One of the bigger themes in the world of addiction treatment and recovery is the idea of finding meaning in life.
In the same way that addiction can have a psychological or a biochemical component, addiction often has a meaning component. SCHC recognizes this component, and bases much of its approach to recovery on Meaning-Centered Therapy (MCT). This therapy, championed by Paul T. P. Wong, largely came out of Viktor Frankl’s philosophies around meaning and addiction.
Viktor Frankl saw addiction as a response to living a life that has little personal meaning. In short, people who are suffering from addictions are faced with having to find or create meaning in life. It is through meaningful living that we can reduce or stop substance use and problematic behaviours.
In previous posts, we’ve explored the ways that a lack of personal meaning in life can be a factor in addiction. As well as some practical ways that we can bring meaning into our lives. One area where we can do that is in our jobs and careers; people can and do find fulfilment in their work.
But rather than rely on finding meaningful jobs, some people may choose to create their own opportunities. Through launching a company or business project, i.e. by becoming an entrepreneur.
Can Entrepreneurship Help in Addiction Recovery?
The short answer is yes. Anything which builds up meaning in our lives can help to keep us feeling alive with a sense of purpose. Our reliance on or even interest in substance use and addictive behaviours can also be reduced.
That being said, entrepreneurship is not for everyone. The relationship between entrepreneurship and addiction is complex, and the subject of ongoing research. It’s possible that certain aspects of entrepreneurship, such as financial stress or routine risk-taking can trigger or exacerbate problematic substance use and behaviours.
What’s more, entrepreneurship may even be seen as a form of addiction itself in certain contexts. All of that being said, there’s a lot about entrepreneurship that can move us forward in life.
Meaning And Purpose In Entrepreneurship
One way that entrepreneurship leads to meaning and purpose is by putting us in a role from which we may derive meaning. As we’ve explored in a previous article, taking inventory of our roles can help us to situate ourselves in the bigger picture. We can find meaning in assessing and improving our performance in the roles we occupy, e.g. I want to be a better parent to my child. I want to be a good entrepreneur.
But how do we assess success as an entrepreneur? Much like Viktor Frankl cautions, meaning cannot be imposed on the individual. Every person’s idea of success will be different.
Some people might define success as making a certain level of income a year, or finally being able to afford something they’ve been wanting for a long time. For others, success has more to do with what they can provide for others. There are countless philosophies about what constitutes entrepreneurial success. One that I saw recently and really liked was by Kahlil Corazo (Founder of Leadfunnel. ph), who writes:
Your measure of excellence as an entrepreneur is the amount of value you create for your customers and the personal and financial growth you create for your team.
Understand the Risks Involved
Interpersonal relationships as an entrepreneur can also be a source of meaning, as well as a source of connection—another important factor in mitigating addiction and problematic behaviours. As an entrepreneur, the relationships you can develop—with customers, investors, suppliers, and partners—can also give you a sense of purpose.
Lastly, if your business idea is based on solving problems for people, pursuing this idea as an entrepreneur could improve people’s day or even their lives! Or maybe your business idea reduces the environmental impact of an existing industry, e.g. a lower-footprint alternative to a conventional process or product. Knowing that your project is making the world a better place can be really meaningful.
In closing, being an entrepreneur is not for everyone. Many ideas flop, and it’s important to build up self-awareness and resilience ahead of taking any significant risks. What’s more, the things that give us a sense of meaning and purpose are neither universal nor necessarily known to us ahead of time. But entrepreneurship is an option, even with limited financial resources. And with all the ways it may help us find meaning, it may be one to consider.
For more resources on personal meaning, visit https://meaning.ca/
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Ionatan Waisgluss is a writer, teacher and tech professional living in the qathet region of British Columbia. He believes that growth is always an option.
Sunshine Coast Health Centre and Georgia Strait Women’s Clinic are world-class centers for addiction treatment and mental health. At SCHC, we take an approach that recognizes the importance of the physical, psychological, social and spiritual aspects of individuals in treatment and recovery. If you or someone you know is struggling with substance use and PTSD, give us a call today.