It’s Good Friday.
And—Easter is coming!
Recently, a friend was sharing with me about losing her best friend to cancer. We were talking about grief and what that looked like. We are both in recovery. She mentioned that it felt overwhelming and exhausting—a lot like early sobriety.
When we lose people in our lives, how do we go on without them? When we give up drinking and drugging, it is almost like a death. We don’t know how to live our lives without that yet. That thing that has always been there—our addiction—an old friend. Comfort. Whether it was to mask the loss temporarily, or to just not deal with it—it worked. For a while. Then it didn’t.
Death has always been a drinking trigger for me. Death took me to my bottom around this time of year in 2004. In the last five years, I have lost my mother, sister and niece. I have not had to drink over any of those losses. I still have the sadness that never goes away, just diminishes over time. I never liked the terms closure or move on. To me, those terms imply ending or leaving behind. With the loss of people I love, I want to carry those memories of them with me into the future and into my life going forward. I am not trying to get over them. Even though they are not here anymore, they are still with me.
My go-to on loss, is to be mad. Mad is easier than sad for me. This has been my pattern. Mad seems productive and I can express that in a way that doesn’t hurt others, through exercise, walking, writing, and talking about it. Just crying about it does not help for me. Although, it does feel like healing is happening after the tears. Allowing the stages of grief process to unfold is so hard because I am a control freak, but is necessary for moving forward.
Drinking is not an option for me now. So, instead of drinking when I feel my grief starting to overwhelm, I do the same things I did in early sobriety—
• Don’t isolate.
• Go to meetings.
• Talk to people and tell them what I am feeling.
• Go for a walk with the dogs.
• Pray to God for strength and comfort.
A year ago at this time, I lost my sister. I am reminded of her because the finches are building their nests now again around our house. Last year, they built one of their nests in a light fixture on our deck. My nephew (my sister’s oldest son) reminded me that “new life is found in the light!” I love that—and will forever remember to stay in the light of new life.
I have to not dwell in dark thinking, but know that there will always be new life in the light. The darkness of this world cannot overcome the light of God. With life and light, we can move boldly through the darkness of this world as a witness for the one who is the source of light.
“The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it.” John 1:5
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