Grief is a part of life.  People go through it at some point in their live.  We ALL do.  You can lose a loved one or even a pet and feel grief.  It is difficult to cope with the feeling of grief.  By maintaining Faith and Prayer, you can alleviate some of the horrible feelings that grief causes a person to go through.  Be patient and give yourself time.

What is most interesting about grief is that it is proven that people can actually grief for a living person.  It does not always have to be a situation where the person or situation is dead or gone.  Substance abuse is a perfect example. 

If someone you love has fallen into the terrible cycle of an opiate or opioid addiction ( or any other deadly addiction), and you have watched their life spiral out of control for some time…you most likely will begin to grief them while they are still alive.

This is because you know that an opiate addiction to Heroin or Pain Pills can be and is very dangerous and deadly.  As a matter of fact, more people died from drug overdose in 2015 than car accidents.  A lot more people died from overdose!  In 2015 alone, more than 52,000 people died. 

This equates to about 7 overdose deaths every single hour in the United States.  As I sit here and spend one hour typing this helpful article….7 people in my country of the United States are going to die.  This is staggering when you really think about it, because it can be prevented. 

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If you look outside the U.S. borders,…the numbers are even higher.  Perhaps, World-Wide when all the numbers are combined,…we might have 50 people who die from drug overdose every single hour of the day.  In a 24 hour period, that is 1,200 people.  So, 1,200 people die every day from drugs globally.

You get the point.  It is a lot of needless deaths.  Had we only done this or done that years ago, we could have prevented this terrible Heroin & Pain Pill epidemic from happening today.  If ANYTHING was done, we could have helped the situation.  But, it was not. 

Nancy Reagan has the “Just Say No Program” in the 1980’s that I clearly remember.  We do have D.A.R.E also.  However, this has clearly NOT been enough effort based on what we are seeing today.

There really is not “War on Drugs” anymore.  Who knows what the Federal government is even doing to combat this Heroin and Pain Pill crisis we are in.  We do know that they are locking up addicts for long periods of time.  They put them into prison for 5 years just for buying a dime-bag of weed.  I mean really?  This is what they come up with. 

Targeting people who are addicts and fighting what has been established as a disease.  Just like cancer, drug addiction takes over the body and is very difficult to cure.  The major difference is that addiction IS CURABLE and it IS PREVENTABLE if enough awareness and prevention efforts are put forth. 

Jailing drug addicts is an entirely different article that should be talked about.  

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But, today we are talking about grief and mainly how a loved-one can begin to grief the soon-to-come loss of a child or relative to drug addiction.  This person knows that drugs can cause death.  They know that drug abuse can destroy one’s life in a short amount of time. 

And, they know that the person loses complete control of their body, mind and soul while addicted to opiates or opioids.  In turn, this loss of control can easily lead to death.  Because they know all of this,…they fear that their loved-one will die eventually.  So, they begin to grieve.


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Grieving someone alive is not a conventional form of grief that is often talked about, but is a real issue that is faced by the living. Death is often viewed as the base requirement for grief but mourning the deceased is only one facet of death. If you have never experienced this, you likely do not understand what we’re talking about.

How can you grieve for someone that you haven’t lost? If you have experience this sort of grief, you probably are cheering inside your head that someone has finally put to words what you’re feeling.

Grieving for someone alive, is not the same as anticipatory grief. Anticipatory grief is the type of grief that comes about when you know that you will soon be experiencing a loss, such as when a loved one is dying or in the hospital. If you are experiencing anticipatory grief or looking for resources on it, please visit the following link:




If you’re not familiar with this form of grief, you may be unsure how this is possible or what often triggers this form of grief in people. Often, this form of grief is caused by a loved one becoming someone that you no longer know or recognize.  Opiate & Opioid (Heroin & Pain Pills) will do this to a person. 

You will begin to recognize that your loved-one is changing.  They are not the same person you knew them to be. 

Perhaps, they are doing things out of character like stealing or skipping school or work.  Maybe they are to themselves & more quiet than they were before.  You just know something is off.  Their behavior today does NOT match how they use to act.

You might not even realize that you are grieving the situation, however you do notice a change in yourself.  The loved-ones of drug addicts go through so much.  Often they are not given enough credit.  They can even suffer more than the addict.  It is extremely terrible when you cannot ‘fix’ or resolve a problem like drug addiction that you see happening to the person you love and care about greatly. 

This is exactly why the grieving process begins within you.  Image result for griefing a drug addict




Obviously, because of who we are and what we do here at HEROin Me,   we are focusing mainly on the drug addiction part of this.  We know the other causes are important too, but the most dangerous and the most common out of all of these…is indeed, the opiate drug addiction cause.

• Mental Illness
Drug or Substance Addiction
• Dementia or Alzheimer’s
• Brain Injury
• Family Trauma

The unfortunate truth of grieving someone alive is that they are still there as the person you once knew but psychologically are a different person than they were before. Also, many of these factors are outside of the control of the person experiencing them or the person who is watching their loved one suffer.

It can be hard for either party to recognize because the person does not always look like they are sick.

