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Part of the important work we do in recovery is finding ourselves, rebuilding our sense of self and discovering our purpose. We can find that throughout our struggles with addiction, our sense of purpose eluded us. We didn’t know what we were meant to do with our lives. We were confused about our mission. We felt we had nothing to give, nothing to contribute to the world to make it a better place. As a result, we felt unfulfilled, disappointed with ourselves, and totally unsatisfied with life. We felt down on ourselves and ashamed. We envied the people with careers and passions that fulfilled them and gave them a sense of pride. We felt we didn’t measure up to the people doing the things we wished we were doing. Part of our recovery is shedding our self-deprecating feelings so that we can align ourselves with our life’s mission and begin working towards it.

When we’re filled with shame and disappointment in ourselves, it’s impossible to look to the future with hopefulness and optimism. It’s impossible to feel positive about our potential or the possibilities in store for us. We’ve essentially given up on ourselves. How can we find our purpose when we’re beating ourselves up, judging ourselves for our past mistakes and shortcomings, and denying ourselves compassion and forgiveness? Learning to have understanding for ourselves and working to forgive ourselves are hugely important elements of the emotional foundation we need to create for ourselves in our recovery. We need to remind ourselves that disappointment is a part of human nature. No one is perfect, and all of us have felt down on ourselves and unfulfilled at some point. Clinging to these feelings of disappointment only brings us down and doesn’t serve us in our evolution. We want to get to the point where we feel we have acceptance for ourselves, even for the things that we’d like to improve or wish we could change. Learning to relinquish control over the things we can’t control or change is hugely transformative. It frees us up to focus on the things we can change and have control over – how we spend our days, how we think and feel about ourselves, what decisions we make for our healing. Are we supporting our recovery or impeding it with our choices? Are we loving or rejecting ourselves? Self-rejection takes us further and further away from finding our purpose. Self-acceptance helps us align with our path and find ourselves, so that we can discover the things we love in life, the things that light us up from within and make our hearts sing.

Moving forward in our recovery can be scary. We can be filled with self-doubt and trepidation, especially because our journeys are filled with so much uncertainty. The unknown can terrify us. We’re used to having the familiarity of our comfort zone to fall back on. Now we’re pushing ourselves to change and grow. We’re reaching higher. We’re striving for bigger and better. We’re challenging ourselves to take our health seriously, sometimes for the first time in our lives. All of the unfamiliarity can be overwhelming, but let’s remind ourselves that evolution requires some discomfort. We have to move beyond the stagnant confines of our comfort zone if we want to transform, if we want to do better and be better. All of the challenges involved are part of finding our purpose. We won’t find ourselves or discover what we’re meant to do in life if we’re stuck, complacent in the comfort and familiarity of our old lives. We won’t receive the blessings in store for us if we don’t push ourselves. Our purpose is on the other side of our fear. We just have to walk through the gateways we created for ourselves when we started the healing process.

When we’re trying to find our purpose, we can have a hard time knowing where to start. If we’ve been feeling unfulfilled for a long time, we can feel as though our usefulness and resourcefulness have left us. Let’s start to look within and dig deep. Let’s do some soul searching. What made you feel inspired, before addiction started running the show? What talents did you have that maybe you started to foster but gave up on when you chose to prioritize your addictions? What gifts have you been neglecting? What passions have been sacrificed because of your illness? Our talents, gifts, strengths and passions never leave us. They’re always there, within us. We just have to reignite the flame that may have been extinguished by our self-destructive, self-hating life patterns. It’s never too late to get back to the things we love. We can’t hope to be happy without feeling fulfilled, and we may never find fulfillment without healing from our addictions. Recovery and finding our purpose go hand in hand.

When we think of addiction recovery, we tend to associate it with sobriety. Sometimes we forget all of the emotional factors at play. We forget that we’ll need to fill up our time with things that are useful, productive and enjoyable. All the time we committed to our addictions will now need to go to things that actually bring us genuine enjoyment and happiness. As we heal, we naturally find our purpose, and as we align with that purpose, we open ourselves up to healing. Our recovery and our sense of fulfillment fuel each other. Soon we’ll be truly aligned,a and the peace we feel within ourselves will be so worth all the hard work we’ve put into finding our purpose.

Riverside Recovery is a drug and alcohol treatment center offering a full continuum of care for people suffering from addiction and co-occurring mental health disorders. We understand the emotional challenges of addiction recovery and are here to support you. Call us today for more information: (800) 871-5440.