Something we often struggle with in the earlier stages of recovery is trying to understand what our individual purpose is. The reason one doesn't often see people with many years of sobriety time struggling with this issue is because those who never find it often relapse and continue the cycle of addiction until they come to such an understanding.
Where do we begin with finding our purpose as recovering addicts?
Finding one's purpose begins with a few simple things: honesty, awareness, and sincerity. We must come to a deep understanding of who we are, not of our "ego" self, but of our essence, of the truth about our "soul." By recognizing "the part" we play in the world, and all the different masks we take on and off on a daily basis, we can begin to see the patterns of "the actor" we all embody, often without conscious realization we are even doing so.
Coming to the realization we are playing a role in this world often leads us to a deeper understanding of our inner world and what parts of that role take a toll on us and what parts of it we truly love. This realization is a byproduct of raw, unadulterated honesty with the self, which is more or less the gateway into knowing the truth about who we are. We must first understand who we are on a spiritual level in order to be lucid about knowing the activities and behaviors that bring us meaning in life. Without it, we often operate under the guise of very powerful illusions and external validation that we confuse for inner sanction and peace.
When we find the perfect symbiosis between who we are and what we do, and not only find meaning and value in our lives, but also provide the same for others, we have begun walking the road of purpose. Too often than not we identify with a purpose in the external world, leading us to a disillusionment with life and for addicts, especially, an overall dissatisfaction with the world. That is not to say that there is nothing to be said about finding fulfillment from the world beyond us, but simply that when there is a dissonance between the two worlds we often seek gratification from things like substances and unhealthy coping mechanisms.
Purpose is an act of balance, and of finding harmony between yourself and the world. When we discover this harmony we find meaning and become passionate about our every day lives and contributing to the lives of others. Since we are less affected by the outside world and discover a sense of equanamity as well, we also begin to radiate unconditional love and see the world with less judgment, becoming a beacon of light and hope for others struggling with the pain of an enslaved existence.
"The purpose of life seems to be to acquaint a man with himself and whatever science or art or course of action he engages in reacts upon and illuminates the recesses of his own mind. Thus friends seem to be only mirrors to draw out and explain to us ourselves; and that which draws us nearer our fellow man, is, that the deep Heart in one, answers the deep Heart in another, - that we find we have (a common Nature) - one life which runs through all individuals, and which is indeed Divine." - Ralph Waldo Emerson