Many people aspire to become vegetarians or cut back their meat consumption. Of those who try, the ones able to find creative, tasty, and nutritious vegetarian dishes will enjoy greater success than the people who simply fixate on not having meat.
Recovery from addiction is very similar. Simply focusing all energy on abstaining or avoiding a relapse will be less successful than if you also feed a passion, or something positive you can do to replace the time and energy you once filled with your addition.
What is a passion?
A passion is something that defines and gives purpose to your life. Your passions are the things for which you have great enthusiasm and willingness to give a great deal of time and effort. To feel passionate is to be motivated at the core of your being, willing to work harder than you otherwise would, because the work is filled with pleasure.
Addiction is an obsessive, all-consuming disorder, and a drive to use that consumed any other concerns. A passion can allow you to take that same powerful drive, and use it towards ends that are more positive for both yourself and those around you. This new passion can be a deeply healing force that will give you something towards which to redirect your energy, and show you how to live a full life free from addiction.
Finding a passion
Start by taking inventory of your interests and talents. There are many things we may be good at but do not have fun doing, as well as things we may enjoy but feel inadequate doing.
A passion is where those things intersect, so that it's something we will enjoy devoting our time to, and experience the rush of making a real contribution to the world. You may be your own worst critic, quick to discount the praise of others, so listen carefully when a friend encourages you or says there is something you are good at. Your fear may be holding you back from finding a real passion. In general, asking a friend who notices a gift or excitement in you can be a helpful way to help you find a passion.
Here are a few other questions that can help you in your search for your own passion:
Does anyone annoy you by devoting his or her time to something that seems "frivolous" or impractical? There could be some jealousy behind that anger; maybe you want to live that life but feel held back?
What did you love to do as a child?
What makes you lose track of time?
What's something I would want or care about for people I love?
Searching your passion should be a fun adventure. Try as many things as you can think of, and invite yourself to participate in things that excite your good friends. Simply trying new experiences can be a deeply healing activity, even if they don't stick as your ultimate passion.
Avoiding addiction to passion
Sometimes the line between a passion and an addiction can seem very thin. The difference is that while addiction is destructive, passions should be life giving. No matter what excites you, strive to keep your life in balance.
It should compliment a well-rounded life of taking care of yourself. Examine yourself carefully to make sure you are eating, sleep, exercising, and making time for human relationships, in addition to pursuing your own goals or pleasures.
By discovering a deep joy and reason to live, and making it part of a routine of living a balanced and thoughtful life, you will go a long way to getting your life back from an addiction. It is part of this journey towards discovering freedom, and living the joy-filled life you always wanted.