It is an unfortunate reality that not everyone will succeed in recovery. Relapse is common among addicts and alcoholics, and sadly fatalities are also a regular occurance. It can be devastating to lose a close sober support to a lethal relapse, and many individuals in recovery struggle to reconcile the loss of a close friend with the existence of their higher power. Why would our God allow a close friend of ours to relapse and die, and how can we move past this upsetting loss and continue on in our recovery journey?
First, it is important to remember just how little we know regarding our higher power’s plans for us. It is not our place to question the path He has determined for us and those around us, all we need to do is seek His will for us and act upon it. If we accept that our higher power knows what is in our best interests and the best interests of those around us, then the death of our close friend, while tragic, must have been the best course for his life to take. Perhaps there was a great deal of meaningless suffering in store for the person, and our higher power saw fit to prevent this needless pain in their lives by ending their existence on this earth. We cannot say for certain, and it is not our job to determine such things, so we must soldier on and continue to ask for God to guide us in our daily lives so we may act according to His will for us.
The grieving process looks different for everyone, but it is important to process the death of your friend and the emotions stemming from this event. Denying or suppressing your feelings is a surefire way to sabotage your recovery and leave you at risk for relapse yourself. Make sure you talk about how you are feeling with your sponsor and those other sober supports in your recovery community. Talking to others about your feelings helps them as well as you - your vulnerability and honest communication will encourage them to reciprocate rather than hold their feelings inside. Together, you and your community of support can move past the loss of a close friend in recovery, honoring their memory with your continued commitment to recovery and staying sober.
Fatal relapses are an unfortunate reality within the recovery community. Every day we hear stories on the news about the alarming rise in overdose deaths in the country. Sadly, it is only a matter of time before an overdose death affects someone close to us in our recovery community. It is important to remember during times of great loss that our higher power has a plan for us, we need only trust in Him and continue to seek his will for our lives. Besides reaffirming our faith in our God, we must also release the negative emotions which stem from losing our close friend, as holding onto these feelings will only inhibit our recovery efforts and lead us to relapse ourselves. Fatal overdoses are tragedies, but they need not undermine our recovery programs. Instead, honor the memory of your friend through your fervent and unwavering commitment to sobriety so they can live on through your continued success in recovery!