Recovery…. By Accident or On Purpose?
Pushing those suffering from substance use disorder into treatment is controversial. People say that the “addict” has to want the treatment for it to be successful. It’s very contentious these days to force someone into treatment. Civil commitment is such a divisive issue. Does someone need to want it for it to work? Can someone seek and find it if they’re seeking it for someone else? Does the person have to be ready, willing and able? Good questions. Can we find Recovery by accident? Can it find us? Great questions… I found Recovery on purpose, and I live it with purpose. For me, it’s only with that purpose that I am able to maintain it.
Interpretation of this issue is not the same for everyone. Even the word Recovery means something different to different people. These days, for some, Recovery doesn’t even seem to require living a drug-free life. I was told by a Florida NA meeting chair that he is in recovery from heroin and he smokes marijuana to maintain his “sobriety”. I was told by a guy from New York that recovery from heroin for him was maintained by obtaining anti-depression and anti-anxiety medication from his new doctor – both of which he abused in his addiction. I’m not judging other people or even measuring their recovery. Recovery for them is their recovery. I don’t even know how we define the word anymore. I will just define it for me, and for me, Recovery means more than just abstinence from the drugs and alcohol that destroyed me. It means living Recovery with Purpose.
I don’t want my past to become other people’s future. I don’t want to see the people I am able to reach suffer from the same consequences I endured. I don’t want the pain I endured and the chaos I caused to all be in vain, so I live my life finding purpose in all of it. Teaching my story to other people is the purposeful path I now choose. I have purpose and passion in my life and my passion has met my purpose. So now, in long-term Recovery from my addiction, the purpose in my life has become my life. It’s become a life of purpose.
Eleanor Roosevelt once said, “The purpose of life is to live it, to taste experience to the utmost, to reach out eagerly and without fear for newer and richer experience.” I get that. In fact, I understand it more deeply than I ever have. The experience of addiction cannot be removed from the consciousness of our minds. The heartache and pain caused by addiction in our lives cannot be erased from our memory. It’s there and will always remain there, but we can’t affect our present or our future other than to support it as a reference. A reference to note for ourselves and others as a life not to be lived. We can grow from it, but more importantly, we can help others learn from it, so as not to repeat it. Recovery can unfold in a magnificent way through living this life of purpose. Every aspect of our lives can be positively affected. It’s happened for me. I never could have imagined such a life of purpose, and here I am living it.
Russian Novelist, Fyodor Dostoyevsky came up with the greatest expression for living life, and living a life of purpose. He states, “The mystery of human existence lies not in just staying alive, but in finding something to live for.” This has become my Anthem of Recovery. It’s good to remain clean and sober, and for me, it’s exceptionally good. However, without living this life of Recovery as I do, without teaching my story to others, without looking at Recovery as the specific thing I live for, I wouldn’t really be living to the extent to which God desires me to live. Recovery for me must be LIVED, and it must be lived with PURPOSE. It’s actually become the purpose in my life and of my life. Sharing it with other people becomes the upside of all the downsides of my addiction. I didn’t want it in the beginning but it’s become something I not only want, but can’t live without. Living a life of purpose is extremely rewarding. Living a life of purpose in Recovery is beyond rewarding, it’s actually the meaning of living itself. Purpose drives recovery and recovery enhances life. It allows every day of every year to become that purpose and the life that’s unfolding is beyond my wildest dreams.