Grief and alcohol


Like a lot of people, we drank too much following Dan’s suicide, it’s an easy way of slowing the world down and blanking things out, even if only for a few hours. We knew we were doing it and yet you still do, after all the pain, who can blame someone?

Of course, it isn’t a solution, but sometimes common sense doesn’t win, if it did there wouldn’t be any suicides…

BUT.. be careful, don’t lean on it and try to look for help and relief elsewhere, but whilst the next statement would not be approved by any medical professional, don’t beat yourself up too much about the odd drink to take the edge off now and again.

be careful, be nice to yourself and others and don’t risk yourself or anyone else, try and put definite limits of amounts and time on when you have a drink and remember it doesn’t fix anything more than right now. You are still there tomorrow, as are the feelings, and now with a hangover on top.

This is the “official” view – and said better than I can.

Alcohol and Coping

Losing a loved one is certainly one of the most upsetting and painful experiences one can have. It’s common for you to go through a wide range of emotions, from anger and denial to sadness and despair. Each person goes through the grieving process differently, and they don’t always do it in the healthiest manner. Some turn to alcohol in an attempt to numb the sadness, pain, and grief that follows a major loss such as the death of a parent, spouse, or child.

Sadly, self-medicating all that emotional pain often leads to alcohol addiction, with grief’s impact on mental health taking a serious toll — even for the seemingly strongest and most resilient individuals. During the grieving process, it’s critical that you experience and express emotions so that you can eventually move on with life and heal. However, some people get stuck as they begin struggling with unresolved grief, which is basically grief that lasts longer than normal.

This type of grief makes it difficult if not impossible for the individual to adequately manage their daily tasks. Unresolved grief sets in when they feel overwhelming guilt over the loss, or when they consider the death unfair, or when they have lost a loved one through a violent or unexpected death. Grief can also trigger clinical depression, and it can increase the risk of suicidal thoughts or actions. Many times, unresolved grief and depression may make someone more vulnerable to the development of a substance abuse problem. When a person is unable to work through feelings of loss in a healthy way, they may decide to self-medicate with alcohol. Drinking may numb the pain temporarily, but the effect is always short-lived.

There is no form of self-medicating with substances that will effectively erase the pain of loss. In fact, alcohol acts as a depressant in the body, intensifying negative emotions, like shame or sadness. Alcohol impairs every part of daily life, from the quality of relationships to the ability to hold down a job. Other factors may make it more likely a person will turn to alcohol after a loss, such as a history of depression, anxiety, or previous addiction.

Taken from here and said much better than I can. Alcohol Use During Grief: How it Affects the Healing Process | Pathways (

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