Self-Actualization in Recovery: Pushing Through to Find Purpose

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About 10% of Americans find themselves in recovery from some sort of addiction in their lifetimes. During addiction recovery, finding who you are again is a difficult process but one that is needed and helpful.

Self-actualization is the process where all of your talents, passions, and interests are aligned and complement each other. After you’ve gotten sober, whether it be from alcohol, drugs, medication, or another mental illness, you’ll notice that the changes in you will be nothing short of drastic.

Once you’ve weaned off the substance or medication, you’ll often feel lost or confused. You’ll start questioning yourself, and what you’ll find are the things that make you, you.

You’ll find that you’ll find your purpose after drinking alcohol to excess. Drinking and drugs take over your life and push everything else to the side. Most individuals believe that after they stop drinking, their purpose in life is over.

Don’t fall into that trap. Find yourself and discover what drives you. You can learn more about the process of self-actualization here.

What Is Self-Actualization?

Self-actualization is the process of realizing your full potential as a human. You are able to reach for your goals, pursue your dreams, and fulfill the destiny you were always meant to have.

Many people don’t reach self-actualization because of the limiting beliefs that we all hold about ourselves, our dreams, and our goals.

So how do you actually reach self-actualization? You have to push past those limiting beliefs, relearn why you have them and switch your mindset to a different belief, and start to take action.

Defining Self-actualization in Sobriety

While self-actualization in sobriety means the same thing as self-actualization in anyone’s life, it does take on a different meaning. After dealing with an addiction, moving forward is not only daunting but may feel impossible at times.

During the recovery process, finding your ‘why’ is what can keep you going. Your purpose is what will propel you to stay sober to continue to reach for that part of you. When you find your ‘why’ and continue to reach for it, that process and journey of becoming your truest self is what defines the self-actualization process. 

Why It’s Important to Find Purpose in Sobriety

As mentioned previously, knowing your ‘why’ is important. This is important for everyone, but especially for those who are overcoming addiction. 

A lot of times, mental illnesses like addiction, depression, and anxiety can come from feelings of inadequacy and not feeling like we are doing enough. Identifying those feelings will help you to realize what you do feel you can do to escape those negative feelings.

To do this, you have to reflect, which is oftentimes a part of the recovery process. You’ll learn more about yourself and who you are. Through this process, you can start to pinpoint your why. 

But why do you actually need to find your ‘why’? What’s the point?

Finding your why is more than just knowing what you love to do. It is living in a way that aligns with your purpose and why you feel you were put here on the earth. This makes you fully present in your daily activities, which may also help the recovery process. 

When you discover what makes you feel alive in this world and makes you feel like you are truly living, you are laying out the groundwork for your life ahead for a sustainable recovery as well as a life full of purpose. 

How to Find Your ‘Why’

You may sit there for hours or even right now reading this article wondering how you are supposed to know what your ‘why’ is. It can be difficult to learn what comes next and what the purpose of moving forward it. It takes time.

But when you are ready, you can begin to ask yourself questions to determine your ‘why’. Think of the following:

  • What do I love to do on a daily basis?
  • What do I love about life?
  • What lights me up?
  • What makes me feel my best?
  • At what moments do I feel the most fulfilled?
  • What types of hobbies do I have that I enjoy doing in my free time?
  • What are the values I hold as an individual?
  • What are my dreams for the future?

By asking yourself these questions, you will start to learn what is important to you.

Roadblocks You May Face on Your Way to Self-Actualization in Sobriety 

There are many different roadblocks that you can face on the way to self-actualization, especially when you are dealing with addiction and going through the recovery process.

A few roadblocks you may face would be:

  • Forgetting who we are as a person 
  • Not feeling useful or like we have anything to offer the world
  • Feeling worthless and inadequate
  • Dealing with depression and anxiety around who we are 

When you face these roadblocks, it may be easy to feel like you should just give up. However, facing challenges on the road to recovery is a very normal thing. To overcome these challenges, making sure you are resilient, are getting help from others, and using what you learned during your recovery process will all get you there.

Keeping Your Long-term Meaning 

When you go through recovery, you have to take it one step at a time. But there will be a point where you realize that you can start to look towards the future again. At that moment, you need to understand how to keep the long-term meaning that you have built over the past few weeks, months, or even years.

