Coping with loss, even when there is not technically a loss

I write this in fair spirits as i sip an ice cold coke and wonder what the day has in store for me. A wonderful amalgamation of actively stimulated spirits and confusion among the emotions have titilized my motivation to write of a subject that has made me ponder life in general as a whole….as a parent of a student who has just recently graduated from high school.

Loss is difficult when faced with it, especially unplanned loss, but what happens when we know the changes in our lives are coming? I knew my son was graduating and that my emotions would be high, but….I was not prepared for the emotional mental shitshow that was about to bless me with upon watching my son walk down the aisle to accept his diploma.

So lets first talk about loss. The unplanned removal of someone in our lives. Whether it be death, relocation, break ups-we all know what loss is. Do we consciously know what it does to our hearts though. It is sheer terror accompanied by fear and heartbreak. PTSD accompanies loss whether we realize it or not. It can stimulate desires to overindulge in bad decisions and can create long term effects.

Preparing for loss is simple, while my son is going to college, he isn’t “gone”. But he will be away from home. He will not be there when I want to pal around or just chat as we often do. I fear for the bond that we have to disinigrate over time as he learns what it is like to become an adult, but I also hope this is an opportunity for him to learn and love what he is foing.

While my fears may be of the selfish variety, he has been instrumental in my sobriety AND he is only a phone call away. I have prepared for this, but it is still going to be hard for me. I feel honestly that i AM strong enough in my sobriety for it not to affect that, but that doesn’t make heartbreak and the feeling of loss any less insignificant. He is proud of me as I am of him. And I look forward to visits to school and from him to home, which will deplete over time….let’s be realistic. However, the tears shed have been those of pride.

When we lose someone to death, our minds take a similar approach, however the loved one wont be returning to visit. While this too is difficult, we have to rely on memories and photographs to sustain our joy. I can only imagine what my life will be like when I have to put my dog down, and the loss of one of my parents or step parents will be detrimental to me. BUT this again is an expected loss. We will never be “ready” for it, but coming to terms with the inevitable, before it happens, can be the difference between relapse and sobriety.

While this blog does not necessarily focus on recovery, there is no secret or surprise that I am a member of the Bill W club. For someone who is not in a recovery state, this affords the opportunity to simply identify potential triggers for a loved one that is. Hopefully to ubderstand that a lot of coping comes from using. Not necessarily alcohol or deugs, but things like eating, gambling, intercourse/masturbation, pleasure seeking activites such as extreme sports or idiotic behaviors. Be aware and be conscious of these types of things, and do your best to help someone through the difficult times.

One of the worst things I ever could have done is to think one drink was okay after a period of sobriety. That one drink could easily have gotten out of hand worse than it did. People don’t eat themselves to death typically-but gluttony is possible form of death over time. Gambling can have substantial socio-economic impacts on a family resulting in loss or home or power, sexual addiction and behaviors can cause unplanned pregnancy, transmission of STI’s and death if the spouse finds out

These are things we do not think of on a normal basis, just understand that loss can cause these instincts in addicts-or create addicts out of those who are not affected initially.

~GH

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