Sometimes, it takes finding the meaning in something to feel committed towards a goal. For instance, you might have fulfillment in your career and so that meaning you find in your job can propel a commitment towards sobriety. Or maybe you have a great love for your children and it’s the love you have for them that’s keeping you on track in your recovery.
Yet, sadly, for some people there just isn’t something or someone to get sober for. And because of low levels of self-esteem and periods of depression, it might be hard to get sober for yourself. If there’s nothing (no career, job, purpose, or plan) to live for, feeling motivated to stay sober can be challenging. And if there’s no one (no spouse, child, sibling, parent, or partner in relationship), that can also feel void of inspiration. Who are you getting sober for? If it feels like there’s no meaning in your life, then getting sober for yourself just may not be there.
However, some Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) circles will ask a member of the community to stay sober for the group. It gives that person a sense of purpose. It gives them a reason to commit. Someone has to be the one to consistently stay sober. If everyone is fighting the possibility of relapse, then there’s a chance that someone is going to succumb to their cravings. But if there’s someone that can hold a consistent commitment to sobriety, then they are of service to the community.
With is mission someone who did not have a sense of meaning or a reason to end their addiction might suddenly begin to experience the magic of purpose and passion in their life. In fact, in 2011 the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) outlined and promoted eight dimensions of wellness. Of these, SAMHSA defined the dimension of spirituality to include an expansion of one’s purpose and meaning in life. SAMHSA’s eight dimensions of wellness include:
Emotional—Being able to manage life effectively and sustain satisfying relationships
Environmental—Ensuring that the environments in which you spend time are pleasant, stimulating, and support well-being
Financial–Finding satisfaction with current and future financial situations
Intellectual—Recognizing your creative and intellectual abilities as well as finding ways to expand knowledge and skills
Occupational—Getting personal satisfaction, fulfillment, and meaning from one’s work
Physical—Recognizing the necessity for exercise, healthy foods and sleep
Social—Having strong connections with others, having a sense of belonging, and developing a network of support
Spiritual—Expanding your sense of purpose and meaning in life
As you can imagine, by having purpose, passion, and meaning something changes. There is a reason to move forward toward goals and achievements. There is a vitality to life that perhaps was not there before. Something as simple as staying sober for the community can change one’s entire experience of life.
If you’re not in an AA community, but you’re looking for a reason to stay sober, or even if you think it might chance your perspective of things, think of a group or community that will inspire you to stay sober. For instance, perhaps you never want to touch a drink again for all the people who can’t escape the cycle of addiction. Perhaps you never want to use meth again for all those whose brains are damaged because of the drug. Or maybe you never want to ingest cocaine for all those who can’t say no to the drug and so you’re saying no on their behalf.
This kind of meaning can significantly change one’s course in recovery. It can enhance it, enrich it, and give one’s sobriety purpose. If you feel you have nothing else to stay sober for, there are plenty of reasons out there. Finding one that inspires you can fuel your sobriety for years to come.
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