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People struggling with substance abuse need love and support, Forward Recovery psychologist says

Ariana Grande continues to mourn the loss of Mac Miller, her friend and former boyfriend, who died last year of an accidental drug overdose at age 26. reported this month that at her recent concert at Albany, New York’s Times Union Center, the singer excluded “Ghostin’” and “Imagine,” songs discussing her relationship with Miller, from the set list. The BBC said Grande, 25, said during the soundcheck that “Imagine” was “too heavy” to play live. Nevertheless, she played Miller’s music as an homage as fans came in for the concert. Dr. Renee Solomon, a psychologist and CEO of Los Angeles drug and alcohol addiction treatment center Forward Recovery, said Grande’s grief could be related to feeling as if she could have done something to save Miller. Dr. Solomon said it’s difficult to come to terms with losing a loved one, especially when drugs and alcohol are involved. It may be confusing to know whether the person who died accidentally overdosed or intentionally killed himself. Survivors may also wonder, “What could I have done to save this person? If I’d been there, would he still be alive?” Dr. Solomon said, “Survivors often ask me what they could have done to save the person and often the answer is nothing. If someone truly wants to die, he will die.” Dr. Solomon said she has sat in many sessions at her treatment center helping clients mourn the drug overdose death of their friends. She said she always hopes the grim experience will keep her clients from using. Sometimes, they do; one client in particular lost a sister and stayed clean, she said. No one can be responsible for someone else’s drug and alcohol use, Dr. Solomon said, but people should always try to support friends and loved ones who struggle with these substances and connect them with resources that can help them. “Our goal should be to help them feel connected to others, and help them see that their life is worth living,” she said. “Connection and meaning in one’s life is really important.”

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