Finding Your Life’s Purpose After Getting Sober
When you’re newly sober, life can seem like a boring stream of monotonous tasks. Most addicts, especially those who are in their teens and twenties, crave excitement. Without the thrill of using drugs or alcohol and the constant drive to find your next fix, you can start to feel lost. You might even question whether getting sober was worth it. After all, if your life isn’t going to be better than it was before you stopped using, what’s the point?
Whether you’ve gone through an inpatient program or are using an outpatient drug rehab, it’s important to understand that quitting your drug of choice is only one part of addiction recovery process. To get sober and stay that way, you also need to learn how to enjoy a fun and fulfilling life without leaning on the crutch of your addiction.
When you’ve found a purpose for your life, everything becomes more meaningful. It’s far easier to stay on a sober path when you have something important to do and people who rely on you.
While it’s easy to tell someone they need to find their life’s purpose, it’s much harder to actually do it. There are plenty of adults who have never struggled with addiction but still have no idea what they want to do with their lives, so how are you supposed to do it? The soul-searching necessary to find your true purpose is never easy, but it’s definitely worth it. These tips for self-exploration will help you find your way.
1. Focus on the Purpose You Already Have
After you’ve finished an inpatient program or outpatient drug rehab, it’s common to feel like your life is meaningless. Almost always, however, all you need to do is take a second look. Are you raising children or supporting a family? Do you have a Mother or Father who loves you? Do you have a job where your employer depends on you? Do you have any friends that can benefit from your example? Playing an important role in someone’s life is a truly noble purpose.
While you’re exploring your current life, remember that your purpose doesn’t have to be something grand. There’s no purpose too small and no reason to search for something new if you’re happy where you are. If you’ve found something in your life that sparks your passion and makes you happy, focus your energy on that.
2. Explore Your Passions and Dreams
Self-exploration is the key to finding out what truly makes you happy. Writing in a journal will help you explore your thoughts and feelings in a non-threatening way. When you’re journaling, don’t think about spelling or grammar, and don’t edit while you’re writing. Just write (or type) whatever comes to mind without censoring your thoughts. When you think you’re done, force yourself to keep going for at least ten more minutes. That’s where the magic really starts to happen.
Start by writing down all of your interests and passions. Then make a list of the people and things that bring joy to your life. Take your self-exploration a step further by writing out your answers to the following questions:
- When was the happiest time in your life?
- What have you done that made you truly feel proud of yourself?
- What gives you energy and makes you feel really alive?
- Who are the top five people you admire most, and why?
- If you could do one thing to make yourself happier, what would it be?
- What things would you want to do if you didn’t feel like you “should” be doing other things?
- What’s the one thing you would change about the world if you could?
- If you found out you only had one week to live, what would you do with your time?
Take your time and explore each of these questions in depth. For some people, this process causes a light bulb to go off. They’ll experience an epiphany and suddenly everything will make sense. Others won’t be so lucky. In this case, don’t push yourself too hard. Let the words settle in and keep thinking about what you wrote. Eventually, something will click and you’ll know you’re on the right path.
3. Listen to Your Intuition
Do you remember who you were before everybody started telling you who you’re supposed to be? Far too often, young people lose their passion because other people tell them their dreams aren’t realistic. If there’s something your heart is telling you to do, don’t squash it because it will be hard or it doesn’t make complete sense.
Following your passion is usually scary. Your family and friends might tell you not to start that business, travel the world, or start a charity. They’ll be worried about the stress it will bring and the potential challenges to your sobriety. Take their concerns into consideration, but also don’t let fear keep you from pursuing your dreams.
If you’re concerned about your sobriety, consider continuing your treatment through an online outpatient drug rehab while you’re working on your new project. This will help put everyone’s minds at ease and give you the support you need when times get tough.
4. Create an Action Plan
Once you’ve found a purpose worth pursuing, it’s time to actually do something about it. Start by writing down your life’s purpose in the form of a personal mission statement. Keep it simple and make sure to use a format that’s actionable and easy to follow.
Next, write down the action steps needed to start living the life you’re dreaming of. Divide these action steps into short, intermediate, and long-term goals. Every morning review your list of goals and make sure you do at least one thing each day that will bring you closer to accomplishing them.
If you start to lose your motivation, go back to your journal and re-read some of your initial entries. Reminding yourself why you’ve decided to focus on your new goals will help you stay motivated and see it through to the end.
5. Ask for Help When You Need It
Recovering from addiction is no easy task, and neither is finding your life’s purpose. In both journeys, there are going to be ups and downs. There will be times when you wonder if you’re on the right track and moments when you feel like giving up.
Whether you’ve found your sobriety through an inpatient program or an outpatient drug rehab, you’re going to need ongoing support. Talking to other young people struggling with the same issues is one of the best ways to work through your problems. The types of live chat rooms you’ll find in an online outpatient drug rehab can mean the difference between working through your challenges and slipping into relapse.
Get Ready to Live the Life of Your Dreams
Remember that this is your journey and there’s no right or wrong answer. If you think you’ve found your calling, try it out for a while. If it turns out not to be the right thing, keep looking. There’s no science to finding your true purpose in life, so don’t beat yourself up if the process takes time.