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 Articles & Teachings

Growing Through Grief

No two grief journeys are alike yet there is experience and knowledge available to educate and encourage loss survivors. This information will help you know that with time, you can move beyond the trauma and not just survive...but thrive!...

Survivor Resources

Put yourself in a state of mind where you say to yourself, “here is an opportunity for you to celebrate like never before, my own power, my own ability to get myself to do whatever is necessary.”

~ Anthony Robbins ~

Magical Moments in Sobriety by Barbara Nicholson Brown – Publisher, Together AZ

Magical Moments in Sobriety by Barbara Nicholson Brown – Publisher, Together AZ

As a woman in long term recovery from alcohol and drugs it’s so important I never forget how my journey began. I was chained to the dark side for over 20 years, so the first few days; even weeks without any substances were terrifying.  I had reached a point of being ‘too scared to live and too scared to die’, and was overwhelmed with guilt, shame and remorse. All the times I used drinking or drugs, I was living a lie and it was impossible for me to admit I needed help. But when the moment did arrive when my world came crashing down; the message came through loud and clear -- and I have never turned back.  Honestly there isn’t enough room on this page if I wrote out the many reasons I love...

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The Fentanyl Crisis: Awareness and Prevention by Marianne Gouveia

The Fentanyl Crisis: Awareness and Prevention by Marianne Gouveia

August 21, 2022 was national Fentanyl Awareness and Prevention day. This day was created by the US Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) to help raise awareness around the Fentanyl crisis in our country. Fentanyl is a synthetic opioid that is 50 times more potent than heroin and 100 times more potent that morphine. “Fentanyl is the single deadliest drug threat our nation has ever encountered,” said DEA Administrator Anne Milgram. “From large cities to rural America, no community is safe from the presence of fentanyl.” Here are a few quick facts: Criminal drug networks are mass-producing fake pills and falsely marketing them as legitimate prescription pills to deceive the American public....

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988 – New Mental Health Crisis Hotline Key Facts by Madison Shirley

988 – New Mental Health Crisis Hotline Key Facts by Madison Shirley

9-8-8, three digits that can be memorized with ease and quickly dialed. The new hotline has launched and it aims to strengthen the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline. When someone is experiencing a mental health emergency dialing a long number and waiting to be connected is not at all ideal. These three digits are a stepping stone towards transforming the mental health care system.  The direct line will connect callers with a trained counselor or health professional in their local area. The 9 digit Lifeline number, 1-800-273-8255, remains active but calls will be routed to 988. Some key facts about the hotline include: Calls are accepted for anyone who needs support for suicidal, mental...

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Grieving Styles by Greg Eckerman

Grieving Styles by Greg Eckerman

Although it is clear that many men and women grieve differently (including my wife and I), I’ve never been comfortable with the idea that it’s just about grieving like a man or grieving like a woman.  Even the designations of masculine or feminine grieving styles feels far too simplistic . . . even a little judgmental (depending on which style you gravitate towards). But understanding our own style of grief and that of those who share the pain of our losses is important to our well-being.  If we fail to understand those differences, we could assume that those fellow survivors aren’t grieving . . . or aren’t doing it right.  We could distance ourselves from the connections we need most on...

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Creative Expression To Help With Grief by Madison Shirley

Creative Expression To Help With Grief by Madison Shirley

The arts are a tangible and sensory experience that allows one to express themselves. Creation might serve as a way to unblock, release, and illuminate emotions that may need more attention. Each individual grief journey brings forth different experiences for each loss survivor. With that being said, what helps one person cope may not help the other. Grief art is a possible outlet that could potentially provide a healing experience. Keep in mind, you should only do activities that will not be too triggering. Do your best to gauge how you’re feeling and base an activity around that. For example, if thinking too much about your loved one or touching their personal items makes you spiral into...

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Coping with Your Grief Over the Uvalde Murders by Alan D. Wolfelt, Ph.D.

Coping with Your Grief Over the Uvalde Murders by Alan D. Wolfelt, Ph.D.

