When an Alcoholic or Addict Dies

Sad lonely girl sitting on stairs
Petar Chernaev / Getty Images

When someone who has an addiction passes away, the grieving process for those who are close to the addict or alcoholic can be particularly difficult, because the survivors are always left with the "what if" questions - what if we had done something differently, what if we had said this, or not said that. Maybe it would have turned out differently.

For those trying to console those left behind when an addict dies, offering support can also be difficult.

Knowing what to say, or more specifically not to say, so that their love ones don't experience any more pain, is not always easy.

Recently, About.com Addictions Guide Dr. Elizabeth Hartney lost a family member who suffered from a long-time addiction. She found out quickly that the grieving process can be even more painful for someone who had an addiction. Those trying to be supportive can make it even more difficult.

Don't Know What to Say?
"...many people don't know how to be supportive in these circumstances, saying and doing things that cause even more pain to those left behind," Hartney wrote.

As a result of her personal experience, Hartney developed two lists of tips for those trying to support someone who recently lost someone with an addiction - a list of things that are supportive and a list of things you just don't say.

Ways to Support Someone Who Has Lost an Addicted Loved One
Here are ways to be supportive of someone who has recently lost an alcoholic or addicted loved one.

Sometimes not saying anything is the best action to take.

What Not to Say to Someone Who Has Lost an Addict
Even when we mean well, we can say things to someone grieving the loss of an alcoholic or addict that can cause more pain. Here are ten things to avoid saying to someone who has lost a relative or loved one with an addiction.

Are You Enabling Others?
One of the toughest parts of working with addicts or alcoholics is making sure you're not enabling them. This self-test can help you discover if you are.

    Continue Reading