Five Stages of Grief

Looking at the Five Stages of Grief theorized by Kubler-Ross, I begin to realize that these stages not only quite accuratlely describe what one goes through during the loss of a love one (or even excepting ones own mortality when faced with a terminal illness), but it also describes what one may go through when faced with other losses that are hard to accept, including accepting that one is addicted to a substance.

I mention the latter because it was while leading a group therapy session for substance abuse that I realized this.

The five stages of grief basically are, 1) Denial, 2) Anger, 3) Bargaining, 4) Depression and finally 5) accepance. These stages don’t necessarily, but usally fall in this order.

If your boss comes to you and tells you that in two weeks they are eliminating your position and you therefore are out of a job you might at first not want to believe that is true, then after it becomes closer to a reality you might get angry with your boss, the company, yourself and then you might start praying to God to keep you from losing your job, or anxiously and perhaps desperately trying to find a way out of the situation, when you realize it is inevitable, you may go into a depression but eventually you will accept the reality for what it is and do what you have to do to cope with the situation.

With the guys in my substance abuse therapy, helping them see why they felt what they felt and helping them deal with it seemed to have a tremendous affect on helping them come to grips with their addiction and to start facing it head on instead of denying or avoiding it.

The reason I bring this to your attention today is to stimulate your mind and give you something to think about the next time you or someone else is going through some personal loss, rather it is infertility, a break up, or facing a long jail sentence. Understanding why you feel the way you feel goes a long way in coping with and stopping the pain and coming out of it a more enlightened and intouch person.

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