Ralph Waldo Emerson once said, “To be yourself in a world constantly trying to make you something else is the greatest accomplishment.” Mr. Emerson’s quote expresses something we all know in our hearts, yet many of us squelch our truth and walk someone else’s path. Anyone in recovery from alcohol or drug abuse is now walking their path of defiance, courage, and healing.
However, people who are new in recovery often find themselves asking, “What is next?” Finding meaning in recovery is completely foreign to them because their purpose to exist is getting high. Now, this purpose is gone. Treatment staff, family, friends, therapists, and the like all invest time, love, advice, and care for the person in recovery. It all helps significantly. However, the person in recovery must find their purpose.
Finding Meaning in Recovery Is a Process
Perhaps finding a purpose is at the core of finding meaning in recovery. Finding meaning in recovery encompasses acceptance, treatment, renewal, discovering a new purpose, and living one’s best life.
Some people go through much of their recovery without finding meaning. Their mission to find a purpose temporarily becomes their purpose. Searching for meaning is not bad; it means one has a purpose, which is crucial in healing. Having a reason to get out of bed every day and progress through recovery will ultimately result in finding one’s true meaning.
Recovery is not without challenges, even when a person’s success target is solid. Bouts of depression and anxiety may invade a portion of their daily life. And yet, having a clear focus may provide the drive and resolve to overcome those seemingly debilitating obstacles.
How Do I Find My Purpose?
Purpose can be family, a beloved hobby, a career goal, spirituality, or anything that provides motivation and spurns passion. It does not need to be a lifelong purpose. However, it can be. An individual’s purpose can change during recovery at any point. The thing to remember is that only you can decide on your purpose. Such is true in recovery and life. It may come naturally or after a bit of soul-searching.
Keeping a journal and making a vision board effectively reinforces an individual’s purpose through their recovery journey. Creativity is admirable. However, for those not particularly creative, simple entries in a journal will allow time to reflect on each day and its possibilities. Some people need visuals to comprehend instructions, plans, graphs, and other knowledge. Due to this, a vision board may encourage a person to “power on.” Daily checking the vision board will reinforce resolve, motivation, and inspiration.
Mindfulness in Recovery
Humans can practice mindfulness, being present in the moment, acknowledging and accepting their feelings and reactions without judgment, and adjusting responses to emotions to aid their well-being substantially. Awareness of what drives an individual’s behaviors means they are no longer powerless.
Stress during recovery is natural and often occurs as an individual strives to cope with their addiction while learning how to move on to their new life. The holidays may also exacerbate stress. Mindfulness practice means you fundamentally accept yourself as you are, thus keeping you from becoming overcome by your current situation. Meditation and mindfulness practices can help with stress and anxiety symptoms inherent in recovery.
Finding Meaning in Recovery Through Spirituality
One’s spirituality encompasses core values and identity and may or may not be from the roots of religion. Spirituality provides a person with a blueprint of sorts with which to guide their direction in life. It also offers inner peace and knowledge that there is a force or power greater than all of us.
Knowing and believing in that greater power is an effective coping mechanism for the rigors of recovery. Studies show there is a mutual relationship between healing and spirituality. This relationship can offer a new perspective on life during recovery and may aid in engagement and reduce symptoms of depression.
Peers and Recovery
The value of one’s peers in recovery is significant. Accepting a peer’s assistance and assisting other peers improves the many facets of recovery. An individual’s plight and experiences may influence and inspire others, enriching their lives with new meaning and determination to succeed. Group storytelling sessions provide diversion and inspiration to people who may not have the same perspective. Merely learning about others, their culture, beliefs, and what drives them gives insight and understanding that we are all on this journey called life together.
Your Future Awaits
Your life meaning may change during the remainder of your recovery. Still, you will look back on the journey and reflect on your struggle as courageous and determined to live the life you continue striving for and deserve. Remember that you matter, as does your well-being: practice self-care, empathy, self-love, and gratefulness.
At SoCal Mental Health, we believe that recovery is a vital process of healing and well-being. We understand that it takes courage and diligence to learn and manage symptoms related to mental health and substance use disorders. Our programs are designed to help clients manage recovery using planned and defined therapies to aid treatment and recovery. Finding meaning in recovery can be challenging, but SoCal Mental Health is here to guide you. Through evidence-based and holistic practices, we can help you find the skills needed to live a happy life despite struggles with mental health and addiction. From there, you can find your purpose and meaning. Call (949) 502-2041 today to learn more.