Grief can be triggered by many events in life. People often associate grief with the death of a loved one, but grief can occur whenever something important is lost. Divorce, the loss of a job, or having to give up a life-long dream can all affect us dramatically. Even smaller events can trigger less intense feelings of grief. Grief is a healthy part of coping with loss, and most people move through the grieving process and achieve resolution naturally.
In some cases, however, the grieving process is interrupted. This can occur for a number of reasons. Sometimes, people do not have the freedom to grieve due to family, personal or professional demands. For example, someone dealing with the loss of a parent may be forced to focus more on practical matters such as arranging care for the other parent or wrapping up other end-of-life issues. Grieving gets put on the back burner while more immediate needs are met.
In other cases, a traumatic loss may cause the person to put off grieving because it is too painful to address at the time. While this may be a solution in the short term, eventually the person will need to confront the pain. Other times, the person may not have the emotional skills necessary to move through the process on her own.
Grief and Loss Therapy is an important part of addiction treatment at Avery Lane because unresolved feelings of loss can lead to substance misuse. When dealing with emotional pain, women may turn to drugs and alcohol to dull the pain. When the feelings persist, such self-medication can result in ongoing substance misuse and subsequent addiction.
At Avery Lane, Grief and Loss Therapy is a way of helping our women whose grieving process has stalled or remains incomplete for any number of reasons reasons. It is also useful in cases where the triggering event for our women participants was trauma in any of its forms. Grief and Loss Therapy help women in treatment at Avery Lane work through the phases of grief when it first occurs so that it does not become a recurring problem later. However, in cases where the grief event is long past, the therapy can help women confront feelings that they had avoided at the time. In either case, our goal is to provide a chance for healthy grieving and resolution of painful feelings.