Death is an unfortunate part of the recovery process. Relapse happens, though it doesn’t have to. Though many people who relapse tell themselves they are only interested in just one more time, using for a short period, or that they are going to have it under control, this isn’t the case. Relapse has no guarantees. After going through a detox and withdrawals, the body has brought its tolerance back down to ground level. The brain, on the other hand, has not. Once the thoughts of relapse start cycling, the brain craves the most recent amount of pleasure it experienced from using drugs and alcohol. Upon relapsing at that level, the body cannot hold up. Whether it is immediately upon relapse or shortly thereafter, overdose occurs.
When a loved one enters treatment for recovery and commits to a lifetime of abstinence in recovery, they are likely to know and lose many people in their life. Watching a loved one witness the loss of a friend, who is like a comrade in a fight for life, is devastating. As their supporter, family member, or friend, you might experience some conflicting feelings about this. How could they be sad? You feel terrible for thinking that way because it is critical, lacking compassion, and resentful. Death is part of addiction. It is an unfortunate reality that everyone, even those who aren’t addicted, have to face eventually. You watched, possibly for years, as your loved one risked their life every day with drugs and alcohol. There is little experience in the world like loving someone who could overdose on drugs and alcohol at any moment. When they experience that sadness and that grief, you cannot help but think about the years of sadness and grief you experienced. You lived with the fear and now your loved one in recovery is living with that reality in others. Your resentment doesn’t feel good, but it’s understandable. While your resentment may be justified, it is also a choice.
Resentment is the bitterness we hold onto in the hopes that it would hurt someone else. In this particular situation, resentment is blocking you from growing a deeper relationship with your loved one. You have an opportunity to heal those years of pain now that your loved one is living in recovery. By holding onto resentment, you hold onto the past, which directly interrupts the experience of the present. Hold your loved one while they cry. Tell them that you understand that fear, the pain, and the sorrow. Together you can heal and continue trudging the road of recovery.
Cottonwood Tucson offers an integrative approach to the treatment of co-occurring disorders. Our residential treatment programs are internationally recognized for clinical excellence. We provide a family program and family therapy which helps the family learn how to navigate recovery together. Call us today for more information: (800) 877-4520