Our peer parent coaches who have lost children to substance use share not only their time helping other families as part of our coaching program, but also continue to offer their wisdom and insights about how to navigate the journey of loss.
Listed below are resources they have identified that helped them in their healing. We hope that they will help you and your family too!
Knowing that every grief journey is different, the Partnership holds space for parents and other caregivers who have lost children of any age to substance use. Join our peer parent coach facilitators who have also lost children to substance use. They offer grief resources, education, support and hope for healing. Join a meeting.
Compassionate Friends is a peer support group for parents whose children have died, despite the child’s age and the cause of death. They offer an information packet, online support meetings and local chapters.
Grief Recovery After a Substance Passing or GRASP was created to offer understanding, compassion, and support for those who have lost someone they love through addiction and overdose. Local meetings, book recommendations and tributes are featured on their website.
Eluna Network may be especially helpful if you have children who have lost a loved one or been impacted by substance use. They offer camps and other resources families can use to help children understand grief and loss.
Facebook: After the Storm: Grief Support from Loss through Addiction is a private Facebook group specifically for parents who have lost children to substance use.
Help & Hope By Text for Loss. Have you wondered how other people get through the loss of their child to substances? Receive text messages of hope, encouragement, and resources created by our peer parent coaches who have walked in your shoes. To join, text LOSS to 55753 to get started.
The service is free message and data rates may apply. Message frequency varies. Text messages will appear on your phone twice a week.
Text HELP for help or STOP to opt out.
Resources for siblings
Brothers and sisters are also deeply impacted by the loss of loved ones. Here are some resources that may be helpful:
Sounds of the Siblings is a private group hosted on Facebook to support siblings.
“How can I possibly tell you how much I miss you? But of course you probably know – since you knew me better than anyone. No matter how much time passes, I still wish you were here to share our lives and the future I expected us to have together.” Support groups are offered by Compassionate Friends for Siblings
Culpeper offers several resources for siblings that can be found here.
The Power of Parenting: How to Help Your Child After the Death of a Sibling From Substance Use or Overdose is a great resource to help you understand how your child may be feeling about the family’s loss. It includes how kids may react and how the family can cope and adapt over time.
Speaking Grief features one of our extraordinary peer parent coaches who lost her son to an overdose on Christmas Eve 2017. Her mother died exactly eight months later. Listen as Nona describes the challenges of grieving a stigmatized loss and how her grief for her mother differs from that of her son. She says even the smallest gestures can bring a huge amount of comfort to someone who’s grieving.
Hooked: A Family’s Journey with Addiction is not just the story of Jack Conroy, but also of his family and the community around him. Jack’s parents, Barbara and Kevin, sought expert advice on how to help and heal their son, and in the wake of his death continue the fight to end the stigma around addiction, offer resources, and aid parents who are fighting the same battle, until the war is won.
Here are a few of the book suggestions made by our peer parent coaches. You can find them wherever you purchase books or in your local library.
It’s Okay That You’re Not Okay by Megan Devine gives readers an alternative to the often-prescribed goal of returning to a normal, “happy” life. She described a far healthier middle path, one that invites us to build a life alongside grief rather than seeking to overcome it.
Permission to Mourn: A New Way to do Grief by Tom Zuba is the book he wishes he had read after his daughter’s, wife’s and son’s deaths. In the beginning, Tom did grief the old way — denying, pretending, numbing and stuffing every feeling and every emotion that arose. Once he gave himself permission to mourn, healing began. Along the way, Tom discovered that grief is not the enemy. Grief can be one of our greatest teachers.
The Lessons of Love: Rediscovering Our Passion for Life When It All Seems Too Hard to Take by Melody Beattie details her grief over the death of her son, Shane. For two years she found herself unable to work. But with the help of family, friends and her own inner resources, she was finally able to put her life back together.
You Are the Mother of All Mothers by Angela Miller is a wonderful book for any mother who has lost a child.
Grief Recovery Handbook by John W. James and Russell Friedman
Not being able to fully recover from grief can have a lasting negative impact on your happiness. Based upon their own experiences, the authors share how it is possible to recover from grief and regain energy and joy.
Dear Jack: A Love Letter to My Son by Barbara Bates Conroy
Dear Jack, Barbara writes to her son… Through these letters and raw prose, she recounts the past and explores questions of motherhood, responsibility, guilt, and spirituality.
Healing After Loss: Daily Meditations for Working through Grief by Martha W. Hickman
For those who have suffered the loss of a loved one, here are thoughtful words to strengthen, inspire and comfort.
Anxiety: The Missing Stage of Grief by Claire Bidwell Smith
As grief expert Claire Bidwell Smith discovered in her own life—and in her practice with her therapy clients—significant loss and unresolved grief are primary underpinnings of anxiety. Starting with the basics questions—“What is anxiety?” and “What is grief?” and moving to concrete approaches such as making amends, taking charge, and retraining your brain, Anxiety takes a big step beyond Elisabeth Kübler-Ross’s widely accepted five stages to unpack everything from our age-old fears about mortality to the bare vulnerability a loss can make us feel.
Safe Passage by Molly Fumia
The losses we face impact us in different ways, but there are certain steps that naturally take us through the grieving process and ultimately lead to healing. In this grief recovery handbook by Molly Fumia, we are gently guided through these steps by words of profound wisdom and insight.
Understanding Your Grief – Ten Essential Touchstones for Finding Hope and Healing Your Heart
Filled with compassion and hope, Understanding Your Grief helps you understand and befriend your painful, complex thoughts and feelings after the death of someone loved.
Grief One Day at a Time by Alan D. Wolfelt, PHD
After a loved one dies, each day can be a struggle. But each day, you can also find comfort and understanding in this daily companion. With one brief entry for every day of the calendar year, this little book by beloved grief counselor Dr. Alan Wolfelt offers small, one-day-at-a-time doses of guidance and healing. Each entry includes an inspiring or soothing quote followed by a short discussion of the day’s theme.
Healing a Parent’s Grieving Heart by Alan D Wolfelt, PHD
100 practical ideas after your child dies
The Grief Club by Melody Beattie
The Grief Club is Melody Beattie’s profoundly personal, powerfully healing book to help readers through life’s most difficult times. Part memoir, part self-help book, part journalism, The Grief Club is a book of stories bound together by the human experience of loss in its many forms such as death, divorce, drug addiction, and the tumultuous yet tender process of recovery.
“The deeper that sorrow carves into your being, the more joy you can contain.”
-Rumi, On Joy and Sorrow, The Prophet