44 Avoid Alcohol, Drugs and Sedatives Following a loss to death, physicians will often give the bereaved prescriptions such as sleeping pills to facilitate rest or tranquilizers to reduce anxiety. While such doctors’ prescriptions may provide some initial relief, those drugs must not be taken to avoid grief entirely. “Do not take drugs for your depression if you can possibly get along without them,” writes Nancy O’Connor, Ph.D., in her book Letting Go With Love: The Grieving Process. “Like alcohol and tranquilizers, they are a crutch. You will get through your grief faster if you are fully aware.” Always avoid alcohol and narcotic drugs to deal with the pain of grief. 5 Turn to the Right Friends The common experience for all grievers is acute loneliness. Someone greatly loved is gone and a deep, painful void remains. Rabbi Earl Grollman, a grief authority and author of What Helped Me When My Loved One Died advises: “Talk to a friend. Share your feelings. Let the right people know that you need support and feedback. They cannot bring you comfort unless you allow them to enter your sorrow.” Be sure you confide in the “right” people.
5 6 Ask for Specific Help Extended family and friends will offer their assistance but often it is vague—“Let me know what I can do!” Review your circle of acquaintances and then call on them. If you have a friend who works in the insurance business, then ask that person to help you decode an insurance policy. If you have an automobile problem, consult with a knowledgeable friend about the best way to deal with it. If your roof springs a leak, talk it over with someone in your circle of friends who knows something about home repairs. 7 Refrain from Making Hasty Decisions It may be tempting to take a long trip, change residence, switch jobs, etc. Avoid those temptations. Often they are ways of fleeing from grief. Experience the pain, cope with the loss, and begin to make the necessary adjustments before thinking about making major changes. Also, do not make serious financial decisions without securing professional advice. 8 Share Your Grief There is great wisdom in the often repeated statement, “Grief shared is grief diminished.” Most people who have had a loss to death