A national support organization dedicated to those who are grieving the loss of a loved one.

Ten Tenets of Grief Anonymous

Belief in Higher Power or Consciousness

Death brings us face-to-face with grief after a loved one has passed on. Our loved ones pass on and we stay behind to continue our journey on this earth. This process can be transformational on many levels. For many people, this experience is fundamentally connected with their Higher Power or Consciousness. Some may question their beliefs, others may have doubts, some may feel justifiable anger, some become solidified in their faith to get them through, and many people experience a level of spiritual enlightenment from grief that creates an awakening to their own personal, intuitive gifts and connection to God and to each other like never before. Grief Anonymous is a grief support program designed for every person regardless of faith, creed, religion, or lack or questioning thereof. Everyone is welcome – no person is to be judged or condemned for his or her beliefs. We all must approach our faith and beliefs in our own time and at our own pace.

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Find or Create a Sanctuary for Healing

A period of hibernation is often necessary for our healing from loss. Often there are social pressures to be out in public and socializing too soon. To solve this issue, create a space within your home or find a place of reflection to connect with your feelings and pain of loss. We suggest having a space in one’s home dedicated to the loved one who has passed on. Many cultures throughout the world do this, and a revitalization of this practice in western culture can be a powerful healing tool. Having a space with pictures, mementos, and sacred pieces special to you is a good way to ground yourself in times of pain and grief.

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Focus on the Physical Fundamentals of Sleep, Diet, and Exercise

To the person who’s grieving, these fundamental aspects of everyday health mean so much more, but often also become more difficult to fulfill. Eating can become very difficult for many reasons. Grocery shopping can remind you of previous trips with your loved one. Breaking bread with our loved ones is a common component of togetherness and can be a painful remembrance of their absence. Cooking patterns must change and the stress and anxiety of grief can affect our eating and drinking habits. Sleep can be interrupted by nightmares and insomnia is common. Exercise can also be difficult. Some people develop fears about leaving their homes. Others suffer from debilitating illnesses, and the idea of a brisk jog is beyond comprehension. This tenet is the bedrock to recovery from the physical effects of grief and allows a focus for all other tenets. Fundamentally, we have to eat, sleep, and move our bodies. Any lack of these components and we may be destined for a health crisis.

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Practice Baby Steps and Leaps of Faith

Taking a baby step toward healing is a leap of faith, and small incremental baby steps lead to success in life. This tenet has no measuring stick. The effort to get off the couch and make a small meal can be equivalent to running a 5K charity event. Taking baby steps and leaps of faith mean vastly different things to different people depending on their circumstances and environment. Remember that even thinking about the idea of going out to check the mail can be a baby step for you today. We are here to support you with whatever endeavor works within your timeline. Some travel the world by backpack, learning more about the universe around them after grief has come. Others cope by embarking on a project they’ve always wanted to do. Taking that first step can propel you into the world in which you live and can be your launching pad. Grief Anonymous is here to support you as you step into your personal journey forward.

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Acceptance or Coming to a Place  of Acknowledgment of Your Loss

Acceptance and realization are the acknowledgments of loss. This tenet is very different for every individual. Some people lose their loved one suddenly and tragically and do not come out of a fog for a long time – the numbness can take years to fade. Others are caregivers, helping and supporting terminally ill loved ones for years and acceptance is at the doorway of their death. We don’t ever want to see our loved ones suffer, so for many people acceptance is a natural tenet to bring on board to our healing. We have added the concept of acknowledgment for people who have lost their loved ones to murder, suicide, drug overdose, and other unnatural forms of death. Acceptance may never come to these folks, and Grief Anonymous has no intention of putting up any unattainable hurdles to healing. This tenet is the precursor to the first baby step of healing. Without acceptance or acknowledgment, no forward movement is possible. Oftentimes, one has to wait until they are uncomfortable in their own pain and grief to make that move, and we will be here for them when they are ready. It’s similar to other programs such as smoking cessation or any of the other anonymous support programs – you have to want to change your current experience. For some, rock bottom is solid ground to build in an upward direction.

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Facing Your Fears

Fear is the greatest barrier to healing and health in all aspects of our human experience. Grief is no different, and perhaps brings on the greatest negative emotion we can have. Fear is paralyzing and immobilizing. It can creep in and solidify into every thought, every experience, and every action that we take when we experience grief. Facing a world without our loved one is fear-inducing. This tenet is designed to address this aspect of grief. Utilizing the other tenets, we can build upon the truth that fear is controllable through recognition of what we are fearful of, and take steps to break through to the other side where our wants, needs, and desires lie. Fear is a mindset, not a reality. We heal when we create our new reality and these tenets are the key to let you out of the prison of fear. Feeling freedom from fear is a catalyst to happiness, well-being, and working towards living the life you want and deserve.

