The impacts of a bereavement through substance use are many and profound and include guilt, loneliness, stigma, and mixed responses from professionals and others. It seems that those who are bereaved in this way have a particular and unique experience of grief, which many feel is disenfranchised. Support needs to be credible as well as effective, yet up until now little specialist help has been available. In particular, help from a peer who has been there brings authenticity, can lead to the sense of a safe space where those bereaved feel listened to in an empathic manner, and permit the expression of grief which is often disenfranchised. The article is structured around the experiences of someone bereaved through alcohol use who went on to volunteer for a peer support project. Her powerful testimony articulates the wider findings of two recent United Kingdom projects (one includes the peer support project) conducted by the authors.
Illness, Crisis & Loss – SAGE
Published: Jan 1, 2018
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