Alcohol Abuse and Grief

By: Matthew Funeral Home
Monday, September 26, 2022

When grieving, many people turn to things that can comfort or distract them from the pain. It is not uncommon for some people to reach for a bottle of alcohol for this. For many people, alcohol can serve as a way to avoid the pain of loss or numb feelings of grief. However, alcohol is a problematic tool for avoiding feelings. Abusing alcohol can be dangerous to your health, and others as well. During grieving periods, people are especially susceptible to picking up unhealthy habits that provide temporary solutions to their pain, such as substance abuse. This article will discuss mindfulness around alcohol, and ways to avoid alcohol abuse. We will also provide tools for seeking help for those who may feel like they have an alcohol abuse problem. 

Alcohol Use and Grief

Alcohol use while dealing with grief can be a dangerous and slippery slope. While some people may celebrate the life of the deceased with drinks during the repast, it is important to understand when drinking goes too far. Repeatedly getting drunk to avoid the pain of loss is not healthy, for several reasons. For one, high amounts of alcohol can be damaging to the body. But, alcohol use to numb the pain prevents you from actually working through your grief. Grief isn’t easy, but running away from the pain isn’t good either. Even if you need to take baby steps, acknowledging and facing your grief is a lot more healthy than drowning it in a bottle of liquor. 

Mindfulness Regarding Drinking Through Grief

Occasional alcohol use is OK. But it is important to be mindful of how much alcohol you are consuming. Binge drinking frequently is not healthy. But, when you are grieving it can be even more dangerous. If you continue drinking, try to be self-aware and curb your alcohol consumption while you are still in the process of grieving. Consider tracking how much you drink each time you do. There are even apps for tracking alcohol content, just like calorie counters. Tracking your alcohol consumption can help you be more mindful of how much you are drinking, and can help you curb it. 

Identifying Triggers

What is causing you to reach for a bottle? Are their things reminding you of your loved one? Are there people in your life causing you further grief? Or perhaps there are people in your life that are simply enabling this behavior? Identifying triggers can help you better adjust this behavior, or address it healthily. Consider having a discussion with friends and family about your alcohol use during your grief, and ask them to help you be mindful of enabling drinking in large quantities. It is understandable to want to spend time with friends after the loss of a loved one, but it doesn’t always have to be at a bar. 

Managing Sobriety While Grieving

Sobriety can be a challenge to uphold in general. But feelings of grief can make it harder to resist vices. While numbing the pain away with alcohol can be enticing, it is important to remember the pains that you went through to seek sobriety in the first place. Be sure to speak with your sobriety group and/or your sponsor about the struggles you are having during this difficult time in your life. They may be able to help keep you on the right path. 

Seeking Help With Alcohol Abuse

Alcohol abuse and alcoholism can be difficult habits to break. Unfortunately, there aren’t cut-and-dry solutions for everyone. Managing sobriety can be difficult when you begin to rely on a substance. Binge drinking or frequent drinking can come with health risks. To visit the NYC Health Department’s page on alcohol use, which includes treatment services and resources, click here.

The author of this post is not a professional therapist or counselor. For assistance in finding a grief counselor that is right for you, there are several resources out there. For our Grief Resource Center, written by Dr. Bill Webster, click here
For over 50 years, Matthew Funeral Home has been serving the Staten Island community. We can help with almost every aspect of your loved one’s memorial service. Our family is here to serve yours, every step of the way.

Leave a comment
Please enter the numbers and letters you see in the image. Note that the case of the letters entered matters.


Please wait

Previous Posts

Tips for Pre-Planning Your Funeral

Pre-planning your funeral may seem strange, but it is a practice that can help you and your family in the future. People often see pre-planning a funeral as morbid, similar to how many people feel ...

Grief and Shorter Days

Grief and the associated feelings of depression can be a difficult burden to bear at times. Many studies have shown that sunlight and bright days can improve moods associated with grief and depress...

Funeral Flowers for Different Faiths

Faith and culture play a large role in the proper etiquette of a funeral service, and this also applies to the types of arrangements you should consider when sending flowers. Certain flowers and ar...

Could AI be a Tool For Grieving Families in the Future?

There is a lot of buzz around AI these days. And while the tools of artificial intelligence are still in their infancy, there is a lot of talk about its use in a variety of industries. AI could pot...

Reading and Grief

A book is a powerful tool. A good book can transport you to another world, or help you dive deep into your emotions. The right book can provide new ideas and unique perspectives. Reading books can ...

If You Pass Away Without a Will

If you are to die without taking the time to create a Will, there are procedures in place to handle your estate. Without a Will, your entire estate and all of your assets will enter intestacy. Inte...

Birthdays of Deceased Loved Ones

Birthdays are often a cause for celebration. But after the loss of a loved one, they can be a bittersweet reminder. Birthdays of the deceased don’t have to be somber days. Rather, they can be celeb...

Losing a Loved One to Drug Overdose

Drug overdose is a major cause of death in America, with over 100,000 deaths annually, according to the CDC. When you lose a loved one to an overdose, there can be a lot of mixed feelings surroundi...

Religious Trauma and Funeral Services

When grieving the loss of a loved one, religious services are often a part of the funerary process. While faith is not a requirement for grieving, faith-based services can often provide closure for...

The Importance of Close Friends After a Loss

It is easy to feel lost and alone after the loss of a loved one. Thankfully, you aren’t truly alone. Your friends are there to love and support you. Sometimes, all you have to do is reach out. Fri...