Sunday, June 12, 2011

Grief Is Part of Recovery

Once, I was talking to a woman who sought help. She said she made a terrible mistake of being in a relationship with a married man. Her grief so deep, she developed dark thoughts of suicide.  For her, the relationship was a primary source of nurturing. The end of that relationship was like death to her.  Yet she admitted powerlessness to the illness and pathological relationship, and acknowledged her need for help.

Grief is part of the beginning of recovery. Severe grief reactions are caused by varieties of major life changes or traumas, such as death of spouse or child, loss of employment, broken marriage/divorce etc. In all of these situations, the signs of grief are predictable.  Among these often include confusion about how to act and what to do, feelings of alienation, sadness over wasted life and unfulfilled expectations, desire for a quick fix, feelings of exposure, failure to take care of self, uncontrollable emotions, and others.

Therapy, whether individual or group-based, helps one go through the grieving process. Concerned friends, relatives, and church brethren may also support the sufferer in grieving over the loss of a pathological or life-damaging relationship or obsession. Hopefully, along the way, there will be a leap of trust acknowledging a Higher Power who can help regain sanity.  By turning one's life to the Higher Power, one can make meaning out of the pain. Like Victor Frankl's experience in the Nazi concentration camp, suffering has meaning in a spiritual context.

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