No matter which path you’ve chosen for your journey to recovery, life doesn’t pause, and finding out that a loved one has passed can be devastating. You may be experiencing sadness and guilt (ex. “I should have focused on them more instead of myself”), anger (ex. “Why would they leave me here like this?”), hopelessness (ex. “You’re gone, and I can’t do this without you”), and more. These thoughts are normal; the 5 stages of grief tell us that almost all of us experience denial, anger, bargaining, depression, and eventually acceptance as we come to terms with the news. However, it’s important not to let your emotions cause you to stop your progress in recovery. The tools you’ve learned so far are to be used at any time – even in the most devastating of situations.
A 2017 study published in Issues in Mental Health Nursing conducted interviews with parents in recovery from substance use disorders to find what self-care they employed on a daily basis. The following are some tools they listed:
- Meaningful connections with recovery support – reaching out to therapists, group leaders, and peers in recovery who can support them in times of need
- Taking care of physical health through healthy eating and exercise
- Maintaining spirituality – practicing mindfulness, meditation, attending religious-based groups, etc.
- Journaling – writing their thoughts and feelings each day
- Continuing education – staying in an enrollment program towards a certificate or degree
- Staying busy – completing tasks or chores, partaking in a healthy activity, etc.
- Establishing boundaries – saying “no” when a person or situation doesn’t feel conducive to their recovery
- Self-monitoring – paying close attention to their own stress and triggers
- Abstinence – no longer using substances
- Dealing with destructive emotions – using cognitive approaches like cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) techniques or other tools learned in recovery to break down destructive thought patterns and move forward in a healthy manner
If you haven’t already, practice these forms of self-care. Utilize all the tools and support that you can right now. This is the time to take especially diligent care of yourself, giving yourself as much love and kindness as possible. We can’t always control outside circumstances in life, but we can do the best that we can to make each day meaningful.
Simple Recovery is a world-renowned, California state-licensed substance abuse recovery center. We offer dual diagnosis treatment, so if you are experiencing both substance abuse and symptoms of a mental disorder, call us today at 888-743-0490 so that we can work with you to restore your happiness, health, and well-being. You do not have to continue living this way; there are many people here ready to help you.