Grief and loss

It could be worse. You’re still alive. The heroin didn’t kill you nor will the grief you feel without it.

Recently, I thought back to the losses I suffered when I chose to be a street junky. Ya know, comforts of home, family, and friends, not amassing vast sums of money, or driving fancy cars. But my body and mind felt terrific. After realizing I had spent hundred’s of thousands of dollars on heroin I got a little sick to my stomach.

At times, the grief for the loss, time, and money was difficult. I knew I could get it back if put in double the time. This path is quite common in early recovery.  It’s not the path to choose because sobriety is about acceptance, surrender, and moving forward into the unknown future.

Your presence requires you to go through processes. The grieving process is a process, but you’ve got to know what you’re grieving.

What did I grieve then in those early days of detox and withdrawal? I kicked with methadone.  Methadone saved my life.

So stop thinking those thoughts and perpetuating a stigma.

Methadone is a life saver

Methadone is a life saver

So what then did I grieve?

I grieved what all junkies grieve. We all said but we sometimes we don’t know what it is, so the grieving process is never really followed. I will illustrate that process another time. It’s important to understand what it is that keeps us in our denial minimizing our use and longing to get high.

I grieved severing the tie to heroin. The relationship I’ve come to love and hate. Co-dependency can be such an abstract concept. Life is unfair, so I chose to stop feeling it’s pangs. The real physical cold and hardness of the streets. The mental turmoil fought in my mind as I fixed up a shot. Knowing I was killing myself slowly and loving every second of it. Hearing and feeling the needle break through scar tissue when a burr catches the skin. Seeing the blood register and then oblivion.

Not being held accountable to living life on life’s terms

Some people find it easier to use when not held accountable. To me, hiding behind a big shot of heroin was like burying my head in my mother’s breast to cry. I never ran to mama crying, Dominick would’ve, but he was never born.

For the record, Dominick was almost my name. My sister talked my mother into changing it to John, seconds before signing my birth certificate.

When I decided to quit, I lost my friend, confidant, lover, and reason to live. I feel that if you understand this grieving process when you enter into sobriety, it might make it go a bit easier.

After some thought, I understood what I lost when I quit getting high. These losses are what make those first days of recovery very difficult. C’mon, I know you’re thinking I wasn’t getting high, I was getting straight, or I was getting well. Stop that thinking now, The pleasure you feel when you go from 0 to 100 in 3 seconds is getting high, no matter how sick you thought you might’ve been.

The list of losses when you decide to quit:

Heroin.  Without heroin, you are no longer able to run and hide from the pain you feel.

Friends and partners. Heroin is the connection to your drug-using negative friends. Is it a big deal? You bitched about them every day, but in the early recovery, you miss them so badly.

I got sober once, and I realized that my partner in crime and I had fallen in love. I thought I loved him, but it was the heroin I missed. Sad, *the writer sighs.*

The crime. Ya know not all of us are Nikki Sixx and can afford to buy an ounce of dope at a time. Some of us have to cheat, deal, steal or fuck to get our fix. The thrill is gone, baby.

The life. Skinny, dirty, detached from society that we feel has tossed us to the gutter. Nope, you chose your place.

The dope ritual. The smell, the feel, the kit (tie, cooker, cotton, and syringe), and of course the fix.
The good times and bad times alike. Yeah, you’ll miss both.

There are more losses I could illustrate, but you should get the idea. Get honest with yourself and let’s get grieving so you can move on to the next set of losses. Once you start sobering up, you come to understand the damage dope has caused in your life.

These losses are intangible (can’t touch them) but losses.

Not being present in your loved one’s lives. Maybe You missed your kids growing up, first steps or words, graduations, sports and other school presentations.

Estranged from family and friends.

Divorce relationships lost, loneliness.

You are know defined by heroin. You no longer feel a sense of self. Who am I without dope?

You traded your morals and values for a fix



Have you recently quit doing dope? Besides the usual feelings of wanting to die because the pain is so utterly horrible, did you lie awake for three nights in pain? Did you feel as if you lost a best friend? Maybe you weren’t sure why you felt so hopeless and worried. The grieving process had just begun, and it’s time for you to accept that there is always a better way.

Need help with the grieving process. Give me a shout,