Being in recovery can give the newcomer a tremendous sense of purpose. After feeling on the wrong side of purpose for so long, many dive into any opportunity presented in order to give back, once the addiction is left behind and the recovery life has begun. Sponsors encourage service as a way to leave self-centered habits behind, and many seem to require a positive outlet to fill up the time once used to use or drink or eat or gamble or compulsively do whatever.
As time goes on, putting up the coffee and setting up the chairs, gives way to sponsoring and speaking at meetings, even taking meetings to institutions and prisons. and so purpose grows. Addicts now define themselves as' in recovery' as they 'watch the fellowship grow' around them, just as the Big Book predicts they will. This life of giving has tremendous rewards and provides many opportunities for learning and growth along the way.
Yet, with all of this opportunity, some if not many in recovery still falter, slip into switching addictions and eventually relapse on their original substance or behavior of choice. So, why? Why does this happen?
For some it is simply falling away from the basics of meetings, steps, tools, phone calls, sponsoring and being sponsored. For others, all of these things are in place, yet the hole in the soul persists, sometimes staying a simple gnawing or yearning, sometimes strong enough to burn through to an addiction switch or even to a relapse.
This blog posits that even when one's step work is solid, there are, for some, deeper levels of spiritual work that are possible to achieve, that could, if given the opportunity, take one to deeper levels of recovery and healing.
One of the tools to get to that deeper level is the process of finding one's personal life purpose beyond the generic life purpose of all recovering alcoholics and addicts. To find one's purpose is a very private process, yet the path has been cleared to make it possible to achieve, deeply and profoundly and when it is achieved, its effects are transformative.
According to author Tim Kelley, author of True Purpose: 12 Strategies for Discovering The Difference You are Meant to Make, there are actually two ways of finding one's life purpose: the indirect way and the direct way.
To find one's purpose indirectly, one can explore the passions and interests of one's youth, the achievements of a lifetime, the yearnings of one's thoughts. This method, the one most commonly used, involves memory and imagination, but is all done on the conscious level. Therefore, its depth of knowledge and understanding is limited.
Traveling more deeply to find one's purpose directly can include meditation, dreams as well as two-way communication through prayer and journaling. In Tim's book, he explains these four methods in depth and we will look at each of them in upcoming issues of this blog.
For people with a strong recovery program, positing that it could be possible to enjoy two-way communication with a force for good within or beyond oneself is not beyond the pale. After all, the 11th step requires 'conscious contact with the God of our understanding' and the Big Book of Alcoholics Anonymous discusses the intuitive understanding that 'grows within you one day at a time.' Many have experienced the growing hunches the Big Book refers to and feel that umbrella of protection that they may refer to as Divine Protection and Guidance.
Yet, the two-way communication this article refers to is more explicit than what is outlined in the Big Book and is useful not only for finding one's purpose but also for building and deepening a spiritual relationship with the God of one's understanding, potentially far beyond what many experience through step work. In fact, it is so powerful as to deepen one's step work substantially.
Next week we will explore the idea of finding one's purpose through this method further, focusing on the three aspects of purpose and what each of them includes.
To find out if you have enough recovery to pursue finding your personal life purpose, take the survey in this newsletter. Be sure to put your name and contact information on your survey and I will be happy to call you to discuss your results.
If you find you are ready, join Beth Scanzani and I as we take you on a delightful journey toward your purpose, beginning the week of July 12, 2010!
Enjoy your life in recovery!
All the Best!
Recovery Coach Bev
786 859 4050