Overcoming Stages of Grief and Loss

Grief | Hopelinks

Moving on from, overcoming or dealing with codependent relationships often requires overcoming the grief and loss stage one at a time. Grief is used to describe a loss of something that was meaningful to a person in their life. It can be a pet, person, job, car, or anything attached with personal meaning.

Grief stages include emotional feelings that are often present in codependency recovery and addiction rehabilitation. The stages include denial, anger, bargaining, depression and finally acceptance incorporated in your life. There are many losses that lead to grief which can range from an incident such as rejection, betrayal, infidelity, tragedy, or even attempting to remove codependency from a relationship or treat an addiction

Codpendency and/or giving up drugs or alcohol usually includes going through the stages of grief. An addiction can actually create codependency to the chemical.

Families or individual members, who learn to become whole will lose their roles and may experience grief when finding they cannot run the other person’s life or have lost their power to control others.

Any loss in life comes with some degree of grief. A promotion means you give up old coworkers, and familiarity with the routine. Many people become dependent on what they know and are accustom to. When loss of the known is encountered, people must deal with breaking the codependency of the ideal they have grown accustomed to.

Situations, which often lead to grieving are: loss of a loved one, loss of marriage, loss of a job, loss of alcohol/drug, loss of home, loss of physical abilities, loss of a pet, friend, good health, or even the comfort of an addiction role in family codependency.

*When you experience grief and the only way out is to go through it.

Stages of Grief and Loss

Understanding and Defining the Recovery Process

Denial & Isolation

  • Signs are Shock (Unable to comprehend the loss.)
  • Emotional Release
  • Loneliness


  • Hostility
  • Resentments
  • Physical Symptoms


  • Reluctant to Let Go
  • Trying to Compromise
  • Blame


  • Mourning Loss of Drug of Choice
  • Mourning Loss of Family Role


  • Surrender
  • Readjustment to Reality
  • Choosing to Live

Overcoming the Stages of Grief and Loss

The Use of Cycle Papers to Aid Addiction and Codependent Relationships

Grief recovery is largely based on introspection. To understand and complete the process in an organizer manner, most professionals and treatment centers use cycle papers. These papers not only map feelings and track results, they are useful in keeping those going through the stages on track. They can also add the light-at-the-end-of-the-tunnel to the overall grieving process. Many cycle papers are used to work out and identify loss in your life and name the actions, behaviors and feelings you had in each stage. The loss could be a job, divorce, the loss of your drug of choice, codependency in a relationship, or a death.

The Loss (Identify)

  • Denial: How did you deny it? Lying; Minimizing the Effects; Rationalizing. Write a short paragraph on each area.
  • Anger: Who were you angry at? How did you show it?
  • Bargaining: What bargains, compromises did you make and with whom? Did you blame yourself thinking if you had been different it would not have happened?
  • Depression: How did/does it feel? How did you act, describe behavior(s). (Isolate; Yell or take it out on others; Cry; Punish yourself in some way…)
  • Moving to Acceptance: What are, or did, you do to move away form the pain and into accepting life as it is now? Do you have fear about more loss and so decide to withdraw from everyone as not to take another chance at being hurt? This is not acceptance, acceptance means acknowledging life is full of losses and changes, with a willingness to accept that people may let you down.

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