Don’t look at these causes and think that they mean that you love this person any less though. This form of grief, just like grieving someone who is deceased, does not change the level of attachment to the person. Simply, this person is no longer acting how they were before and have had a dramatic shift in personality. If your brother is suffering from a drug addiction, his behavior may become erratic and he might start stealing from yourself or other family members.

Some will grieve the life that he is not living as he focuses living for his addiction. If someone is dealing with a mental illness, they may now be dealing with depression so badly that they are unable to go on living their life or they may be experiencing delusions or hallucinations.

A person will experience many emotions while grieving someone alive. These emotions may be more powerful and more confusing than the grieving process for someone who has recently passed. Anger is a prominent emotion that shows up. The grieving individual could feel anger towards their loved one for the issues they are dealing with and have a hard time understanding that they may not be able to change, such as in the case of mental illness.   Image result for griefing a drug addict

While experiencing anger, you may feel guilty as well that you are experiencing anger or guilty that you cannot control or change the situation.

Unlike when someone dies, you are unlikely to experience positive emotions while grieving someone alive. When someone passes, you are surrounded by the comfort of their loved ones and are often able to look at the joy of their life. This rarely happens with unconventional or ambiguous grief. Just like when someone dies, you are likely to be overcome with sadness.

However, the reminder of your sadness is constant every time you think of this person or hear about them.

How to Grieve Someone Alive


Let yourself grieve. Don’t attempt to hide or suppress your grief for this situation just because society or your loved ones don’t understand or acknowledge what you’re going through. Be open to sharing how your feeling to close family and friends and don’t push yourself to be someone you’re not at this time.

Find other people in the same situation. Connecting with other people who are experiencing the same kind of personal loss as you is an invaluable resource. This can come in the form of a support group or finding an individual to speak with. Having someone understand what it is like to be grieving someone  alive will help to put your situation in perspective and help you to gain insight on the validity of your feelings.

Don’t forget your memories or the past. When you are experiencing ambiguous or unconventional grief, it is easy to forget why and how you previously loved someone in the midst of their hurtful behavior. Remind yourself of the good times that you had and why you originally loved them. It is okay to cherish old moments and mourn that they are gone. Remember that that person is still here though, just not at the moment.

Open yourself up to change. One of the hardest parts of grieving someone alive is that you are forced to accept a changed relationship that you do not want. It may be difficult for you to look on a loved one in a different life, but you may be able to experience a rewarding relationship with them in new ways than before. Focusing on finding joy in your new relationship will help keep your mental state positive rather than gloomy.

Always remember that the illness is not the person. For many people, this is the hardest mental hurdle to overcome while grieving someone alive. Stop yourself from thinking of your loved one as the disease they’re dealing with, whether it be addiction, Alzheimer’s, or depression. You will still likely feel angry towards the person but understanding what they’re actually dealing with can help you process some of those feeling.

Unconventional Grief, Ambiguous Grief, or grieving someone alive are all very real and pertinent forms of grief that need to be treated, understood and addressed.  Become a member of The American Academy of Bereavement today to find more resources on grief.


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If someone you know appears to be grieving the future death of their loved-one, then share this article with them.  Or, talk to them about getting treatment and counseling.  This is very real and more people than ever before are going through it.  The numbers are still increasing…when it come to overdose deaths. 

This directly shows how devastating the opiate & opioid drug addiction problem is World-Wide.  In 2016, the number were far higher than the 52,000 overdose deaths in 2015.  And, in 2017, we are on pace to go even higher when it comes to drug addiction and the number of people who die from it.

What is being done?  We do know that President Trump put aside more funding for substance abuse than any POTUS prior to him.  We applaud Mr. President for doing this.  However, we still do not think this is enough.  We need to stand up as a community to address these issues. 

It is our child, our friend, our neighbor or co-worker who is suffering from drug abuse.  Nowadays, anyone can become a victim of drug addiction.  It is not just the inner-city , low-life bums anymore.

Professionals like attorneys and nurses are succumbing to addiction more than ever before.  People are dying.  We need to talk about this.  We realize this is not a ‘pretty’ topic to discuss.  It is easier to brush it ‘under the carpet’ like most people do.  But, how is it going to get resolved if no one is discussing the options?  Image result for griefing a drug addict

There is power and authority when we join together as a community and demand that our State and Federal Governments do MORE to stop opiate & opioid addiction.  We also need to contact the medical community and Doctors.  Doctors can do far more to warn their patients about the dangers of opioid addiction.  Make them research their family history to see if addiction or alcoholism exist. 

If it does, they need to think twice about consuming prescription opioid pain medications.  Are their other more natural or holistic ways to cope with their physical pain?  There probably are, but they have never been tried.  WHY?  Because Doctors are so quick to ‘patch’ the pain problem instead of searching for ways to repair the root cause of the pain problem.

Changes need to be made.  Period.  More needs to be done. Period.  Programs need to be created to help reduce the large number of relapses.  Courses need to be used to teach our young children the dangers of drug addiction BEFORE it is too late for them. 

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  2. Tell us what you think. Do you know anyone grieving for their loved one who is addicted to drugs?

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