Uvalde, Texas, is grieving. America is grieving. A single man has committed a crime of unimaginable violence, taking the lives of at least 21 people—19 of them children—and now an entire country is bereft. Whether you live near Uvalde or far away, whether you personally know someone connected to the tragedy or not, you are probably grieving. Because you have empathy, you are grieving on behalf of the families whose loved ones were so senselessly taken from them. In addition, you may be experiencing a loss of a sense of safety for your own family and others you care about. You may have lost a sense of goodness in the world. You might also have lost trust or pride in your country or...

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How to Support a Grieving Father This Father’s Day By Sarah Kessler

How to Support a Grieving Father This Father’s Day By Sarah Kessler

Father’s Day is all about showing love and appreciation to the amazing dads in our lives. But if you know a father who’s lost a child to suicide, substance abuse, or sudden loss, that can be easier said than done. For these dads, Father’s Day can bring about heightened feelings of grief, loss, and sadness, as well as more complicated feelings like anger, disappointment, and guilt.  Whether it’s his first Father’s Day since the child passed away or his 50th, it’s normal and expected for these feelings to arise.  Supporting a grieving parent after the devastating loss of a child is never easy, but days like Father’s Day can make it even harder. So what should you do if you want to support...

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Deaths of Despair by Greg Eckerman

Deaths of Despair by Greg Eckerman

Dr. Denise Campagnolo is a Neurologist and EricsHouse Board member, and my collaborator on the EricsHouse research project to validate and explore the usefulness of our Grief Self-Assessment tool. Denise recently shared an article with me, published in the JAMA Psychiatry Journal this past February, titled “Why Deaths of Despair Are Increasing in the US and Not Other Industrial Nations—Insights From Neuroscience and Anthropology”. First, I have to say the label ‘Deaths of Despair’ really resonates with me.  I have struggled to come up with a term that covers the range of losses we primarily focus on at EricsHouse (Suicide and Substance Abuse).  ‘Deaths of Self-Harm’ is accurate but feels...

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Grief is Not a Disorder by Dr. Alan Wolfelt Ph.D.

Grief is Not a Disorder by Dr. Alan Wolfelt Ph.D.

 My Position on the New “Prolonged Grief Disorder” Diagnostic Category in the DSM Our phone at the Center for Loss and Life Transition has been ringing off the hook in recent weeks with requests for my opinion of the new “PGD” diagnosis. Yes, everyone’s talking about the new “disorder” included in the latest release of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Health Disorders (DSM-5). Psychiatrists and other mental-health professionals can now, at their discretion, diagnose an adult patient with “prolonged grief disorder,” or PGD, one year or more after the death of someone loved (just six months for children).  According to the DSM, PGD is characterized by daily, intense yearning...

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The Pace of Grief by Greg Eckerman

The Pace of Grief by Greg Eckerman

How long will this last? When will I get back to normal? Am I getting better fast enough? We are on a difficult, terrible journey. One no one would ever choose to make.  It’s natural to want it over, but in time we learn that some aspects of our grief will be with us for the rest of our lives. Our losses will always hurt. In time, we learn to embrace that pain and recognize the love behind it. In time, we understand that our old normal is gone forever . . . we must build a new normal. Ultimately, we recognize that our grief is unique and will progress at the pace we accept, based on the support we receive. But the world around us doesn’t like those answers. We are expected to move on, to...

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The Healing Power of Nature by Madison Shirley

The Healing Power of Nature by Madison Shirley

Grief manifests in many different ways and places for each individual. Emotional displays of grief might include numbness, intense sorrow, and detachment. Physical symptoms can range from headaches, chest pain, or sore muscles. A holistic way to help navigate the grief journey is to spend time in nature. At EricsHouse we aim to provide tools that can help you grow through your grief.  C.S. Lewis has a beautiful quote that states: “Grief is like a long valley, a winding valley where any bend may reveal a totally new landscape.” Allow this to serve as a metaphor for one’s sumit through grief. Grief might feel like climbing the highest mountain, enduring the most harsh conditions, or reaching...

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Welcome to the Newly Bereaved by Marianne Gouveia

Welcome to the Newly Bereaved by Marianne Gouveia

Happy March! This is a month where we begin to see signs that spring is near and cold winters are behind us. This is my favorite time of year to sit in the sun, especially before the temperatures reach 100° F  in Phoenix, AZ. We think of spring as a time of rebirth. But for those of us who are newly bereaved, we might find it darker and more frightening than ever before. Like the changing seasons, our grief is always moving, evolving, and transforming. On February 4th, I lost another sister, my oldest sister Lois, my best friend, who passed unexpectedly from natural causes. I could not help comparing this loss to the loss of my younger brother, my younger sister, my friend Karen, mom and...

