Thursday, January 17, 2013

Natural Transitions

It's a rainy day here in Richmond, Va where I sit at my desk writing this blog article.  On the way to work this morning, I was trying to think of a happy, positive topic to write about to inspire you to greatness in your life and sobriety.  Unfortunately, life had other plans for me: I'm going to a funeral today.  Cancel that idea.  

Death stinks.  There I said it.  I'm sure you would agree.  Unfortunately, a childhood friend, whom I've known since 1st grade, lost his mother a few days ago to cancer.  I grew up playing basketball at their house and his mother was a very nice lady.  It's an awful loss for anyone.  I was not really close to his mother but I feel I need to go to support my old friend.  And while it is a 'natural transition', that doesn't make the pain any less for those who feel the immediate loss and those who watch unable to remove their pain.  

However, all is not lost.  Life goes on.  The funeral will happen.  His mother will be laid to rest.  Friends and family will express love, sympathy, and condolences.  And life will go on.  

Is it fair?  No.  Is it reality?  Yes.  And 'natural transitions happen to all of us.  Perhaps you can relate from your own experience of losing a loved one.  If you have, I'm sorry for your loss.  If you haven't lost someone you love, please take the time today to tell those you love of their worth to you. None of us are promised anything but this present moment right now.  Let's use this time wisely and connect with those we love.

Much like the loss of someone we love, it is very common for those just entering recovery to experience grief.  When a person decides to get clean and end their relationship with drugs and/or alcohol, it is much like experiencing a death in the family.  This was your closest friend.  Your confidant.  Your teammate.   At least that's what you think at first.  And now it's gone.

However, as grief gives way to understanding, you realize that the drugs and/or alcohol were really none of those things to you.  Your closest friend does not help you slowly kill yourself.  Your closest confidant would tell you that you have a sickness called addiction and that you need help.  A teammate would encourage you to seek help and healing.  Drugs and/alcohol due none of those things.  

So, why do people grieve this 'natural transition' when they quit using?  I believe there are a couple of reasons.  First, there is the biological reality that your brain has to get healthy again and repair itself from the abuse.  The subsequent withdrawal makes people pine for their 'lost love' to come take away the pain.  Second, I believe most of us are a sentimental and pleasure-seeking bunch and we attach ourselves to people, places, and things that give us pleasure.  Last, denial that the 'relationship' we had with drugs and/or alcohol was not a real relationship and just a facade takes a while to sink in and shatter our illusions of reality so we can become grounded in reality.  

The good news is there is help!  Grieving people can take care of themselves!  They can ask for help.  They can talk about their feelings.  They can seek out positive behaviors and positive people for support.  Getting good rest, eating right, and have connection with sober people will go along way in dealing with any residual grief you may encounter as you move further into sobriety. 

What natural transition(s) do you need to make today?  Is there something you desperately need to change but don't know where to start?  Have you started on the path of transition only to turn back after 100 yards?  Perhaps you need to turn around.  There's always time while we're alive to change!

At The Coleman Institute, we specialize in helping people get clean clean and stay clean from alcohol and drugs. If you or someone you love is ready to make the next natural tratransition to sobriety and are in need of detox from opiates, alcohol, benzos, Methadone, or Suboxone, please do not hesitant to call Jennifer Pius or Amy Stewart at 1-877-77-DETOX (33869).  Have a happy, healthy new year!

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