Finding Purpose in Recovery

Feb 13, 2024

Finding Purpose In Recovery Thrive Li Ny

When I took my Recovery Coach training, one of the things that stuck with me the most, is a discussion we had on the theory of Maslow’s hierarchy of needs.

Without going too far down the proverbial rabbit hole, Maslow’s hierarchy of needs is a model that places the needs of human beings in order, from the most basic to the most advanced. The theory behind it is that human beings need the most basic of needs fulfilled first before moving onto any of the more advanced needs.

So of course, the basic needs at the bottom are Physiological. Things like breathing, food, water, and shelter. As we move up the pyramid, it lists needs such as, Safety and Security, Love and Belonging and Self-Esteem.

At the very top of the pyramid is Actualization. This need includes, morality, creativity, spontaneity, acceptance and last but certainly not least, PURPOSE.

Living with substance use disorder is a completely unique experience for every individual.

It is the same thing with recovery. There are multiple pathways to recovery, and it is up to the individual to find the path that feels most right for them.

But what happens after someone finds recovery and puts down the substance?

Depending on the individual’s circumstances, they might need some of these basic needs met before they can start building a life in recovery. We have all heard stories of both low and high bottoms, so every situation is different.

As a person in long term recovery, my basic needs have been met for some time now. Thankfully, I have the love of my family, food on the table and a roof over my head.

I do a host of things to maintain my recovery, like going to 12-Step meetings, staying close with my sober network, reading daily affirmations, exercise and even a little meditation.

But to sustain my recovery and live in a state of gratitude, I need something a bit more personal. I need to immerse myself into things that trickle down the pyramid.

Things that give me a greater sense of, well… purpose.

It took me a long time to figure that out.

In my early recovery, things were very unclear for me. I felt really lost. My life revolved around alcohol and drugs for so long that I had no idea of who I really was.

I was starting over. It was scary and daunting to say the least.

Since then, I have experienced an unbelievable journey of self-reflection, discovery, and enlightenment and over time, I have grown into my sobriety.

In the preamble of Alcoholics Anonymous, there is a line that states, “our primary purpose is to stay sober and help other alcoholics to achieve sobriety.”

I love the simplicity of that message. It really resonated with me when I first got sober, so I borrowed it and ran with it. For a long time, I made this mantra my main purpose. It gave me self-esteem; feelings of compassion and it made me feel good about myself while helping others.

Over time, this purpose of helping others has morphed and evolved into something even more essential to my sobriety. Although a work in progress, being in recovery has allowed me to become the best version of myself. I feel comfortable in my own skin, and I am ok stepping out of my comfort zone. Because of this, I transitioned from an extensive career in Advertising, to that of Human Services. Without recovery, this would have never been possible.

Working at THRIVE gives me great purpose. I get to help people for a living. I never would have dreamt it possible when I was in my active addiction. Contributing to someone’s recovery journey is an honor and a privilege and in turn it helps enrich my own sobriety. Every day I come to work I get to learn from others who have walked this path of service before me.

When I first got sober, I thought it was only about putting down the drink and the drug. That could not have been further from the truth. All the experiences, adventures, mistakes, and all the people I have met have led me to this point in my life.

A life of intent, a life filled with meaning and a life lived with purpose.

If you are having trouble finding your purpose, do not worry, it will undoubtedly find you.