Dealing With Grief in Sobriety
Last week brought a terrible loss to many of us in GROW with the passing of Jean L., nicknamed Afgo. I am only one of several women who lost not only a good friend, but a sponsor as well. I’m sure that each of us feels the loss very personally. Despite many health problems, Jean was always loving and supportive, even while she was telling hard truths.
There have been many losses for me in sobriety, including beloved pets, my best friend, and my parents. Each one has been difficult, but the AA program gives me many tools and approaches that helps me walk through the grief in a way that would have been impossible when I was drinking. Each loss turned out to be Another F*^&ing Growth Experience, an Afgo.
There were other losses for which I had to grieve when I first got sober. Not drinking meant losing a whole way of life, a set of “friends,” and most of all, alcohol itself. At first, the prospect of never drinking again was terrifying. Walking away from people and places left me with a very small social circle. But the biggest loss was the booze itself. It had been the constant in my life for decades, always there to numb my senses and emotions, always there to help me avoid life’s stresses and wounds. How was I going to life without it?
Learning to live one day at a time made it easier but, for me, I had to break single days into hours. I had to learn to crawl before I could walk. I had to grieve the loss of a way of life that had become intolerable. I knew it was killing me, but I still felt the loss deeply. I had to write a Dear John letter to my liquid friend. I had to learn how to do things sober. I had to make new friends who did not drink. I had to learn how to cope with uncomfortable feelings. It was the biggest challenge of my life. Thank God for AA, the 12 Steps, and God. Eventually, the hole that not drinking left in my life was filled with hope, love, and confidence.
Please share with us how you have dealt with loss in sobriety, including the loss of alcohol and that way of life.