drives recovery. At Fellowship Hall, we believe one of our primary jobs is to restore hope for the still suffering alcoholic and/or addict.
Over the years we have witnessed the positive impact addressing grief can have on an individual’s recovery. The goal is learning healthy ways of addressing grief so you can learn how to move with life again. It’s not about moving on, it’s about moving with and incorporating the experiences into the fabric of your story.
We know that a little bit of hope can make a big difference for someone feeling mired in the quick sand of their grief. Healing doesn’t mean the pain never existed. It means the pain no longer controls your life. Never forget, pain is real, but so is hope.
Fellowship Hall’s Interim President and CEO Mike Yow, MA, LCAS and Clinical Director Kelly Scaggs, LCSW, LCAS, CSI, ICAADC will present a FREE workshop titled “Grief and the Chemically Dependent” at the Dilworth Center in Charlotte, NC on Friday, October 28. To register to attend this free event, please click here.
Clinical Director Kelly S.Scaggs, LCSW, LCAS, CCS, MAC, ICAADC has over 25 years of experience in behavioral health. She holds a Bachelor’s degree in Psychology from Mercer University in Macon, Georgia and a Master’s of Social Work from the University of South Florida in Tampa, Florida.