What is the meaning of life?
It is the most baffling question that has troubled humankind since the beginning of time. The importance of this question stems from the fact that if we donít have a purpose, our lives can feel aimless and unsatisfactory. Strangely, people addicted to alcohol tend to ignore the search for meaning. In fact, because getting drunk becomes the epicenter around which their whole lives revolve, they donít have the time or the need to look any further.
Yearning for Meaning is Normal in Recovery
Then again, once they manage to escape their addiction, the urge to find a meaning in their life inevitably resurfaces. Most recovering alcoholics turn to religion and spirituality in their quest for meaning. For instance, AA teaches us that alcohol addiction is a physical, mental and spiritual disease that we canít escape without the help of a higher power.
Even though AA has managed to push me into the right direction, I must confess I was bothered that the groups donít focus on identifying the extra reasons why people like me develop an addiction. From their point of view, alcoholism is a spiritual disease that can only be cured with a spiritual remedy.
Since I have never been deeply religious and erroneously considered spirituality as a synonym for religion, I decided to search for a secular approach that would help me reach the same goal. If religion or the mere idea of spiritual therapy is not your cup of Earl Grey tea, then rest assured you can find other ways to bring back meaning to your life.
Why Finding Meaning in Your Life is Important
Mind you that without finding a purpose in life, youíre vulnerable and can give into temptation easier. If you donít add value to your newfound life, chances are that you wonít invest a great deal of effort to stay sober either. Itís true, the first couple of weeks after rehab made me feel like I was a completely new person. Moreover, I felt that I was able to accomplish anything if I set my mind to. However, after the novelty of sobriety wore off, I found things too overwhelming and relapsed.
How I Found Meaning in Recovery
When I got out of rehab, I was overwhelmed by the numerous changes around me. Frankly, now I know it wasnít the world that had changed, but rather that I learned to see things in a new light. Both my therapist and AA sponsor tried to convince me that my new state of mind is normal. However, although I knew what I had to do, I simply couldnít find my place in the world. In other words, I really wanted to rebuild my life, but I didnít know where to place the cornerstone.
One of the things that helped me pull through and stay sober after the relapse was joining a support group that shared my secular perspective. Because I was surrounded by people who had the same world view, I felt that I wasnít alone anymore.
You donít have to go through recovery alone. Regardless of your goals and outlook, remember that there are other people out there who share your views and opinions.