Drugs and alcohol can serve to mask a huge variety of emotions. In fact, for the vast majority of people struggling with addictions, this is one of the primary reasons addictions develop. When we are struggling with big emotions, past trauma, etc. being able to pick up a drink or a drug offers an amazing opportunity-an opportunity to forget, even just for the time being, what is causing us suffering.
When we look at it this way, it makes complete sense that we would have a hard time giving up this promise of relief. This is a promise that most “healthy coping skills” don’t necessarily offer. No amount of mediation or lovely walks are going to make us forget the emotion in that same way. Of course, they are still incredibly beneficial but it is also ok to grieve the loss of that old coping skill. We often don’t give grieving the importance it deserves in our culture. Grieving is such an important part of the healing process of so many things. It is completely ok to grieve the loss of drugs and alcohol and even the relief it temporarily provided from distress.