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Step One:

Admit that I am powerless over my loss and that my grieving had become unmanageable. 

It is difficult to admit that we can allow anything to consume us, take control over us. But it does happen. I am a alcoholic and I allowed my drinking to control control my life to the point of emotional and financial ruin. When my daughter passed away followed by what I felt was the ultimate betrayal; the woman I love turning her back on me three days after her death, I was consumed with grief. I also went into a deep depression and suffered from PTSD. My middle-daughter and I held my daughter's hand as she passed away in the hospital. No parent should experience being in the hospital to cut his baby's cord when it is born; then be in the hospital to tell them goodbye as they take their last breath,. 

I went back in forth in my mourning. I was unable to fully mourn for my daughter nor the death of my relationship. I kept having the visions of my girlfriend staying the nights in the hospital room with my daughter. The two together, her being more of a mother then her real mother and my daughter telling her that she wished she were her real mom. Two futures that came to an end within a few hours apart. 

I went into an Intensive Outpatient Program, was assigned two  therapists; one for my daughter and one for the ex. Went to counseling three days a week. The goal? Coming to acceptance. What if I never did come to acceptance? I really just wanted to remove the suffering I was feeling. I was placed on short term disability from work because I could not even take someone approaching me without breaking down. I would have panic attacks and felt overwhelmed with the smallest task. Besides, if I accepted her death wouldn't that mean I could forget about her? People kept telling me to "Time heals all wounds", "She wants you to get on with your life" Well....duh! Will she tell me how? Actually, maybe not her; but I did need help from a power greater than me. I needed more then the DSM-V. I needed to admit that my suffering was isolating me from others. That I was allowing it to take over most every aspect of my life. I was powerless over my daughter's death and what my ex did to me. I lost control and I did not like it. That is what I needed to accept first.

 

The pain I felt was from the sense of missing them deeply. Especially my daughter. I could no longer physically express my love for her. I could not tell her, hug her, pick up the phone and call her, text her, etc. Same with the ex. Well I could but I would not get a reply or I would get a nasty reply so that would be some pretty nasty reinforcement not too. In my therapy I discovered that I also had some lingering issues from my sister's death when I was 12 in 1978 as well as my mother's passing in 2005. 

I found that working the Twelve Steps of my AA program helped me remove the suffering from my pain. 

I will always feel a pain for my losses. That pain is that sense of missing my loved one. The wanting to see them again. That will never leave me, nor will I want it to. I accept that and am OK knowing that. In fact, if I ever think of my daughter and not wish her with me, there is something wrong with me. 

But I needed to admit that my grieving was managing me and not me managing it. So, how do I know if my grieving is unmanageable?:

  • Uncontrolled sobbing

  • Isolating

  • Declining Social Skills

  • Obsessing on the Loss

  • Overwhelming Survivors Guilt (Why didn't I, I could have, I should have)

  • Suicidal Thoughts to Join Them

  • Dwelling on the Loss

  • Dwelling on how the Loss Happened

  • Always Turning the Conversation to the Loss

This is just a few examples. One thing that is most unique about Grieving Anonymous is the concept of a Sponsor. While we are just getting the group off the ground, we want people to talk to people who can directly relate to your loss, Most support groups are mixed where you may have a person who lost a distant relative trying to relate to a person who lost a child. Worse, vice-versa. The meetings can be open to all losses or, once we have the membership, we may start having closed meetings to a certain kind of loss. We may have meetings for mothers and just fathers. children. Who knows!! However, your sponsor will have direct experience in what your loss is and guide you through the steps.