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It Just Seems Impossible – Dealing with Grief in Sobriety

Last Friday we lost another friend to this damn disease. Her death was sudden and totally unexpected. I have been sitting on my pain and disbelief for a few days now, trying to sort it all out in my head, and it’s still not making any sense.

So I write.IMAG0338

I am not sure what will come out on this page, but I hope if anything, it will inspire someone struggling to dig in their heels just a bit harder, fight through it just a bit longer, and when feeling like giving up, don’t!

I feel so stunned by the sudden absence of this great person with a huge heart and a smile that would light up the entire room. I have feelings of deep sadness and anger as well as glimpses of happy memories. The world feels especially rough right now. My dear friend is gone, yet people are still going out and getting their mail every day, cars are going by, business as usual everywhere. This is hard because in a hugely selfish way I want everyone to see my pain.

This is not the first person that I have seen succumbed to an addiction of some kind, and I am sure it is not the last. We lost a friend last November, who left a wife and a young daughter. Yet this one really hits home. Is it because she was a mom? Is it because she lost a child to addiction too? Is it because she was also struggling for years like I did? Is it because her kind heart was always open to help others? I don’t know.

I don’t understand it all, and I no longer wonder why them and not me – I don’t think that I will ever know that answer, but I do recognize that it could have been me, it could have been any one of us. So, I have to focus on being more grateful, more empowered, more helpful to others, and even more diligent in my journey. I know this disease all too well by now; I don’t trust it one bit, I don’t minimize its strength, and I know that I always have to stay one step ahead of it.

The first time I felt this type of pain was when my mom died 2 years ago. I was 3 years sober. I thought I would definitely end up drinking. I couldn’t fathom the idea of going thru this kind of pain sober. This was definitely that one time I thought that it was going to be totally acceptable to drink! But somehow the anger in me wouldn’t let me drink. I just couldn’t let it beat me down. And it scared me; I know the angry and pain filled drinking all too well!

It took my mom about 2 months to pass away after her final diagnosis. Each day seemed so very slow and treacherous. I carried (what I called) the bawling ball in the pit of my stomach every day, waiting, anticipating, getting prepared. Then, still sober, I watched my mom take her very last breath.

My world fell apart that day. Yet sobriety felt like my security blanket. I was no longer willing to depend on the drink for the phony comfort! I was no longer willing to go through this in isolation and self-pity. So, completely against my standard way of dealing, I immersed myself in meetings, fellowship and friends. For the first time I finally understood why recovery support was so crucial – when my world fell apart, I had people who carried me and helped me to get through it. They were there every day, telling me that it was going to be OK, that I was going to be OK, and that I could do this sober. And I just believed!

And here again, I find a helping hand, a hug, a call, a text. As simple hello that means so very much. That makes me feel not alone. That makes me feel human. That brightens my day and helps me stay sober another 24 hours.

I met with a bunch of sober women today, who all knew our dear friend. We cried and laughed and cried some more. But most importantly we were sober, realizing once again that we can get thru this painful experience without alcohol!

If you, or anyone you know, is struggling with alcohol addiction, please click the Find Support link for an extensive list of support groups. Also please check out the links to many useful resources in the sidebar, and always feel free to contact me anytime at

You may also find some great inspiration and support from all the awesome sober bloggers listed in the side bar under POSTS I LIKE and RECOVERY BLOGGERS, as well as Sober Courage page on Facebook and Sober Courage on Twitter.



  1. I use situations like yours as an excuse to drink though I know that you cant avoid greif …. you always have to go through it or it will make you sick ….and wish you all the best getting through this difficult time …


    • Thank you. In the past this would have been a perfect reason to get really plowed! But not anymore. Yes, you have to go through it. It’s painful, but I know that I will get to the other side.


  2. oh maggie…

    i am so sorry for your loss.
    I hate these stories and yet they can help others to realize that this disease wants us like your friend, dead. We have to fight that with very ounce of ourselves.
    I’m grateful you are still fighting.
    grateful I am too.



  3. Maggie, I am so very sorry. It sounds like she was a very close friend. I am praying for you, for her children and loved ones, and please reach out if you want to talk/email one -on-one. Thanks for sharing this story, it helps keep me sober for another day.


    • Thank you Josie! I wasn’t especially close to her, she was just that person that had a million friends. She would be there for anyone in a snap. Everyone loved her. She was one of the kind. It was always a pleasure to see her. – maybe that’s why it’s so hard. I didn’t know what was really going on with her. But then it seems that no one really did. Isolation comes in many forms.


  4. Maggie, I am so sorry for your loss. Please know that your words here DO help inspire others to stay sober or keep trying to get there. They have certainly helped me. x


  5. I am so very sorry to hear this Maggie. There is no understanding this, is there? I mean, if we did, would things change anyway? Why her and not you, or me or anyone here right now? I don’t know. Cunning, baffling, powerful…and patient. I know that I will probably hit some funerals down the line. I knew of a few guys that went because of this. It’s never pleasant.

    Prayers to you and her family and the fellowship family as well. Another example of where this can take us.

    Love and light,


    • Thank you Paul! Cunning and baffling and oh so powerful for sure. I am so very grateful for the fellowship. It’s truly amazing that we can get through it together in times like this. Thank you for the kind words. Hugs.


  6. It’s always so tragic when someone dies from this disease…I’m so sorry. But you are sober and you are feeling the grief instead of numbing it…Take care and know that we are all here for you too:-)


  7. Maggie, I’m so sorry about your friend. Your reflections on her death are very moving. We often get complacent in our sobriety and it takes the reality of death to wake us up – at least that’s the case for me sometimes. Prayers and hugs to you my friend!


    • Hi Chenoa, thank you. This is so true for me too. Life gets good and I forget where I was and how fast I can be there again. There is that saying (that i actualy can’t decided if I like or hate), it says something like – People die so others may live. – it is a wake up call for sure! Thank you. Hugs.


  8. Reblogged this on Sober Courage and commented:

    I am taking a break this week, maybe next, as I have a few things going on right now that need more of my attention. So I decided to reblog a post from about a year ago. As I looked for the date, I come upon this one from February 18th last year. And as it always seems to happen in some strange coincidence – the universe lines up perfectly, and I think this one is quite fitting as I have two of my very dear friends who are dealing with loss and grief right now.

    As I read it, the line that realy struck me was, “For the first time I finally understood why recovery support was so crucial – when my world fell apart, I had people who carried me and helped me to get through it.” and that is soo true! Thank you all! The blogosphere support is amazing!


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