Our past reliance on drugs was akin to a relationship. Drugs became our closest friends—we relied on them for a fleeting moment of relief from our inner turmoil, and overtime the relationship grew into complete dependence. Saying goodbye to something that we grew to depend on so strongly can be difficult, and we often go through a process of mourning the metaphorical death of our addiction. According to Dr. Elisabeth Kubler-Ross, in her 1969 book On Death and Dying, an individual goes through five stages of grief. Everyone grieves differently, and may experience the different ways and different orders, but they include: denial, anger, bargaining, depression, and acceptance. The first stage is denial, and as men and women suffering from the disease of addiction, most of us are very familiar with this stage of grieving. According to psychotherapist Dr. Regina Walker, in her article Addiction and the Five Stages of Grief, “Oftentimes both family and the individual will convince themselves that there is no problem with alcohol or drugs or, at least, the problem is not a significant one and certainly not out of control. Frequently, those around the addict will move past the denial stage prior to the addicted individual.” Following denial, we may experience anger at ourselves and others for our problem with drugs and alcohol when we are faced with the consequences and can no longer deny there is a problem. We are angry at ourselves for sinking so deeply into addiction, at our friends and family for reacting to our addiction, and even God for letting us become addicted. Next, we enter into a bargaining phase. At this point, we may try all sorts of ways to stop using drugs or drinking. We may say, “I won’t be addicted if I just regulate my drinking” or, “I’ll just drink instead of using hard drugs.” Inevitably, we will fail in our bargaining attempts, bringing us closer to the realization that we suffer from a disease that cannot be controlled by our own willpower. Depression follows when we come to the realization that we need to find a way to live without drugs or alcohol. We are saddened that we have caused so much harm through our addiction, but this sets the stage for the final stage: acceptance. Dr. Walker explains, “Acceptance is the time when the addict admits there is a problem and takes action to change the situation. This stage, for the addict, is focused on resolution of the problem and is very much an action stage, in contrast to the common perception that the acceptance stage for the terminally ill is one of passive acceptance.” We finally accept the reality of our disease and know, at the core of our being, that we must reach out if we are ever to find a solution.
There is a solution, and recovery can be the next great chapter of your story. You can out an end to the suffering caused by addiction and alcoholism by accepting there is a problem and reaching out for help today. Oceanfront Recovery, a treatment center in beautiful Laguna Beach, is staffed with experience professionals who understand the disease of addiction and are dedicated to guiding you on the journey toward sobriety. For more information about treatment options, please call today: (877) 279-1777