Making Sense of Our Pain

The pain we experience in our lives, especially the pain of our addictions and mental health issues, can be so hard to understand, to make sense of and to find clarity around. We feel confused, overwhelmed and perplexed by it. We feel lost, abandoned and alone trying to figure out why we’ve gone through the painful things we have. We don’t understand why we’ve been dealt the cards we’ve been dealt, why we’ve had such a long string of bad luck, why we’ve had so much suffering in our lives. Sometimes we feel like the victims of our harsh circumstances and traumatic experiences. Sometimes we wonder what we’ve done wrong to incur so much struggle. Part of our recovery is learning how to make sense of our pain, even though it can be hard, so that we can discover the lessons and spiritual tests within our pain that are meant to strengthen us and help us develop our character.

 Sometimes we give up trying to understand our pain and our life experiences because they feel impossible to make sense of. We feel as though no one should ever have to experience what we’ve experienced, it just isn’t fair. Our pain is asking us to dig deeper, though, to find the complex meanings within it. We want to be able to mindfully sit with our pain and breathe through all of the difficult feelings that come with it, the physical discomfort, the anxiety, the rage, the grief. We want to get out of our patterns of resisting our pain and trying to avoid it with our drugs of choice. Our resistance only makes us more likely to turn to our addictions to escape our pain. Our resistance can make us deeply depressed. The more we fight our pain, the worse it feels, the more afraid of it we become. We want to accept our pain rather than fight it.

In this place of acceptance, we’re naturally calmer and more at peace. Revelations begin to come to us. We have epiphanies about the purpose of our pain and the deeper meaning behind our experiences. We see our pain as a necessary part of our healing evolution. We start to see ways in which we can help other people learn the tools we’ve used to help ourselves heal. We see enormous potential for growth and positivity, because once we’ve accepted our pain, it has a chance to clarify itself for us and show its deeper meanings to us. We can open ourselves to everything it has to teach us, and we begin to understand the reasons behind our pain. 

Riverside Recovery is committed to helping you get back the life you love. Our treatment programs include multiple forms of therapy, family workshops and mindfulness-based relapse prevention education. Call (800) 871-5440 for more information.