The dangers of drug and alcohol abuse after a divorce breakup are well documented. Being dumped or abandoned is a painful and devastating event and the natural response to hurt is to just stop it!! Pain hurts, drugs and alcohol give temporary relief. But care for yourself and know the danger signs.
This article by Delphine Hirsch, author of a fantastic book called The Girls Guide to Surviving a Break-up is so right on!
" Now that we have squared away how to get some peace and quiet for yourself, and whom to contact and how, let's move on to the brass tacks of dealing with an initial breakup. You are not yet ready to do a lot of loving things for yourself that will make you feel better and help you inch back toward your prebreakup level of self-esteem or better. You are probably feeling selfdestructive. That's normal. This section is about passing some time safely.
Drugs And Alcohol
You know your limits better than I do, but we both know that your judgment probably isn't at its best right now. For myself, having several cocktails a few nights in a row in the wake of a breakup has been perfectly fine, even great. For you, this might be reckless or worse. So I'm outlining some don'ts and some general ideas that I hope will make you pause and think if you are making decisions about drugs and alcohol use.
Whatever choices you make, remember that it is completely normal for you to be in a lot of pain right now. Also keep in mind that in order to get through the pain, you have to feel it. This is NOT-thank god-an active process. Your brain is at work processing and accepting your heartbreak even as you are lying on the couch crying. But if you numb your brain with mind-altering substances for the next month, it won't perform its usual functions and you won't get any closer to feeling better.
* Don't get behind the wheel of a car unless you are stonecold sober. Even then, you are probably tired and blurry-eyed, so I recommend having someone else who is not in the middle of personal trauma chauffeur you around for a little while. Or take a cab.
* Don't take any drugs that have sketchy origins. You don't know what is really in there. You could be risking your life here. I can't say it firmly enough. This is totally unacceptable under any circumstances.
* Don't take any drugs you haven't tried before. This is not the time for experimenting.
* Don't take more than the recommended doses of any prescription drugs or any over-the-counter medicine you have around. As with any serious thoughts of suicide, if you feel yourself heading this way, take action NOW. You need to get professional help right away (see appendix). This is not the time to concern yourself with what other people might think or whether you yourself hold the ignorant belief that getting professional help makes you "crazy" or any less of a person. It doesn't matter. The most important thing is that when you are feeling horrible, you get yourself help. You will find later that it means that you are brave and smart and love yourself.
* Don't take any drugs if you have a history of drug abuse. You know this better than I do.
* Don't take any drugs when you are alone.
The Hard Stuff
Obviously there are a lot of different drugs out there that do different things. You may do none of them. You may do some of them but would never ever touch others. You may have tried many of them. What I'm saying is this: Don't do them now. What felt good when you were feeling good will most likely feel dramatically different when you are feeling terrible. And by different, I mean completely f- king horrible, horrible when you are on the drug, horrible when you are coming down, and potentially horrible for days after. If you have drugs around and you are concerned about taking them, give them away ASAP or literally flush them down the toilet immediately.
* Don't drive if you've had anything to drink, and probably don't drive anyway.
* Don't drink if you are a recovering alcoholic. Call your sponsor. You know this better than I do.
* Don't drink more than you usually do when alone. It can be dangerous.
* Don't mix your drinks. It's just never a good call.
For many reasons, even if you are not much of a drinker, you may feel moved to tie one on under the circumstances. Just keep in mind that your body isn't used to it. You will get the spins and very likely throw up. Even if you are a regular drinker, if you consume more alcohol than usual, you are going to get sick. I recommend not exceeding what you might do on any old Saturday night. You don't want to make yourself feel worse than you do ordinarily.
DELPHINE HIRSH is a veteran of many break ups and is also a consultant to heartbroken friends nationwide. A thirty-two-year-old native New Yorker and a graduate of Princeton University, Hirsch has spent most of her adult life working at non-profits, including a six-year position in fundraising at the American Foundation for AIDS Research (amfAR). She currently lives in Los Angeles with her husband and is at work on a novel. The Girls' Guide to Surviving a Break-up is her first book