Wednesday, July 15, 2009

5 Stages of Grief

The 5 stages of grief
1. Denial
2. Anger
3. Bargaining
4. Depression
5. Acceptance

Death. Divorce. Relocation. Alcoholism.

Just a few life situations people grieve over. Death usually being the only "acceptable" loss that people tend to allow those stages to process. What I mean is if I were to call a friend, crying and in depair over what the drunk ahs done or not do, typically Id get a "Fuck him, the asshole" or "Just dump him already". They dont know how we family members grieve the "living" death of alcoholism , on a daily basis and go through these stages continuously.

When I began the grief over 5 years ago, when I ended my relationship with my ex husband, I was in horrible, gut wrenching pain. I went to therapy, attended 2 meetings a day, 3 on weekends and read everything I could on grief, healing, codependency. Anything that would help me in a hurry. I was dead, but still feeling. A horrible combination.

I learned that the 5 stages dont necessarily occur in the order listed above and that the stages can return, at any time. Its not as if I experienced each stage for a specific period of time, and then when I got to acceptance, BAM! all better now! Nope.

With Alcoholism, the stages never end. They peak, then they fall. Some days I am in full acceptance that this man Ive known since age 17 has abandoned his only child and is a hate filled, selfish pig. I can go through a day with no problem knowing his stole $20,000 from his college fund and hasnt repaid a cent.

Then there are other days.....where my heart is heavy with deep seeded grief and the anger overwhelms me. I want to beat the anger out of me, into him. I dont act on it, just feel it, which is probably worse.

Some days I want to "sober him up" (bargaining) talk him into right thinking, help him "see the light. Yeah....always works, right? Luckily, it doesnt happen all that much anymore.

Alcoholism is a living death, where the grieving never ends. Thats why the 12 step fellowships exist. "We understand as perhaps few others can"......and we serve to nurture each other through the pain. A day at a time.


Syd said...

You are right on with this. I like the new Al-Anon book about transforming our losses. There are many kinds of losses. As you said, alcoholism is a living death.