Dealing with Feelings of Grief After Rehab

Dealing with Feelings of Grief After Rehab


After a few recovery meetings, one of the most often repeated phrases which comes up time and again is how to ‘feel one’s feelings.’ One of the biggest mistakes a person can make in recovery is to deny the emotional component required to stay clean and sober. Feelings and emotions may feel less important than a person’s actions but are worth engaging to stay healthy in recovery. Dealing with feelings of grief after rehab requires focusing on emotional well-being. Learn some tools to support building emotional resilience for the lifelong journey ahead.


Giving Up Addiction

Giving up addiction is like letting go of an old friend and confidant. The source of comfort and way of coping with the world felt safe. Feelings of loss are involved in any process where a person changes seasons in life which may bring up feelings of sadness, loss and isolation. It may even feel like a death has occurred, which speaks to the deep, intimate and intricate nature of addiction. Acknowledging the depth of loss can help an individual move forward in recovery and develop more healthy coping mechanisms.


Recovery Tools

Loss is experienced differently by each individual. Some tools can help heal from the loss of addiction. The stages of grief help provide a framework around which to understand the process and develop positive tools for recovery. Be honest about the process and take the first step to get started.


Denial and Isolation

Any individual walking through grief after addiction will be tempted to deny the addiction happened or that recovery can help. It is difficult to acknowledge feelings, the truth of addiction or confess it to others. Pretending a problem doesn’t exist is easier, but doesn’t make it true.



A person in this stage may ask ‘why me?’ People with addiction have two anger modes: rage-filled and angry or emotional stuffers who pretend not to be angry. Giving up an addiction and facing reality can make a person feel angry and hostile. This period is unavoidable but critical to moving forward through grief.



Many people have bargained throughout life to seek control over drinking or drug use. There is no magic loophole to allow a person to drink and not bring disastrous consequences.



Feelings of rejection, hopelessness or sadness may appear as a person with addiction goes through separation from drugs or alcohol. Fear of the future or a sense of purposelessness can lead to despair. The phase does not last forever. Be honest and open with feelings to others who understand, seek professional support and stay focused on recovery.



Coming to a place of acceptance is important to the recovery journey. Meeting others who are successful in sobriety can help accept sobriety is a choice and it is possible to do what is best and right with help from others to get there.


If you are ready to let go of addiction to open yourself to rehab and recovery, call The Villa. We can provide resources and information about how to get started on the road to health and peace without drugs, alcohol or addiction.