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Spring Cleaning Health Benefits by Madison Shirley

Spring Cleaning Health Benefits by Madison Shirley

Sometimes life gets chaotic and we forget to tend our surrounding environments. It is especially challenging to focus on anything, let alone household duties, while we are deep in grief. It is up to your personal timeline to decide when you feel ready to tackle the more mundane tasks. Perhaps your clutter is stacks of paperwork, piles of laundry, sticky notes all over your desk, or rolling dust bunnies. Did you know decluttering and cleaning your home has a direct impact on your health? While I know cleaning might not be everyone's favorite activity, it truly can be therapeutic and beneficial. As Spring approaches you might feel motivated to grab the dust rag, mop, or vacuum. I highly...

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Coping with Anxiety and Depression After Losing a Loved One by Lucille Rosetti

Coping with Anxiety and Depression After Losing a Loved One by Lucille Rosetti

There is no greater pain in this life than the pain of tragically losing someone we love. If you’ve lost a loved one, you may be dealing with grief, anxiety, or depression as you struggle to cope with this monumental loss. You might be wondering how to move forward with your life. Here, are some ways you can deal with the anxiety and/or depression that results from the tragic loss of a loved one: Take it one day at a time. Sheryl Sandberg is famous for disrupting Silicon Valley, changing Facebook’s bereavement policies, and for encouraging working women through her book, Lean In. However, when she lost her husband unexpectedly while on vacation in 2015, she found herself dealing with...

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How to Practice Self-Love by Madison Shirley

How to Practice Self-Love by Madison Shirley

The relationship we have with ourselves directly affects how we interact with others.  As we navigate our loss journey, we are bound to experience days where it is hard to acknowledge the love within and around us. Grieving can also make it difficult to show appreciation to yourself. The loss of a loved one can cause us to feel guilty, resentful, and numb. Rumi has a wonderful quote that says, “Love is from the infinite, and will remain until eternity.” May our love and connection with those who are no longer with us physically continue to lift our spirits when we are feeling low. May we still do our very best to show up for ourselves.   According to the Brain and Behavior Research...

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How Pets Can Help You Cope with the Loss of a Loved One by Lucille Rosetti

How Pets Can Help You Cope with the Loss of a Loved One by Lucille Rosetti

As we know at EricsHouse, coping with the sudden and unexpected loss of a loved one is far from easy. Did you know that pets can help you through the grieving process? Whether you have a pet or you’re thinking of adopting one in the wake of your loss, your furry friend can offer unconditional love and support during this difficult time. In this article, we’ll explore a few concrete ways pets can help you navigate your grief and open space for healing in the weeks and months ahead. Pets Can Improve Your Sleep Although grief can make you feel incredibly exhausted, it’s normal to have trouble sleeping after experiencing the loss of a loved one. You may take longer to fall asleep than normal...

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The Benefits of Goal Setting During Grief by Madison Shirley

The Benefits of Goal Setting During Grief by Madison Shirley

The loss of a loved one affects our emotional and physical well-being in many ways. In the throes of grief it can be very difficult to process our feelings, maintain a schedule, and feel motivated to think about the future. There truly is no timeline for grief as everyone travels the journey at their own pace, in a way that is unique to them. In the New Year, it might be helpful to set some goals. Whether the goals are big or small, related to personal life or career is totally up to the individual. Keep in mind that goals should be attainable and set in place to help cultivate positive feelings. Setting goals in grief might be broad and less timeline oriented because we are dealing with...

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Setting Goals for Grief and Loss By Reid Peterson, Creator of Grief Refuge

Setting Goals for Grief and Loss By Reid Peterson, Creator of Grief Refuge

Most of the time in life, as well as in the act of doing and growing, it’s helpful to have goals. Goals that help you track where you want to go and how to grow. Goals that are even called SMART goals; which is an acronym that stands for Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Realistic,  and Time-bound.  Some people who coach others through grief may try to set goals, whether they are simple goals to make it through the day or Smart goals to help people recognize their obstacles,  benchmarks, and track progress to see how far they’ve come along. There’s nothing wrong with  trying something like that but many people impacted by grief say that Smart goals don’t work so  well. They feel so much...

