An absence of meaning in a person's life can be detrimental to their ability to recover from an addiction. While someone is addicted, they may lack a sense of purpose in their life which leads them to seek an escape from drugs or alcohol.
As the power of addiction grows stronger, using and finding more drugs becomes an addict's primary purpose from day to day. Their substance abuse consumes their life and leads them to forget about other things that may have been important to them in the past.
They could give up hobbies, ruin relationships, or even jeopardize their career because of their issues of addiction. They may lose any of the sense of what life meant to them and they start to see drugs as a way to fill the void. Meaningless can be painful and cause anxiety that leads to more drug use. It is for this reason that finding a sense of purpose is so important in order to remain sober while in recovery.
Meaning in the Past, Present and Future
One of the main tasks of recovery is to create experiences where an addict can begin to feel a sense of meaning in life. People in recovery can actively create a psychological experience of meaning by taking part in a program that allows you to connect with other people and develop your spirituality.
Any time someone in rehab feels an absence of meaning in their life it opens the door to addiction while experiencing a sense of purpose paves the way for recovery. Thinking about life meaning and purpose can incorporate the past, present and future.
In recovery an addict might ask themselves why they went through the things they did, how it changed them, and how it will affect their future.Asking these questions can help to construct a sense of meaning and help to redefine yourself in the face of a disease like addiction.
Life Purpose through Connection
To create meaning you need to focus on making the past more coherent and giving value to the present while linking present activities to a desired future. Making sense of the past, present and future can occur through experiences like meaningful connections in the recovery community.
Connecting more deeply with others can develop a sense of meaning that is impossible to have when you are completely isolated. Addicts need to connect with others to understand that everyone in their community has gone through the same experiences.
Connecting with a recovery community can help an addict feel that they are a part of something that is bigger than themselves. Being an integral part of something and providing some help or service to others makes you feel like you matter and your presence is important.
Isolation can make you feel as though your existence has no impact and your life has no meaning. Connection then is essential to having a sense of purpose that will keep you on track throughout recovery.
Having a sense of meaning and purpose may feel completely new in recovery but it will not always be the same throughout the process. Your sense of purpose may change and evolve in different stages as you learn more about recovery.
You might have a certain sense of meaning that gets you through the early stages of recovery but it will be redefined and may change as you reach more advanced stages of recovery. Your life purpose may also grow and increase throughout the months and years of sobriety.
As recovery continues throughout the rest of your life you will find new ways to experience meaning and it will become easier to see the purpose in everything you do.