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Grief

Steps Recovery Center recognizes how vital the mind, body, and spirit are in their connection to the whole person. We take a holistic approach to treating those individuals with addiction, which includes treating the whole person, and find that it tends to be more successful, especially since addiction affects every aspect of a person’s life. With a customized and individualized program, a holistic approach just makes sense. It affords an opportunity to meet the patient’s physical and psychological needs and allows them to engage physically, emotionally, and mentally.
Stages of Grief
Grief can take many forms, such as the loss of a job, loved one, relationship, or other challenging life events. There’s an overall timeline to grief, which is never linear, and has five stages: denial, anger, bargaining, depression, and acceptance. The stages of grief are different for each individual, with some not going through all the stages, to others that go through each stage, and maybe even loop back around to some.
Denial
The first reaction to someone learning about a particularly hard fact, such as terminal illness or death of a loved one, is to deny the reality of the situation. People may say, “This isn’t happening” or “You must be mistaken.” It’s a normal reaction to rationalize an overwhelming emotion. It’s also a defense mechanism that helps us cope with the immediate shock of the loss, which numbs our emotions. We block out the words coming from people’s mouths and hide from the facts until we can comprehend them. Sometimes, people may think life is not worth living, and nothing is of any value anymore. This stage, thankfully, is a transient response to help us carry on through the first wave of pain.
Anger
As denial starts wearing off, reality hits, and anger arrives. We begin to curse God, or someone else we feel is to blame. We redirect our emotions to inanimate objects, strangers, friends, and even family. It may also be directed to our dying or deceased loved ones. We may blame them for leaving us alone or not getting help or treatment earlier. A physician who diagnosed the family member or did the surgery that resulted in death is usually the target of our anger. Even though it’s irrational to think that way, it’s another normal reaction to the situation.
Bargaining
This stage involves feelings of normal reactions of vulnerability and helplessness. It’s often a need to regain control over the situation by using “If only” statements. Some of these statements may be:
  • If only we got another opinion
  • If only we saw the signs earlier
  • If only we got treatment sooner
  • If only they never left at that time (if a loved one dies in a car accident) or took another route
These are attempts to bargaining with God or a higher power to postpone the inevitable, with the accompanying pain. Even though it’s not as strong as denial, it still helps people cope with a painful reality. Guilt usually follows bargaining with the feeling that the person could have done something differently to prevent death. 
Depression
There are two types of depression with grief: reaction to practical implications related to the loss and personal depression, where the person prepares to say goodbye to their loved one. The first one is sadness and regret, and we worry about costs and burial. We also fear that we didn’t spend enough time with the person or that we aren’t spending enough time with family that depends on us while we grieve.
Acceptance
When you reach this stage, it’s usually met with withdrawal and calm. It’s a quiet acceptance of the situation that helps you move forward. Coping with a loss is ultimately a deeply personal and singular experience, and no one can tell you when is the “right” time to move on with your life. The important thing is to have support and comfort while going through the painful process of grief.