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Fulfillment as the Antidote to Addiction

Our struggles with addiction and mental illness have a way of overtaking our entire lives, robbing us of our joy and our sense of self. We feel lost, confused and disconnected from ourselves. Our mental and emotional pain cause us to feel empty, distraught and inconsolable. When we are in this place of suffering, it can feel impossible to find our purpose and to align ourselves with our goals. We don’t know what we want out of life let alone how to pursue it. We feel deeply unfulfilled, unhappy and at odds with ourselves.

Many of us didn’t have a foundation of strong support and nurturing growing up. We weren’t encouraged to dream, and as a result we didn’t know it was possible to even follow our dreams. We didn’t explore interests or pursue hobbies. We grew up never knowing what our passions were. We didn’t have career aspirations or the motivation to create goals and then strive to accomplish them. We didn’t have anything to reach for. This lack of purpose and fulfillment feeds our addictions. We use addictive substances and behaviors to numb the pain of how unfulfilled and empty we feel. We lose ourselves in the high, feeling so relieved that we can, for the moment, forget how much pain we’re in around not knowing who we are or what we want in life. When the high wears off, though, we come crashing back down to reality, and it hits us all over again – we don’t know what we’re doing in life, and that feeling is terrifying.

A strong sense of purpose helps us to stay the course when the going gets tough. Knowing our purpose can provide us with the clarity, direction and insight we need to plan ahead for the future and to work to manifest the life we want for ourselves. Without a sense of our purpose, we can feel lost at sea, directionless and adrift. We can feel hopeless and scared. We can feel as though we’re wasting precious years of our lives. Our energy has gone to prioritizing our drugs of choice and to maintaining our high. We’ve given a disproportionate amount of ourselves, our time, energy, money and resources to making sure we could always get high when we wanted to. We feel so disappointed in ourselves once we realize just how much of ourselves, our lives and our potential we’ve wasted. We feel ashamed of ourselves and embarrassed. Many of us become bitter, resentful and angry, both with ourselves and with our addictions. Our lack of purpose makes us feel totally disheartened and defeated. We lose faith in ourselves. We doubt we’ll ever be able to recover, and we feel so heartbroken that we start to not even care. We wonder ‘what’s the point in even trying?’ We have nothing to live for anyway.

What will ultimately bring us joy and redemption might be different for each of us, but for many of us, the answer to this heart-wrenching dilemma of not knowing what to live for, or why we should even still care, lies in finding our fulfillment. When we don’t already know our purpose, trying to find it can feel daunting, overwhelming and anxiety-inducing. It can feel impossible even. In order to find what makes us feel fulfilled, we can ask ourselves some questions and then write about the answers, meditate on them, pray about them, and reflect on them. What makes your heart sing? What lights you up from within? What makes you excited to start the day? How can you give back? How can you serve others? What brings you feelings of gratitude and peace? What do you love to do, that you can’t live without? What were you good at as a child? What interests or passions have you had over the years that maybe you neglected or sacrificed because of your addictions? Do you have any unexplored talents, things you exceled at at one point but have since given up on? Answering these questions for ourselves can set us down a path of self-discovery, self-reflection and personal examination. What results from doing this inner work is a renewed sense of who we are. We start to rebuild our confidence and our self-worth. We start to have more faith in ourselves and our abilities, and we see that anything is possible.

When we feel fulfilled, we’re much more likely to be able to stay aligned with our sobriety and our recovery goals. We feel driven by a purpose that’s bigger than us, something powerful and meaningful that we can be a part of, that brings us peace and joy. When we have the clarity of knowing our direction in life, we feel more aligned with who we really are. We start to feel more connected with our true selves. Once we’ve reached this place of fulfillment, we find it far easier to withstand the temptation of our addictions because now we have something tangible to stay sober for. We have a reason to stay committed to our recovery program. We have something wonderful to live for. We have an outlet for our time and energy that is productive and rewarding and that makes us feel good about ourselves. We feel our confidence returning and our self-esteem being repaired. We feel redeemed. We now feel we have something to offer the world. Fulfillment just might be the antidote to addiction and mental illness.

The Guest House Ocala provides unparalleled, premier-quality treatment to those who suffer from self-defeating behaviors brought on by trauma and its underlying issues. We are uniquely equipped to help our guests heal from trauma-induced substance abuse, process addiction, anxiety or depression in a safe, comfortable and confidential setting. Call 855-483-7800 today for more information.