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The Challenges of Spirituality During the Holidays by Greg Eckerman

The Challenges of Spirituality During the Holidays by Greg Eckerman

When we lose someone we love, especially to the insidious epidemics of substance abuse, suicide, and sudden violence, we often face a spiritual crisis:   “How could a loving God let this happen?” “Where are they now?  Are they OK?” “Why? . . . Why? . . . Why?” In the holiday season we bereaved are especially challenged to come to terms with our own spirituality.  Regardless of your belief structure, this is a time of hope for peace, love of family, and connection with our Higher Power.  How can we embrace the holiday spirit when we are so broken, so consumed by our losses? I believe that, for many of us, it boils down to a core question of faith. We ask ourselves, “Does my loved one...

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Surviving the Holidays by Marianne Gouveia

Surviving the Holidays by Marianne Gouveia

When you have lost someone, facing the holidays is overwhelming. When my son Eric died, I dreaded the holidays – I tried to avoid them altogether. When we are bereaved by suicide, substance, or other forms of self-harm, the holidays are overshadowed by an intense sense of loss. The world seems to be celebrating with joy and merriment. But our world is in chaos, and we cannot imagine facing the holidays without people we love. We just want to run and hide away from everyone and everything. This year will be my 6th holiday season without my sweet boy and I am reconciled to it. Once I realized I could give myself permission to celebrate life -- including the holidays -- I found ways to...

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Rekindling the Holiday Spirit After Loss by Lucille Rosetti

Rekindling the Holiday Spirit After Loss by Lucille Rosetti

You’ve recently lost a loved one, and the holidays are just around the corner. Typically, this is a time filled with excitement and joy, but you’re finding it harder to feel the holiday spirit this time around. When you lose someone special, your life feels like it’s been shattered into pieces. As you process your grief, it’s important to pick up the pieces and try to put them back together. If you are having difficulty with your loss, here are some ways to cope and find the holiday spirit again, brought to you below by EricsHouse. Starting New Traditions One way to help rekindle the holiday spirit is to start a few new traditions of your own. Don’t make a huge leap right off the bat; take...

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Exploring Your Spirituality at the Upcoming Emmaus Retreat by Marianne Gouveia

Exploring Your Spirituality at the Upcoming Emmaus Retreat by Marianne Gouveia

After the death of my son, my first questions were “Where is he now?” “Is he OK?”  After talking with my priest and spiritual director, I realized that Eric was perfect now – his best self.  I began to ponder the ideas of an afterlife, eternal life, and Heaven.   I was curious about death and what it must be like to be in an entirely different realm than the one we have here on earth.  It’s not that I planned or even really wanted to leave this life, but I was so weary of the pain and sorrow of my grief. . . and heaven sounded pretty appealing. I was desperate to find healing, I learned that I needed to find my spiritual footing – my spirit needed healing.  I found the Emmaus Ministry for...

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Support For Men in Grief by Greg Eckerman

Support For Men in Grief by Greg Eckerman

I’d like to share a little story with you:  ‘A man who had lost his son to a fentanyl overdose 4 weeks earlier, on his own initiative, found us on the Internet and sought us out to see if we could help him deal with his grief.’  That’s it, that’s my story.  It’s true, I’m not kidding.  OK, I get that it’s not that great a story . . . until you realize how rare it is for that to happen. I’m Greg Eckerman, co-founder of EricsHouse – which is named in honor of our youngest son, Eric, who died by suicide after a long, tough battle with heroin addiction.  At EricsHouse we support those bereaved by loss of a loved one to substance abuse, suicide, or sudden trauma.  We are not counselors; we are...

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Calming The Body After Trauma by Jean Nictakis

Calming The Body After Trauma by Jean Nictakis

I recently reviewed Dr. Bessel Van Der Kolk’s bestselling book, The Body Keeps the Score:  Brain, Mind, and Body in the Healing of Trauma, and found myself connecting his words to our EricsHouse clients. Although grief is very personal and everyone experiences it in a unique way, many of our clients carry the scars of trauma from a sudden loss that can result in complicated grief.  Left unchecked or unprocessed, all painful memories are stored in the body in a very physical way.  These can lead to illness in the form of heart problems, sleep issues, increased inflammation, and reduced immune system functioning.  It is important to process our painful memories in order to prevent them from...

