When it comes to recovery, it’s not about what we’re running from—it’s what we’re running towards. We all need to find our “why”; the thing that gets us out of bed in the morning, the thing we’ll fight for, the thing that makes us feel alive. Without a why, there is no hope for sustained recovery from drug and alcohol abuse.
Finding meaning in life is a subjective experience. There is no one-size-fits-all answer, so it’s up to each individual to discover their own beliefs, values, and purpose in life. We have to discover this for ourselves.
At The Differents, we’re a collection of people who found our true selves after shedding our personas, rewriting the stories of our lives given to us by others, and emerging from addiction with restored dignity and a newfound vision for life. Part of our treatment program is to help people envision life on the other side of rehab—to find their meaning—so they can leave rehab on a journey toward becoming who they were truly meant to be.
The Various Forms of Meaning
There are many different ways that people find meaning in life. Here are some of the common pursuits that help individuals find a deep sense of satisfaction and purpose.
Pursuing passions and interests
Many people find meaning in life by engaging in activities that they are passionate about, such as hobbies, sports, or creative pursuits. Whether it’s painting, pickleball, video games—the list is endless—pursuing passion produces a strong sense of “why.”
Helping others/Making a difference
Contributing to society or making a positive impact in the world can provide a sense of purpose and meaning. Helping others through volunteering, charity work, or simply being kind and supportive can provide a deep sense of purpose and fulfillment.
Developing meaningful relationships
Building deep and meaningful relationships with family, friends, or romantic partners can give a sense of connection and belonging. And maintaining loving relationships with others is a strong motivator for overcoming addiction.
Spirituality involves the feeling or belief that there is something greater than myself, something more to being human than sensory experience, and that the greater whole of which we are part is cosmic or divine in nature. Exploring your spirituality through meditation, prayer, or other practices can provide a sense of purpose and inner peace that empowers recovery.
Whether it’s finishing a triathlon, writing a novel, or traveling to a new country, setting and achieving personal and/or professional goals can give a sense of accomplishment and fulfillment that leads to sustained recovery.
Strategies for Finding Meaning in Life
Ultimately, the key to finding meaning in life is to explore your interests, values, and beliefs, and to find activities and pursuits that align with those important areas. If you’re struggling to find meaning and purpose in your life, here are a few tips that may be helpful:
Reflect on your values
Take some time to think about what is most important to you. What values do you hold dear? What kind of person do you want to be? Self-awareness is the first step towards a meaningful life.
Explore your interests
Think about what activities or hobbies bring you joy and fulfillment. You can also try new things and explore new interests to find what resonates with you.
Identify some short- and long-term goals that align with your values and interests. Having specific goals can give you direction and motivation.
Find ways to help others
Whether it’s at a homeless shelter, church, school, or a personal relationship, taking the step to volunteer or help others in some way can kickstart a sense of purpose and fulfillment.
Build meaningful relationships
Invest in relationships with people who share your values and interests. These relationships can provide support and a sense of connection.
Consider talking to a therapist or counselor who can help you explore your thoughts and feelings and guide you towards finding meaning and purpose in your life.
With You on Your Journey
There’s an important point we want to close with: finding meaning and purpose is a journey, not a destination. This process takes time, effort, and self-reflection, but the rewards can be life-changing.
At The Differents, we’re there on the other side, helping keep people from falling into old habits, assisting in finding jobs, getting connected, and establishing new rhythms of life. In other words, we help people find their meaning. We’ve traveled these waters ourselves, and we are passionate about helping people find their “why”.
Getting clean is only the beginning. But then what? It’s not about what we’re running from, especially addiction. It’s about what we’re running towards. What is the meaning of your life? Whose story are you going to start living? Those are the questions The Differents are here to help you answer.