There are five phases of grieving.
1. Denial, 2. Anger, 3. Bargaining, 4.Depression and the final phase is 5. Acceptance.
People deal with loss in many different ways. Some get very depressed and stay in that mode for quite some time, some may keep themselves excessively busy to keep their minds off of it. There are other’s to that just go numb for a time. No matter how they choose to deal with their pain and grief, in order to move on, they must go through all five phases. To an alcoholic or an addict, it becomes an even bigger reason to get tossed. We do it because we don’t want to feel. We want to turn everything inward and wait for it to go away. By doing that, we never get rid of the pain, in fact, it escalates and gives us more and more reasons to get tossed. We stay stuck in the first 4 stages. It’s a vicious cycle that keeps going until we break it.
When my father died in 1985, I stayed drunk, when my daughter died, I stayed in such a depression that I didn’t want to get out of bed let alone drink….Acceptance was never something I dealt with. That is the way I handled loss…..I didn’t. The alcohol made not dealing with it so much easier. Why would I want do feel all that pain when a bottle of Jack Daniels would take it away instantly??? It just made more sense to me. But here’s the thing…..All that did was tear me up more and more. Did my misery and suffering change the fact that they were gone? “No” but of course that never occurs to us.
Some may swear up and down that it is not possible to deal with a death and not get trashed. I was one of those people. In my time of sobriety, I have dealt with three deaths of people that I knew and loved and remained sober. To push it further, on July 3rd 2014 I lost someone who, although was not my biological child, was one of my kids just the same in a horrific car accident. She was 32 years old, leaving behind a huge family including a 15 year old son.
The driver was drunk and high,
hit a guard rail causing the truck to go air born, only to hit the ground, slide 153 feet and slam into a pole where the SUV busted into pieces upon impact.. There were three people in that car, there were no survivors. This is the reality of what could happen when you get behind the wheel under the influence:
Driving drunk is a whole different blog and I will touch base on it when I’m not so pissed of…..Anyway, Margarita’s death hit me like 80 tons of steel and I do not have the luxury of tuning it all out. In fact, the thought of having a shot hasn’t even entered my mind thank God. No matter how bad I’m hurting, I know that NOTHING will get better if I do. It could only get worse. I must now join the rest of the “normal” people and go through all the phases of grieving. Does it suck? Sure does. Dealing with “Emotional” sobriety always was harder for me than physical sobriety. Feelings was something I NEVER dealt with. In fact the ONLY emotion I had no problem showing was anger. Today I know that drinking will not solve a damn thing. In fact, it will make it worse. The minute a drink hits my lips, I’m a goner.
I wrote this the day before the funeral. I flew back home for it which was difficult for me as it was. I’m dealing with all these emotions that are new to me, yet I’m STILL sober. My point is, it IS extremely possible to do it no matter how bad the pain is. I plan on returning home and on July 18th, I plan on picking up my four year chip. That is what I plan to do. This tragic death of my near and dear is not going to set me back and put the past four years to waste. I’m broken at the moment to say the very least, but today I have the tools and the knowledge to get through it without having to pick up. Although I’m far from home, I looked up the nearest meetings, I rely on my Higher Power, I’m in constant contact with my sponsor and by writing this, I’m staying sober. Nothing is impossible.
July 7, 2014
AJ Menendez, Master Male Illusionist