Coping with Traumatic Death as a Result of Underage Drinking

able to prevent. You may even be angry at your loved one for making the choice to drink. Many people find it beneficial to talk with someone about feelings of anger or rage. Expressing these feelings can free the mind, enabling you to be more open and realistic in your thinking and planning for the future. Physical activity often helps. Some people write in journals or write letters to those they are angry with, often never sending those letters but using it as a form of therapy. Some cry and yell and scream. How you express your anger is up to you. The important thing is to acknowledge it, and to not hurt yourself or anyone else in expressing it. Guilt Anger often becomes guilt. Guilt is feeling somehow responsible for what happened or thinking that you didn’t do enough in the relationship while your loved one was alive. You may say to yourself, “If only I had known,” or “If only I told them I loved them.” Guilt involves a lot of “if only” or “should haves.” You may wonder, “What else could I have done to prevent this tragedy?” You may be experiencing survival guilt, asking why your loved one died or why it wasn’t you instead.

The torment of what protective action may have prevented it from happening may last long after the tragedy. You may think about all of the times you talked with them, or didn’t talk with them about alcohol.

Talking with others can help you look at your guilt realistically.

You may not have had conversations about underage drinking or getting into the car with a driver who has been consuming alcohol. It’s possible that you did have the conversations, but now you are plagued with guilt about how you talked about it with them and if you should have done it differently.


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