Losing a loved one is never easy, especially because of substance abuse. The grief you need to face seems unfathomable. The agony is so deep that you sometimes question why you have to undergo such a phase.

Substance Abuse-Related Deaths

The number of recorded deaths from drug and alcohol addiction in the United States has been notably high. It was observed, too, that the reported cases have been on the rise.

The National Institute on Drug Abuse shared that based on the CDC Wonder’s latest figures, drug overdose claimed at least 72,000 lives in 2017 (provisional report only). Among the recorded drug abuse-related deaths, around 30,000 were due to synthetic opioids fentanyl and fentanyl analogs. The reported deaths last year showed an increase of 100 percent compared to a decade ago.

Meanwhile, alcohol addiction is another reason a person is losing a loved one in the U.S. According to the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism, approximately 88,000 individuals die of alcohol-related issues each year. Of this figure, 62,000 are male, while 26,000 are female. It was also revealed 9,967 deaths due to alcohol-impaired driving were recorded in 2014. This represented 31 percent of the total driving fatalities during the said year.

This alarming data on substance abuse-related deaths shows that interventions must be made. It must be noted that losing a loved one can be avoided if something is done. It is, therefore, crucial that professional help is considered to stop drug and alcohol dependents from deadly consequences.

The Strong Emotion After Losing a Loved One

Grief is a normal reaction whenever you lose someone or something of great value to you. Nevertheless, when the feeling continues over time instead of fading, it may be difficult to rise up again and get back on your feet.

As you experience this strong and overwhelming emotion after losing a loved one, you undergo several stages of grief.

Denial or Disbelief

Denial is considered a defense mechanism, someone’s refusal to accept the loss. This can be a conscious or unconscious response.


You are upset and showing anger because of your desire to be detached from anybody as you grieve the passing away of someone important.


You could be thinking about doing more to prevent a loved one from dying. You blame yourself for the person’s death.


The loss gives you a deep sense of sadness. You could end up crying hard after remembering the person and the memories you shared in the past.


What could life be with the person you adore the most? How would you go on with life?

These could be the things running inside your brain as you succumb to grief.


The melancholy of losing a loved one due to alcohol or drug abuse could push you to stay away from people. You want to grieve alone until you stop doing the activities you used to love.

Moving On After Losing a Loved One

If you have lost someone dear to you due to drug addiction or alcoholism, we understand that you may have deep and lingering sadness. However, there could also be that feeling of breaking free from that emotion. Here are some tips on how you can deal with it successfully:

Learn to Accept

Acceptance is key to moving on. You need to realize that the person is no longer coming back. You have to understand that you need to move on because there are other loved ones who need you and depend on you.

Take Time to Recover

Amid the fact that you must accept what happened, you must also understand that healing takes time. Therefore, give yourself some time to grieve.

Be Active

You need to be actively involved in social commitments instead of isolating yourself. By keeping yourself busy, you forget about grieving while feeling fulfilled because of the opportunity to help others.

Embrace a Healthy Lifestyle

Rather than letting your feelings destroy your health, make it a motivation to live a healthy lifestyle. Make it a point to follow a balanced diet and regularly spend time in the gym.

Keep Hobbies

You tend to forget about the things you used to do a lot prior to losing a loved one because of substance abuse. This should not be the case. You must continue doing your hobbies, especially when they bring you happiness and fulfillment.

Make Yourself a Priority

No matter how heavy your heart feels, never forget to love yourself. Make yourself a priority by taking care of yourself. Eat well. Rest. Enjoy.

Have a Break

Have you been dreaming of visiting a new place? Or, do you want to go back to your favorite travel destination? Do you want to reconnect with an old friend? Now is the time to schedule a vacation and take some time off!

Whether the destination is near or far, it does not matter. What is important is you give yourself the chance to relax and have fun.

Do Not Hesitate to Share

Losing a loved one could be debilitating. You somehow believe that your ability to live has been impaired.

Learn to share your thoughts and insights with others, especially with those you can relate to. Have an outlet to share your thoughts and the grief you experience.

Consider Other Loved Ones

While you become preoccupied with grieving for a loved one lost because of addiction to drugs or alcohol, try to consider the other loved ones who could have been waiting for you to be back on track. Think of their welfare.

The impact of addiction on the lives of others can never be denied. Therefore, everyone must realize the negative effects of substance abuse so that no one would ever experience the pain of losing a loved one.

Medical disclaimer:

Sunshine Behavioral Health strives to help people who are facing substance abuse, addiction, mental health disorders, or a combination of these conditions. It does this by providing compassionate care and evidence-based content that addresses health, treatment, and recovery.

Licensed medical professionals review material we publish on our site. The material is not a substitute for qualified medical diagnoses, treatment, or advice. It should not be used to replace the suggestions of your personal physician or other health care professionals.

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