How Grief Counseling Aids Addiction Recovery

Losing someone you love is a serious obstacle, and it can often be the catalyst that leads to substance abuse or addiction. In addiction treatment, it isn't enough to just address the physical aspects of addiction. Grief counseling may be necessary to find true recovery and happiness.

Understanding and Acknowledging Grief

Client Going Through Grief CounselingOften, individuals and their loved ones aren't aware that grief is impacting their recovery. It can be beneficial to learn more about what grief is, what causes it, and why it plays a role in the development of an addiction.

Grief is the emotional reaction to any kind of loss. Typically, people associate grief with the death of a loved one or a family member. While this is common, grief can also be caused by other serious losses in life. This might be a diagnosis of infertility, moving away from home, getting divorced, or being affected in a natural disaster.

Grief is something that can and should be respected. It’s a natural response to a negative change or shift in life, and it can upset balance. While grief is natural, not all responses to grief are healthy.

Grief is just one of the many factors that can lead to the development of an alcohol or drug addiction. Through grief counseling, individuals can be better equipped to fight back against relapse and the risks of addiction in the future.

Finding Healthier Coping Mechanisms

Although grief is a normal reaction to loss, some of the coping mechanisms are far from healthy. Specifically, many people turn to substance abuse to deal with grief. During addiction treatment, individuals can find and develop their own healthier coping mechanisms.

One of the objectives of grief counseling in addiction treatment is to discover the right coping mechanisms for every individual. Some people may uncover a love for hiking or physical fitness. Others can develop a passion for art or music, both of which can be incredibly therapeutic. Still more will find comfort in spirituality.

Improving Mental Health

There’s no question that grief is tied to mental health. Grief can be overwhelming, leading to mood disorders as well as serious diagnoses like depression and anxiety. Sometimes, grief counseling will need to treat mental health in order to make a real difference in recovery.

If a client leaves rehab sober, but still in a poor state of mental health, they’re likely to relapse. They may not have developed the coping skills needed to achieve emotional and mental stability. At The Clearing, we focus on improving mental health throughout the treatment process. This allows clients to be stronger and more prepared for the challenges that lie ahead.

Allowing for True Mourning

Sometimes, grief therapy is the first chance that patients have to truly mourn for their loss. In the chaos of life, some people never feel that they have the right, the time or the ability to grieve properly. In counseling, clients can talk at length about why the loss impacts them and how it makes them feel.

In many cases, the simple act of mourning can kickstart the recovery process. Letting out grief can be cathartic, helping patients move toward their ultimate goal of lifelong sobriety and stability.

Seeing the Light at the End of the Tunnel

At The Clearing, individuals can start to see the light at the end of the tunnel. The combination of grief and addiction can be overwhelming, and some people feel like they are drowning. The Clearing can be the life-raft that helps individuals get to solid ground.

To achieve spiritual, mental, physical and emotional stability, there are several treatment methods that can be employed. A comprehensive approach is ideal, and will include any or all of the following methods:

  • 12-steps alternative recovery program
  • Extensive individual talk therapy
  • Group therapy
  • Family counseling
  • Opportunities to give back and be productive
  • Dual diagnosis support as needed

Substance abuse programs that include grief counseling are a necessity for many patients. At The Clearing on San Juan Island, Washington, patients can overcome grief, addiction and any other obstacles standing in the way of health and happiness.

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