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Grief/Loss and Addiction

When one enters into recovery, they go through a process of grief not much different than grieving the loss of a loved one. Losing our substance of choice and the rituals around it as well as other behaviors is challenging. It’s much like losing a “best friend”, “only coping skill I know”, “long time practice of escaping or dealing with stress”, “the only celebration, reward or fun in my life”, etc.Understanding the stages of grief, as written by Elizabeth Kubler- Ross, can help us identify what it is we are going through and learn how to get to the other side of the pain.



There are 5 classic stages of grief, and the key to moving through them is our attitude. We can choose to move through them with a sense of challenge, expectation and excitement over what lies ahead for us!



Kubler Ross’s 5 Stages of Grief include Denial, Anger, Bargaining, Depression, and Acceptance. Coping with the grieving process can also be very difficult. The following is a list of healthy ways to deal: Staying physically healthy, making meaning (looking to make sense of, and derive meaning from difficult situations), honoring the loss, taking time for loss and time for life, and accept your feelings.



The AToN Program Principles that are touched on in Grief and Loss material include Manage Emotions, Live with Higher Purpose and Cope with Cravings.




Kate Judd

CD Counselor

AToN Center 888-535-1516