Finding Purpose in Addiction Recovery

Purpose (noun):

  1. The reason for which something is done or created or for which something exists.
  2. Have as one’s objective or intention.

We are all born with minds, and minds are quite complex things. As members of the human race, it is expected that our smarts will lead to smarting at one point or another – our brains will cause us pains with all of their uncontrollable thinking and dwelling and self-created snags. Purpose is something that hangs us up from time to time, when we let our minds settle on the subject. What is ours? Why are we here? What does it all mean? That thing about our minds is that they are tiny, tiny, tiny. They are vast but they are so, so tiny – tiny compared to the bigness of everything else. They say that God is so big that we cannot wrap out tiny little minds around Him, or Her, or It, or whatever. Whatever it is, it is too big for us. And the plans that are set in motion, that have been unfolding for years – the gears that have been turning for years and years, thousands of years, right behind the curtain. Well-oiled always.

Finding Purpose in Addiction Recovery

But we still try, because we are stubborn and indignant and of course we know best, we have been on the planet for 27 years and we have absorbed everything. We get it, you know? Our spongy infantile brains convince us that we know so much more than we actually do, and we so readily believe what they have to tell us. They tell some of us that science is it; that God is imaginary and for stupid people, and that there is no underlying intention because fate is for suckers. They tell some of us that Jesus is Lord, and that if we hate homosexuals we will go to Heaven when we die. They tell some of us that we are so worthless and so insignificant in the grand and impressive scheme of things that maybe we should just end all of it now and save the suffering. They tell some of us that we are the greatest and the smartest and the most important, and that treating other people well isn’t so vital so long as we end up on top. One of the most beautiful gifts that we receive while traveling along the miracle-lined road of addiction recovery is the ability to clear our minds of the incessant overanalyzing and settle in on a simple belief. We are not the biggest thing out there – there is something bigger, and if we trust this thing (whatever it is) we have a good shot of getting better. If we help other people, we may start to love ourselves. And then we will want to live.

A Reason to Want to Live

When we devote our lives to taking, we will eventually find that we have forgotten how to give. This is something we must relearn, and relearning takes time, commitment, and patience. Recovery is a long process, one that occurs in carefully developed phases. First of all, we must commit to healing therapeutically. Inpatient drug rehab is often the most logical source of intensive therapeutic treatment. We work on uncovering all underlying and contributing factors of our dependencies, getting to the root of the problem and working through potential trauma with a licensed and experienced professional. We clean out all the gunk and become a clean slate. We take out years and years of accumulated garbage and work as hard as we can to keep our houses clean. We soon recognize that we are uniquely qualified to help another alcoholic. The more clean time we accumulate, the more opportunity we are granted to explore other potential purposes. Maybe we find passion in teaching, or in writing, or in painting, or in psychology. The world is big and opportunities are boundless when we prioritize the maintenance of our own well-being.