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My loved one had just started experimenting 

Sometimes someone dies after using drugs and alcohol when they had only recently started experimenting.

A sudden death is always traumatic.

It can also feel very unfair that they died, and that their future potential is lost.

Feelings of guilt and regret are very common.

Traumatic death

The early days after a traumatic death [1.2] are very difficult.

When you are unprepared for a death it takes a long time to take in what has happened.

You may need to spend a lot of time talking it through – try and find one or two trusted friends or relatives to talk to.

Loss of potential

If someone had only recently started using drugs or alcohol, it can feel very cruel that they died.

You will have to cope with the loss of your loved one’s potential, and your hopes and expectations for the future.

You may also have felt there was lots of time to help your friend or family member, and it can seem very unfair that this has been taken away. 

Feelings of guilt

Feeling guilty is very common after all drug and alcohol related deaths.

If your loved one had only recently begun experimenting, you may also feel guilty that you missed signs that they were developing a problem, or were increasingly using drugs or alcohol to cope with other problems. 

You may have been ignoring signs, or putting off a confrontation.

You may find yourself questioning your memories, and wondering what you could have done differently.

Coming to terms with feelings of guilt [1.8] can be a big part of coping with a drug or alcohol related death.

We need to learn to accept that we cannot change the past, and that we could not make choices on behalf of our loved ones. 

You can read more about grief and about how others have coped, on other pages in this section [grieving].

You can also find out more about practical issues [practicalities] or how to get support [get support].

See also