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We usually associate our addictions with being painful and debilitating illnesses that we want to rid ourselves of and heal from as quickly as possible. What we often don’t realize is that our addictions hold a deeper meaning and carry a deeper purpose beyond the self-medicating, the escapism and distraction from our difficult thoughts and emotions. There is often a deeper meaning behind why we do what we do and why we make the choices we make. When we’re able to explore our addictions in more depth, we learn more about ourselves. We discover all of the ways in which we haven’t been nurtured, supported or fulfilled, and we learn about all of the contributing factors that were a part of the development of our addictions. When we look at the roles our addictions have been playing in our lives, we see that they go much deeper than our dependence on our drugs of choice and addictive behaviors.

Our addictions have incredibly important information to teach us. Exploring them in more depth helps us uncover which wounds we have yet to heal, which fears we haven’t resolved yet, and which hurts we still have to process. For years we haven’t been able to make sense of our challenging life issues, partly because we’ve been so distracted and numbed by drugs, and partly because we have allowed our substance abuse to prevent us from doing the work required to face ourselves and our issues. We haven’t been able to be open and honest with ourselves. We haven’t been able to reconnect with ourselves. When we look at our addictions more closely, we see all of the traumas, all of the challenges, all of the recurring cycles that have made us so deeply unhappy that we sought comfort and solace in our drugs of choice.

We come to learn that our addictions are meant to teach us something. We get to know ourselves better and more intimately, and have a stronger connection with ourselves, because of our struggles with addiction. Because we are put to the ultimate test with our addictions, we grow in self-reliance and resilience. We become stronger, more courageous and more empowered. We learn how to move through our fears and our pain. Without our addictions to test us, we might have stayed in the safety and neutrality of our comfort zones, never pushing ourselves to be better or do better for ourselves. We might have felt we were happy enough with our lives, and we might have chosen to resort to complacence, never striving to develop ourselves, improve upon ourselves, learn and grow, or make changes in our lives.

The deeper meaning and purpose behind our addictions will be different for each of us. Some of will learn about intergenerational cycles and legacies of family pain that we’re carrying on. Some of us will find that we’ve been trying to escape particular memories and painful traumatic experiences through our reliance on drugs and alcohol. Many of us will find that analyzing the meaning behind our addictions gives us a much better sense of who we are and what we need in order to heal and be our best selves.

If you’re struggling with addiction, you’re not alone. Reach out for support. The community of Riverside Recovery has personal experience with addiction and recovery. We’re here to help you reclaim the life you love. Call (800) 871-5440 today.