In great programs of addiction recovery, there can be a lot of emphasis on meaning and purpose. Meaninglessness gives rise to boredom which encourages people to use. Having no direction in life (purposelessness) makes people waste time and energy on random things, including addictive substances.
When we have no direction in life, we wander from place to place, from person to person, and from one experience to another in a way that does not satisfy us. Wandering in no direction is very different than joyously exploring different things. This type of wandering can feel empty and useless, yet we feel stuck in it.
Thinking life has no meaning can take us into the dark mental mazes of nihilism. “If nothing has meaning, then why would I care about anything?” We might ask this in a rebellious attempt to make at least some sense of an otherwise senseless existence.
Yet, we do care.
Meaning, Purpose, and Love
Once we recognize that we do care and that we already care about the people we love and the world, everything changes. Meaning and purpose have nothing to do with the intellect and everything to do with how much you already care.
When we slow down and connect with our love for people and life, we tend to know quickly what the next step is for us – this gives us direction.
Meaninglessness doesn’t get replaced by meaning, but by love.
The Power of Connection
So, don’t look for meaning and purpose in your head, like a philosopher. Descend from the ivory tower of your mind and come down to earth. Connect with your body and the ground. Get to know your emotions and let your heart break open.
In his famous book, “Man’s Search for Meaning,” Viktor Frankl doesn’t talk about meaning as an intellectual understanding of some great cosmic truth, but as love and caring.
Love can empower us so much more than the hunger for power and fame, or for recognition and status.
Meaning is giving a damn, it is letting things matter.
Let the Inner Work Begin
To feel what truly matters to you, explore what hurts the most. What makes you truly upset and angry? There you find what you really care about. It is so paradoxical – exploring what hurts us the most can reveal so much about who we are and what we truly care about in life.
Find what matters to you the most and dedicate time and energy to it. In time, engaging with life like this is going to help heal your deepest wounds, and you’ll also be contributing to creating a better life for others.
What can be more fulfilling than taking an active role in life?
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At Sunshine Coast Health Centre, our programs are based on Meaning-Centred Therapy. We help our clients discover the power of using meaning and purpose to overcome addiction. If you or someone you know is struggling, give us a call today.