Recovery is a beautiful and miraculous process. Over the course of just a few months, family members can watch their loved one transform from the picture of desperation to an example of hope. Through recovery, people learn how to change their lives, live differently, and find new meaning.
Recovery is not easy in the beginning. Indeed, life is not always easy. Living without the proper coping mechanisms can make life feel like an endless struggle. For many, the ability to get through that struggle doesn’t seem to come. They don’t practice using the tools they’ve been given. Most problematically, they lose their sense of meaning in continuing to try.
One of the gifts of recovery is gaining new friends. Growing up in a fellowship surrounded by peers who are in the same phase of recovery is an unparalleled experience. Tragically, one of the realities of recovery is this: not everyone makes it.
Drug overdose and death related to alcoholism occurs every single day. A consideration portion of those lives lost are people who were recently in treatment or have been in recovery at some point in their lives. For a loved one in the treatment process or living a new life of recovery, losing close friends and acquaintances is an unfortunate part.
What Comes Up
Losing a friend to a shared illness is deeply unsettling. When your loved one’s friend passes from the disease of addiction, your loved one will be reminded of how serious recovery needs to be taken. What it is that causes one person to relapse but inspires another to stay sober is a mystery. Some call it luck while others call it willingness. Remind your loved one they are doing a magnificent job in their program. Tell them how inspired you are by their dedication to their sobriety and about your faith in their ability to maintain lifelong recovery.
How to be supportive
The truth is, unless you are in recovery from addiction as well, there is no way for you to know. Working through treatment to gain a better understanding of oneself so as not to relapse and potentially die and alcoholic or addicted death is a unique journey. Support your loved one by honestly telling them you can’t imagine what they’re going through. You have, likely, lost someone in your life before. Show sympathy and compassion to your loved one by letting them know the pain of grief is universal. Offer to take them to sober support meetings, accompany them to services, and be available to talk whenever they need.
Avalon By The Sea offers aftercare and an alumni program to graduates as a way to keep in touch and stay supported. Ongoing accountability through program participation helps ensure long term sobriety. For more information on our long term methods of care, call 1 (855) 638-7321.