It feels wrong to feel joy…

First, I am 32 days sober and feeling pretty good. I want to enjoy a nice quiet holiday….but it just feels wrong to feel joy. A dear friend lost her son a couple days ago and she is hurting. I hurt for her. I am trying to reconcile these feelings of immense grief for my friend and her family with feelings of comfort surrounding the holidays. I am struggling to feel both. Every time I get a little excited about something, I immediately think of my friend’s pain. I am not trying to make this about me, but I want to be honest about these feelings (because feelings are something that often triggers us to drink and that we worked hard to avoid while drinking), so I turned to you wise sober people for some perspective. How can I enjoy my family, a good meal, and warm nights around the fireplace while my friend is hurting so damn much? I just cant let myself……


I feel for you and I feel your friend. Losing a child is an unfathomable loss. Beyond my imagination. I’m not sure what you should do. Your friend has to deal with this if this possible at all. All you can do is be at their disposal when needed.

Beyond that I don’t know what to say really. I know something about staying sober. Honesty is a huge one in maintaining our sobrieties so I command you on that. Make the best of it. Accept there’s duality inside of you during these days. I can say that many of us feel different feelings during these days. Or any day really. Take care. Stay sober. Hugs.


I am very sorry for your friend and for your pain witnessing what they and their family is experiencing. It is very real to experience pain vicariously, and so owning those feelings is a healthy thing. In my similar past situations, it helped me to look at the happy feelings I had with my family in the shadow of others’ grief with a sense of gratitude. Feeling grateful that my family is healthy and thriving, grateful that we have today together because tomorrow is never guaranteed. It has felt like a lesson, taking what others are going through as a reminder that life is impermanent and that we need to live for today when we can and enjoy our loved ones. Your friend will hopefully reach a point in their grief where they can feel grateful to have had their son in their life, too, even with all the pain.

Being human and the emotional creatures we are means we have to negotiate complex and often contradictory feelings. There is no easy answer, but the fact that you are considering how to navigate this complicated emotional situation tells me you have a self awareness that will help guide you. Thanks for bringing this to the forum, it’s been a good reminder for me, and I hope the responses you get help even a little bit. Sending love to you and your friend.


I would go about your day as planned but check in with her throughout the day, let her know you’re there, give her support and an ear to listen if she needs it.


That’s tough but you can feel both ways. They aren’t exclusive. I find gratitude when thinking of loved ones who’ve passed. They were a gift. I will be praying for your friend. People grieving don’t want to go thru it alone. They need good friends to just sit thru it with them.


We all have our portion of both joy and sadness. Feel the joy that is yours to feel, because one day you will have to face your portion of sadness. Then more joy, and again more sadness. That’s how life works.