Author Peter Cartwright

This comprehensive handbook is intended to help those whose work is supporting that group of bereaved adults who view substance use as a significant part of what led to the death of a loved one. It is divided into three sections - Making sense of substance related bereavements; How to support someone through a substance-related death; and Examples of good practice. Throughout the book case studies helpfully illustrate the various approaches used. An extensive index of key words makes it easy to find sections on particular subjects and there is also an index by author or researcher.

The final section in the book is given over to contributions by several charities and organisations who offer support to people who have been bereaved through addiction. It is striking that many of these groups were founded by people bereaved in this way and who recognised the lack of available help. Sadly, they would find themselves grieving in silence and isolation due to the shame and stigma instead of honouring the life of someone they loved.

Because more than anything else, we need to recognise that people whose deaths are related in some way to their addictions, were people whose lives encompassed more than just their problematic substance use, and those who miss them deserve to be supported to cope with the loss of a loved one just like anyone else.

This book is a resource that can be revisited and used in many different ways. It is a much-needed contribution to our field that covers bereavement counselling for people who have lost someone who had an addiction to drugs or alcohol.

Book review by ELsa Browne.

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