One of the best ways to keep your long-term meaning is to build resilience. However, there are a few other ways to do this as well.

Building Resilience

One of the most important things you can do for yourself during your addiction recovery is to make sure you take steps to build resiliency. This is one of the main ways that you will keep moving forward, bouncing back from anything that someone or something may throw your way.

So what can you do to build this resiliency? Here are some steps to take.

Learn How to Ask for Help

One really important thing to learn when you are struggling is how to ask for help. Going through a tough time is difficult, but going through a tough time alone is even harder.

While resiliency itself is an internal trait, knowing when to ask for help can help you be more resilient yourself.

Know Life Will Constantly Change

No matter how much we may or may not hate change, there’s nothing we can do about the fact that life is constantly changing. We are constantly growing, evolving, and becoming who we are meant to be throughout time.

Learning to understand that life is all about change will help you become more resilient when things are thrown your way. Knowing that it is OK to struggle with change is a start. However, even if you struggle with change, learning that change is normal is what will help you get through the difficult times.

A few things to remember with this. For starters, you will want to seize the earliest moment to look forward to the change that is occurring in your life. Even if you feel sad and are mourning the change, you can still begin to look at the positives that this change may bring to your life. By focusing on the positives, change will become easier.

Failure Can Lead to Learning

So many of us are afraid of failing in our everyday lives. However, failing is almost inevitable. You can fail by forgetting to add an ingredient to the recipe, you can fail by not reaching the time you wanted to achieve in your 5K, and you can fail by being just one dollar short of your monthly monetary goal.

However, instead of looking at these failures as bad things, you can look at them as a way of learning for the future. You can start to look at things in a different manner to figure out how not to feel next time. This will build resiliency.

Be Positive

You have heard it before, but being positive is one of the most important things you can do for yourself and going through addiction recovery. There will be hard days, but keeping in mind what you are grateful for and how your life can turn around for yourself will keep you going and keep you resilient.

Here are a few ways to stay positive when the going gets tough:

  • Meditate
  • Write a gratitude journal
  • Think about your positive traits
  • Replace each bad thought you have with a good thought
  • Stay active 

Take Care of Yourself

Taking care of yourself is extremely important, but even more important when you’re going through the recovery process. In order to fully recover, you need to prioritize yourself in order to feel your best. This means you need to get plenty of sleep, drink plenty of water, eat a healthy diet, nourish relationships, and ensure that you are giving yourself a mental break that you may need throughout the day.

This looks different for everyone, but to be resilient, you need the energy to do so. Taking care of yourself will help you get there.

Find Your Passion

When you get over the initial process of recovery, you are going to start looking at who you are and who you want to be. One way to keep your long-term progress is there finding a passion and finding your why. This will keep you moving forward even in the toughest of moments.

Your passion could have anything to do with babies to puppies or sustainability to engineering. Passion is going to look different to everyone, which is why our world is so beautifully diverse and unique. You need to stick to what makes you feel the most you.

Take Action

Once you feel that you have built your resilience and found your passion, you have to take action. This is what will continue to drive you and propel you forward into a future that you love for yourself. You will feel a purpose to wake up in the morning, start your day, and live your life to the fullest.

While you can do all of the planning and talking in the world about what you want to do, nothing will change for you unless you take action. It all starts with one, tiny baby step.

It’s Time to Reach for Self-Actualization

While reaching for self-actualization is not easy, it is something that will keep you moving forward in the recovery process. When you find yourself, you understand what you want out of life and begin to learn how to get there. Instead of dwelling on the negatives, the difficult process of recovery, and not knowing who you are, reaching for self-actualization will lead you down the path that you were always meant to be on.

At Eagle Overlook, we seek to accompany our clients in the process of self-actualization by identifying their strengths, likes, dislikes, and opportunities for improvement. Our philosophy is to build resilience and ignite passions so that patients can become their best selves and continue to be throughout the years 

If you feel like you need help, we want you to reach out to us. You can go to our website to look at the photo tour and how we approach this process, and when you are ready, you can contact us with questions that we have answers to.