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Learning to Forgive and What Forgiveness Really Means

It is a known truth that anger, resentment, bitterness, and complications can arise from the death of a loved one. There are whole industries out there ready to serve the bereaved through actions that happen or occur due to this loss. Some people are never touched by the need for this tenet, and if that is the case then consider yourself very blessed. This tenet is crippling for others and needs a lifetime of work and thought to overcome. Wars among nations are started due to the crippling effects of lack of forgiveness, and so it goes for the individual as well. Forgiveness is a huge tenet in many facets. Some people lose their loved ones due to suicide and struggle with forgiving themselves for the rest of their lives for not seeing the signs nor being able to prevent their death. Other people see their families and friendships unravel due to an untimely death and have a difficult time with forgiveness over the actions and reactions of family, friends, work places, or even their Higher Power. Grief Anonymous wants you to know forgiveness is for the self. We will help you identify the source and allow you to work through this tenet individually and at your own pace.

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Finding a Creative Outlet for Your Grief

The death of a loved one is more painful than the emotional, spiritual, physical, and mental mind can take. It is as if our minds are a cup and grief makes our thought processes overflow and spill out all around us. Finding a creative avenue to express our grief can be incredibly therapeutic on so many levels. We encourage you to activate and incorporate this tenet into your grief experience early on so you are able to capture the essence of your emotional overload and create tangible evidence of your pain. Any form of creativity that resonates with you is good whether you share it with anyone or not. Some of the most beautiful works of art, music, theater, and writings come from the depths of pain from grief. Finding a creative outlet allows an escape of that overflow of grief out into the universe. Use this tenet like a safety valve. Open that valve when the pain is too much to bare and let it flow creatively from you. It will also serve as a marker from where you’ve been, where you are now, and where you would like to be in the future. This aspect in and of itself is healing and empowering.

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Embracing Your New Authentic Self

Grief is the enduring, remaining love that never dies for the special person in our life that has passed away. Even though our loved one is no longer with us and we feel a great void in our life, know that void is actually a vast love that is waiting to be filled with the choices you make. Now is the time when you will gain an extra level of wisdom and understanding that you need to grow. You must learn a new normal life without this person and you might be struggling to find your footing. Many times we hear, “Who am I now? I have lost me.” If you experience this emotion, it is real and valid. Many people who lose a beloved person in their life due to death have had their human experience interwoven into this person and the unraveling leaves their lives lying in a knotted mess. We have to rebuild our new selves. We need to learn about our world without their presence in our lives on which we based many of our decisions in the past. Take this time to get to know who you are now in an authentic way. Learn to trust yourself. It doesn’t come instantly, but it is possible to enjoy getting to know the new you. In life we all have choices. When we empower ourselves to go after our heart’s desires, albeit without our loved one, it makes the grief experience one of greater wisdom and allows us to create an authentic new self.

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Giving back

Grief is the most painful, debilitating emotion to experience on the spectrum of human emotion. It is a real test of our will and fortitude to move forward into life after loss. As we learn, and while we are learning, there are others who are just beginning their journey. Just like soldiers on a battlefield, we must not leave others behind. We have to go back and help. Grief can truly only be understood by those who have been touched by it, similar to other experiences such as addiction. A person cannot truly understand grief unless they themselves have lost a loved one and have learned to live with it and are on the road to healing. The grieving community is now connecting through the internet and social media. We are beginning to find each other. For so long grief has stayed in the shadows of society, away from bookshelves and the media. We have a moral and ethical obligation to do what we can to help others who are grieving, if and when we are able. The smallest acts of kindness create a ripple effect that impacts the lives of many, and larger endeavors have the ability to shift whole communities and societies toward a greater acceptance and good for all. Once we experience this power of giving back, we can then also see how incredibly healing it is for ourselves as well. We are one human race living one experience. Each person matters because we are all a part of the whole. By helping others, we can experience the power of self-healing at its highest level.

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Ten Tenets

  1. Belief in Higher Power or Consciousness
  2. Find or Create a Sanctuary for Healing
  3. Focus on the Physical Fundamentals of Sleep, Diet, and Exercise
  4. Practice Baby Steps and Leaps of Faith
  5. Acceptance or Coming to a Place of Acknowledgment of Your Loss
  6. Facing Your Fears
  7. Learning to Forgive and What Forgiveness Really Means
  8. Finding a Creative Outlet for Your Grief
  9. Embracing Your New Authentic Self
  10. Giving back

Grief Resource Network

The Grief Resource Network is the connection source for people who are suffering from grief over the loss of a loved one. Registration is free of charge for grieving individuals.

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The Jordon Barker Foundation, Inc.

The Jordon Barker Foundation has been established to give to local charitable organizations who aid those in crisis due to the death of a loved one.

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