The Breakup: Grieving the loss of a bad relationship

The Breakup: Grieving the loss of a bad relationship

When it comes to my own approach to recovery conversations, I find it easier for people to relate to and accept treatment when I talk about their unhealthy relationship with alcohol or drugs, rather than focusing on the “addiction” or “addict” terminology.

People can relate to the word “relationship” because they understand it.

Adjusting to life without drugs and alcohol is a big change for most people, especially if you were using daily as part of your routine. Just as people find it difficult to adjust to relationship breakdown or death of a friend or family member. They mourn it.

Any loss can exhibit the signs of grief – and when turning your back on drugs and alcohol, the stages of grief are real. Taking time to mourn is part of the healing process.

Below outlines 5 ways come to terms with this loss to encourage successful recovery:


1: Acknowledgment


Admit how important drugs and alcohol were to you. They may have been your best friend, your go to, your hope. It’s not until you acknowledge how important of a role drugs and alcohol were in your life, can you move on. It’s possible for people grieving the loss of drugs and alcohol to see parallels to leaving an unhealthy relationship. “It will be different this time”, (I said this to myself so many times throughout the years), even though the relationship was unhealthy, it was familiar.


2: Cry


Yes, cry!

As a man I urge others to see past the bravado and inflated self and get emotional about it. Crying is a release that can help us feel better.

Research backing up this theory found that; emotional tears have higher levels of stress hormones than reflect tears- the kind you’d get from dust in your eye. It also activates the parasympathetic nervous system which restores the body to balance. So stop telling yourself to man up.


3: Write it down


Putting pen to paper can be healing. Whether you are making a list of things to be grateful for or writing down how you miss getting high, writing can offer a healthy release.


4: Create a goodbye ritual


We have rituals, they are important, they mark a significant period in time, birthdays Christmas dinners. You can also do a ritual to say good bye.




By ritual I don’t mean take, swallow, snort and sniff everything you have around just to get rid of it (tried this, yup, didn’t work). Instead, try flushing your drugs, throwing away your paraphernalia, or burning a list of all the ways alcohol and drugs negatively impacted your life.


5: Find joy


When we lose something we have greatly invested in, we are left with an empty void. You need to fill this positivity, joy and happiness!

You must actively pursue this.

This is the beginning of the rest of your life.

It’s exciting!

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