Throughout life, we often pause to reflect on and evaluate what brings us purpose. If we are not able to understand what motivates us to live, through passion or through purpose, we lose our vision for the future. Many people experience discontentment, disillusionment, and disconnection as they try to navigate life’s inevitable uncertainty. Oftentimes, these experiences are the ones that lead people to substance use in the first place. For treatment for substance use and addiction to be effective, it is essential that treatment involves mechanisms of self-discovery. Recovery allows you to start fresh when you feel unmotivated or lost in life.
Why Purpose Matters in Recovery
Purpose is the reason why something exists. It is the root of our intentions or aims for doing something. Having a purpose in life means identifying and acknowledging something worth living for, especially when it comes to identifying associated short-term and long-term goals.
When substance use becomes a priority in a person’s life, their drive and determination for a life worth living become foggy. Many people that enter treatment for addiction and substance use feel worthless, frustrated, and defeated. When these negative thought patterns go untreated, people experience severe challenges as they try to stop their pattern of substance use.
Having a purpose not only teaches self-worth in recovery, but it helps acknowledge how temporary and precious the human life experience truly is. Having a purpose in recovery is important because it allows for honing in and focusing on something other than addiction and substance use. While substance use may be the single focus for beginning treatment, identifying a purpose is often the catalyst for healthier patterns of thought.
Self-Discovery Will Fuel How You Find Purpose
If you are undergoing mental health or addiction recovery treatment, your therapist and other health professionals will help you to uncover the reasons why your substance use initially began. For most people, substance use may have initially been fueled by a need to self-medicate, especially when a person has experienced symptoms of depression or anxiety and is trying to cope. For others, substance use might have begun from peer pressure, responsibility overload, or general curiosity. Understanding why your substance use began matters.
The mental health professionals that assist you in treatment will also encourage you to do some self-discovery work. You will be empowered and motivated to do introspective work and identify what you want to get from treatment, as well as what you want out of life. You will be challenged to think beyond your own life experiences so far.
Evaluate your strengths and weaknesses. Imagine what your perfect life could look like. Visual imagery and daydreaming not only fuels creativity, but also help paint a picture of your passions. By imagining what your best days could look like, you can try to create realistic expectations of how to achieve a life worth living.
How to Identify Your Purpose in Recovery
Rarely is there someone who goes through addiction treatment already feeling motivated by a specific purpose. The good thing is, you have the ability to become whoever you want, as long as you keep in mind the resources available to you.
As you go about treatment, you will hear stories from others that have been in the same shoes. You will have opportunities to listen, speak, reflect, and help others when necessary. The following activities may help you discover purpose in your life:
- Volunteer your time or talent. Helping others helps to increase valuable life skills like humility and altruism. Doing something kind for others fosters feelings of happiness and meaning. You may find that by volunteering for a specific organization, you become an advocate or spokesperson for that organization’s specific purpose over time.
- Take constructive criticism and feedback. Every person you speak with can offer different insights into your life. Ask others if they see you being particularly passionate about any given issue or thing. Write down when someone makes a positive remark or observation about you. You might already be wearing your passions on your sleeve without realizing it.
- Surround yourself with positive people. Look around in your group therapy groups or in your friendships and begin to surround yourself more consistently with positive people. If you are surrounded by positive people, you are likely to become inspired by their optimism and drive.
- Explore different interests. Consider how many different things you can be passionate about—the possibilities are endless! Give yourself time to explore different conversations to find out where your passions lie.
- Consider the things that bother you. There are so many social justice topics alone that may add purpose to your life. Find an issue that needs more exposure and become educated, advocate, and be passionate about it.
- Do what you love to do. If you find something that gives you a sense of purpose and you enjoy it, stick to it! Brainstorm how you can turn your passion into something meaningful for your life.
Recovery helps you to find purpose in your life through deep reflection and self-discovery. Substance use and addiction once ruled your life, and it is important to now identify a reason for staying sober. Now that you have chosen recovery, you are committed to finding reasons to make this life a life worth living. Recovery is a journey of self-discovery as you learn to acknowledge your self-worth and identify your passions and purpose. In recovery, it is important to explore all different opportunities of service, education, connection, and joy so that you are able to identify what brings a unique purpose to your life. At West Coast Recovery Centers, we believe that everyone deserves to experience a sober life worth living. We will motivate and empower you to discover your passions and strengths to help you discover what your purpose may be. Your recovery journey is purposeful in itself. Call us today at (760) 492-6509.