For the person with a substance use disorder, drug seeking, finding, and using takes time. It can be all-encompassing and, some might say, can provide a person with a substance use disorder a purpose.
When that substance is gone, through treatment and a commitment to recovery, there is a void that must be filled with healthier purposeful pursuits if the drug seeking behaviors are to be left behind.
In early recovery, seeking, finding, and living in recovery can be that all-encompassing pursuit that provides purpose. But over time, many find that inner nudge for something more.
The same can be true for family members who have spent years controlling, enabling and care-taking their loved ones. Recovery can become a pursuit within and of itself. But what then?
Once people become seasoned in recovery, when their recovery is second nature, if there is not something more in their life to provide the kind of day in and day out pursuit that makes waking up each day purposeful, there may be a danger of returning to old behaviors that only led to illness and mayhem.
I am fortunate to have found my purpose eight years ago – and at the time, I thought it was all about work. In fact, doing so gave me a portable career that I have taken wherever I have gone and a way to help others, especially those affected by a loved one’s addiction, to move their lives forward and help their loved ones as well. It also gave me an understanding of the broader definition of purpose beyond career and professional contribution.
There are so many areas of purpose available to us in our lives and at different points in our lives we have opportunities to focus on them if we choose to and when we choose not to, we feel it. At least I do…
This past January, in a new town (having moved last June), without a car (hadn’t gotten my new one yet), I felt that pang of feeling really lost. It manifested in an ongoing and growing feeling of sadness. I was engaged in purposeful work, and was thrilled to live near my daughter and granddaughter, and grateful for my recovery. Yet, I felt the longing for more.
As a person with many years of 12 step and BALM recovery, I looked within rather than placing blame on the outside. Through the inner work that recovery entails, I’d learned that other people were not the cause of my issues long ago.
What followed was a journey into prayer and meditation that led me further along on my journey of purposeful living.
As I reflected and looked for answers within, I was reminded of the value of using the resources around me for my own growth.
I now live in a town centered around having a faith based community to be a part of. So i increased my involvement in my own faith-based community. Began to attend more worship services and community events and became active in bringing events to the community. This led me to people I enjoy spending time with and meaningful activities beyond work.
I saw that not having a car was contributing to my feeling of isolation and began the work of getting a car. (Until that happened, I began asking for rides more and finding ways to get to the places I wanted to go.)
I joined community groups, began searching for like-minded individuals to get together with and groups to join and I deepened my work on my own recovery through starting the steps over with my sponsor. I was working during the in-person meetings in town, so I started an online meeting at a time that worked for me and lo and behold, others had the same need!
Alan and I began to explore places on our time off and to spend fun time together, even in the limited time our schedules allowed.
Within a month, I began to feel at home in a town that I formerly felt I didn’t belong in. I was beginning to have people I enjoyed being with and places to go and things to do that I found meaningful.
My life purpose, which has to do with helping families affected by addiction, expanded in a very personal sense, when I chose to start with myself as a member of one of those families. I was lost and I applied my own purpose, which includes helping lost souls find their way. This time, I was the lost soul and I knew that I needed help so, through prayer, meditation, and action, I sought and found it for myself.
I spent time rebuilding a relationship with me that worked, by beginning to step out into the new community I had been planted in. Purposeful work expanded into purposeful living.
Where are you with your sense of purpose and fulfillment? What can you do today to increase your sense of belonging in your own shoes, your own family, your own life, your own community?
The key to evolving out of the morass is to take action.
It works again and again as recovery is a lifelong journey and getting into recovery is only the beginning!
If you feel that finding your purpose could help click here for more information!
Be A Loving Mirror!
Beverly A. Buncher, MA, PCC, MRLC, CTPC
Family Recovery Coach/CEO
Family Recovery Resources, LLC
786 859 4050