We steal, we cheat, we lie to our loved ones, we trade our bodies for drugs or money, we flunk out of school, we lose our jobs, we burn all of the bridges we have ever built. In a matter of years (if addiction does its job), we lose all that once mattered – possessions, yes. The external, yes. Our appearances, health, careers, homes, and the vast majority of our personal belongings. But even more devastating – and so, so devastating – we lose all semblance of humanity, all prior sense of self-worth and purpose. We are ruthlessly stripped of all qualities we previously cherished. Our ability to be a good friend, our creativity, our compassion, the unconditional love we have for our family members – all of these authentic and innate traits are replaced by a desperate need to fulfill an insatiable and fatal craving. Once addiction sets in and takes over, we essentially lose the greater part of our humanity. We lose all of the beautiful things that make us human. We lose our sense of purpose.
What is purpose?
- The reason for which something is done or created, or for which something exists.
- Have as one’s intention or objective.
As human beings, developing and maintaining a sense of purpose is absolutely essential. If we feel there is no reasoning behind our existence, we will likely struggle with self-esteem and self-worth for the entirety of our lives. As young children, many of us develop dreams and aspirations – we want to be firefighters, or school teachers, or veterinarians. These dreams give our lives purpose. We have goals to work towards, and most of them incidentally involve helping others. See, individual purpose is often closely linked to altruism. Helping others give us a strong sense of meaning. Impacting the lives of others in a positive way reminds that we matter – we are important, we are useful, we can help. When we become chemically dependent on drugs or alcohol, we become completely self-seeking. The intrinsic selfishness that is nestled deep within every individual begins to infect and overwhelm, until we are wholly consumed by it. Our goals and dreams and aspirations are put on hold – sometimes indefinitely.
How do we recover from this?
Addiction recovery is heavily dependent on the reestablishment of a distinct and vital sense of purpose. After years of relentless substance abuse, our outlook and attitude towards life itself may have lost its sheen. Our childhood dreams may have died, and we may no longer know what it is we want to do with the remainder of our lives. We will figure this out in time – there is truly no rush, and there is great fun in exploring. Still, we must quickly reconstruct some sense of purpose if we wish to maintain fulfilled sobriety. Fortunately, to assist us in doing so, we have a multitude of similarly structured 12-step programs of recovery.
Founded on the spirit of altruism, Alcoholics Anonymous (and all offshoots) is effectively geared towards helping men and women who have lost their purpose at the hands of addiction reestablish a sense of self-worth. The 12 steps themselves are constructed in such a way that the end result and ‘primary purpose’ is simply staying sober and helping another alcoholic. If we are diligent about our program of recovery, and if we couple this program with continued therapeutic care, we are likely to reach a point of self-acceptance and purposefulness that will lead to long-term, fulfilled sobriety.
Our Program of Recovery
At Next Chapter Addiction Treatment, we strongly believe that reestablishing a sense of purpose is vital to meaningful and fulfilled sobriety. We work closely alongside each of our clients to help them develop a sense of self-worth and importance. Implementing proven therapeutic techniques, an incorporation of the 12-step program, and a sturdy foundation of altruism, we help guide clients towards significant lives of intention and purposefulness.