Advice and resources for grieving an unfulfilled relationship with a loved one in addiction or recovery?



A WTV member recently reached out to me with an update about her child, who after a long journey with opiate addiction had accepted and entered treatment and has recently relapsed but been brought in closer by their treatment team and continues on the path to recovery. This mother raised a really profound point and made a request I thought our community might be able to relate to and answer. Let me know what you think!

The mother is now "exploring how anger and grief are blocking me from my own full self expression and joy. And I find that the underlying grief is due to the loss of the dream of happy motherhood…loss of celebrations, loss of joy expressed with my child.

Can you recommend any books about grief due to family addiction? When I search books on grief, they mainly seem to be about death. I am wondering who might have some good writings about the grief that comes with loving an addict. I totally get that grief is always a part of love, and that ALL relationships end with grief…it’s the nature of our reality as humans in form. But the raw, repetitive grief from loving an addict just seems to ‘never end’; I had a friend, who lost her son to an overdose tell me that the day to day grief from living with an addict was much harder than the finality of the loss from death."


I never thought about grief as a process for anything other than death until I lived with and began recovering from active addiction in my family. Many people in my Al-Anon meetings recommended the Al-Anon book Opening Our Hearts, Transforming Our Losses. “It’s about more than just death,” they told me. I was curious about that, so I read it. I can’t recommend it enough. A few of the chapters include:

Grief as a Process
Loss of the Dream
Grieving for Our Childhood
Loss in Relationships
Spiritual Growth from Grieving

There is a lot of mention of Al-Anon in the book, and if you’re not into that, I suggest keeping an open mind and taking only what serves you.

Here is a list of books about grief and recovery. I’d recommend anything by Pema Chodron.

I hope that helps!


So helpful! Thank you @momentsandlight :pray: