Grief, Loss, Alcoholism, and Addiction

The connection between grief, loss, alcoholism, and addiction may be inextricably intertwined for some individuals.

Those who struggle with alcoholism, drug addiction, or process addictions may have underlying, unresolved issues with grief.

Those who are mourning a significant loss may turn to alcohol or other mind and/or mood-altering drugs or behaviours to numb the pain associated with their grief. For some, this may lead to alcoholism, drug addiction or other debilitating patterns of behaviour.

So, what to deal with first?

If alcoholism, drug addiction, or one of the many process addictions is the presenting issue, an individual should first seek assistance to address their alcoholism or addiction before contemplating going through the Grief Recovery Method®.

Depending on the presenting issue, one might access assistance through 12-Step recovery programs (AA, NA, CA, GA, SA), inpatient or outpatient treatment for addiction or alcoholism, (which may or may not require intervention), therapy (CBT or other modalities), recovery coaches, sober companions, alternate recovery-oriented solutions (i.e. SMART Recovery or Refuge Recovery), community-based programs (i.e. Canadian Mental Health Association or local mental health associations) or a combination thereof.

For many addicts and alcoholics, surrendering their drug, or behaviour of choice is, in and of itself, a grieving experience. After all, it was what they used to numb or mask the painful and uncomfortable feelings they were experiencing. Despite the destructive nature of alcoholism and addiction, for many, solace had been found in the bottle, the drug den, or perhaps the casino. However, once clean and sober or abstinent, failing to address underlying grief issues may be a potential relapse trigger. While the tools provided through 12-Step meetings, therapy or other modalities may help an individual work through a number of issues, there are instances where taking the actions outlined in the Grief Recovery Method® would be highly recommended to address the grief and loss issues that may underpin the usage.

I am in long term recovery myself. I have considerable lived experience that allows me to support others in their quest to be free from addiction. I also work with a number of professionals who provide intervention services, sober companion services, recovery coaching services as well as therapeutic services. Please contact me at if you would like a referral to industry professionals, treatment facilities, or detox centers.

If alcohol or drug consumption has temporarily increased following a significant emotional loss, or if other addictive pursuits (gambling, compulsive eating, sex addiction, etc.) have impaired an individual’s ability to participate fully in life, one may see a levelling off of these behaviours by taking the actions outlined in the Grief Recovery Method®.

If you would like to have a conversation to discuss how alcoholism or addiction may be impacting your grief, or how grief may be compounding your use, please call me at 403-510-3141 to schedule a free 30-minute consultation. I would be happy to provide referrals to industry professionals if desired or to discuss which of my offerings might suit your needs.