Finding Meaning, Purpose & Growth in Recovery

Estimated watch time: 3 mins 07 secs


To develop a sense of resiliency, you should identify meaning and purpose in your life on your own terms. Your meaning and purpose are unique to you, and don’t have to be what someone else defines them as being. When you identify meaning and purpose for yourself, it gives you strength and can help you overcome trauma.

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Meaning, Purpose, Growth

Today’s lesson is going to focus on meaning, purpose, and growth.

We’re looking for your why, your purpose and how you’re going to grow.

Now, there’s two basic types of meaning, comprehensibility and significance. A comprehensibility meaning is when you try to understand the why of what happened, why did this have to happen? Why did it have to happen to me? Why does there have to be this kind of trauma in the world? Sometimes that can be really difficult to come to terms with.

And then there is significance. Looking for the positive that can come out of a negative situation or event. So, yes, this horrible thing happened to me, but what is the positive that came out of it?

Can you consider anything in your lifetime that you’ve looked at as a comprehensible meaning or significant meaning?

When we think about comprehensibility, we can use the example of anyone that’s been abused. Why did that have to happen? Why was that necessary? Well, that’s not an answer that we will probably ever figure out because it relies on somebody else’s report.

So trying to figure out why it happened could be futile, but looking at the same situation from a significant perspective, we can say, “I don’t know why this person was abused, but what good came out of it?”

Not that the event wasn’t negative. What positive came out of the event? Perhaps it was establishing a stronger connection to family members. Or maybe it was a person’s then new mission to become an advocate for the cause.

Finding meaning and purpose, identifying that for ourselves. It gives a strength. Often growing up, our parents tell us what our meaning and our purpose is. As an adult, It’s important that we identify that for ourselves and it may be exactly the same. And it may be a different course altogether.
Having our meaning and purpose provides opportunity for courage, because if we truly believe in something and we truly are secure within ourselves, we will stand up for that. And that takes courage.

And remember, courage can’t be without fear and fear without courage.

It provides opportunity for post-traumatic growth. Again, creating a new meaning. That idea that my trauma doesn’t have to define me. It can be a change for the good.

And don’t get me wrong. This struggle is absolutely real, but the struggles are going to happen because they’re part of our everyday life and these struggles don’t always have to be bad and we don’t always have to be focused on the negatives. If we do, we’ll stay in the negative and we’ll lose our meaning and our purpose in a heartbeat.

And yes, struggles cause pain, but there is that opportunity for growth. There is that opportunity to look at it from a different perspective and see how you can be a better you after experiencing it.

In the next lesson we will talk about your moral compass.

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The Recovery Village aims to improve the quality of life for people struggling with substance use or mental health disorder with fact-based content about the nature of behavioral health conditions, treatment options and their related outcomes. We publish material that is researched, cited, edited and reviewed by licensed medical professionals. The information we provide is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. It should not be used in place of the advice of your physician or other qualified healthcare providers.