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Healthy Alternatives to Addiction Treatment and When to Use Them by Lucille Rosetti

Healthy Alternatives to Addiction Treatment and When to Use Them by Lucille Rosetti

It’s estimated that the US spends a staggering $30 billion per year on substance abuse treatment problems. Traditional addiction recovery programs typically consist of 12-step programs that were initially conceived by Alcoholics Anonymous. However, this does not work for everyone. Presented by EricsHouse, here are five alternative methods to addiction recovery and when you should utilize them. Exercise and diet VeryWell Mind explains that exercise can not only help with feelings of withdrawal, but it can improve adverse cognitive consequences of addiction such as problems with sleep or mood swings. Adding exercise to your day can offer an array of physical and mental health benefits for...

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“A Grief Perspective on Suicide: A Mother’s Insights” Ebook by Marianne Gouveia

“A Grief Perspective on Suicide: A Mother’s Insights” Ebook by Marianne Gouveia

EricsHouse founder, Marianne Gouveia, shares her story and healing guidance in "A Grief Perspective on Suicide: A Mother's Insights." Marianne writes about the complexities of suicide loss, exploring your emotions, realms of grief, and how to transform your tragedy into hope. To read the full Ebook click here: https://www.flipsnack.com/ericshouse/a-grief-perspective-on-suicide/full-view.html

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Animals & Grief by Judy Zimet

Animals & Grief by Judy Zimet

Animals and Grief Part I: With 68 million U.S. households choosing to share their lives with an animal, it is no wonder that much has been written about animals and grief.  In this three-part series, we will first explore how animals help us move through our grief. Next, we will learn about grief after the loss of our pet, and finally we will look at how animals grieve. First, let’s explore how animals, whether watching them in the wild, or snuggling with them on the couch, helps us during our grief.  Animals increase our happiness by providing a positive relationship. When we are grieving, animals are especially valuable because they offer companionship without expectation. Being around...

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Helping a Senior Parent Cope with the Loss of a Spouse by Lucille Rosetti

Helping a Senior Parent Cope with the Loss of a Spouse by Lucille Rosetti

When your parent is in pain, you want to offer support and comfort, but if your parent is suffering because his or her spouse died, how can you help when you’re overcome with your own intense feelings of grief from losing a parent? Offering empathy and encouragement and ensuring your parent has the help he or she requires makes a world of difference. By helping your parent in his or her grieving, you’re also helping your own grieving process. EricsHouse.org presents some things to remember when you’re helping a parent cope with loss. Offering Empathy and Encouragement Remember that grief is experienced differently in individuals. Furthermore, while similar, losing a spouse and losing a...

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Healthy Choices Inside Complex Grief by Sanjeev Javia

Healthy Choices Inside Complex Grief by Sanjeev Javia

When we're deep in grief, healthy nutritional choices can not only be unattractive but they can be overwhelming. With so many decisions to make after a loss and the complex emotions attached to each one, the conscious decision of what to eat, when, and how much can seem inconsequential. However, how we eat has an impact on the energy and strength we will need to handle ourselves not only physically but emotionally. Food contains the fuel necessary for us to run the systems that allow us to positively make our journey through grief. Grief already puts a tremendous amount of stress on the body, gradually breaking it down, compounding this with poor nutrition can lead to such things as...

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Breathe to Hear Your Body by Dr. Kathleen Rickard

Breathe to Hear Your Body by Dr. Kathleen Rickard

In times of emotional upheaval and grief, our bodies are also affected. Why? There are many important functions of the body set up to protect us from real and perceived danger. When we are stressed, the nervous system, the hormonal system, the organ system, and the energetic system are all on high alert to be of assistance. With chronic stress, these and other systems of the body begin to malfunction and send even louder messages that we feel as body failures. All these changes can feel very frustrating. We have ways to understand the lack of ease in our bodies under stress. The first step is to recognize that the body is not failing because why would it give up without a fight? The body...

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