by Paul Garrigan – Mindfulness Coach Hope Rehab
You Are Like a Sunflower
“If you plan on being anything less than you are capable of being, you will probably be unhappy all the days of your life.”
How to Find Your Life Purpose
What if we are like sunflowers and our main purpose is to blossom? This would explain that empty lost feeling so many of us experience during those years trapped in addiction. Deep down we suspect we are capable of so much more in life – we know we have sold ourselves short – and this knowledge is always there niggling away at us in the background.
We are all like sunflowers who have been trapped in the darkness of addiction. It was not possible for us to blossom during those dark days but now we can turn our face towards the sun. Like a sunflower seed, we have the potential to brighten the world with our own unique beauty.
“I want to be like a Sunflower – so that even on the darkest days I will stand tall and find the sunlight” by Unknown
You Feel Lost Because You Have Been Using the Wrong Guide Book
Imagine if you turned up in Thailand with Lonely Planet guidebook for Wales. You would probably find life here incredibly difficult if you insisted that your guidebook was correct and that outside reality was somehow wrong. It could mean you are standing on a beautiful beach in Rayong, yet you feel disappointed because you expect to be looking at Cardiff Bay. This might sound like a ridiculous scenario, but it is a good description of our usual mental state by the time we reach rehab. We have some very strong ideas about who we are and what the world is like – the only problem is most of this information is wrong.
How to Find Your Life Purpose
“A difficult time can be more readily endured if we retain the conviction that our existence holds a purpose”
Our internal guidebooks (our beliefs about reality) can be useful, but they are never going to be entirely accurate. These ideas act like a filter on the way we experience the world and may put unnecessary limitations on us– the ‘it’s just the way I am’ beliefs.
If you want to stop feeling lost, so you can begin reaching your potential, you need to let go of your current ideas about who you are and what you are capable of. You also need to be careful about replacing these old ideas with new ones that will eventually become another source of suffering.
Arriving in Thailand with the correct edition of the Lonely Planet is definitely an improvement, but the real fun starts when we put away the guidebook and just start experience the reality. The same is true for your life – you will be much happier when you let go of your ideas about the way things ‘should be’ and you focus instead on experiencing things as they are.
How to Find Your Life Purpose in Recovery
- The first step to finding out who you are is to admit that you have no real about who you are
- Let go of the ‘it’s just the way I am’ beliefs because these are often just limitations you are putting on yourself
- Understand your future is unlikely to be anything like you expect it to be – just sit back and enjoy the ride
- Have goals but use them as a tool rather than becoming obsessed about them
- Learn to trust your intuition – just be careful that it is your intuition talking and not your ego
The Only Person You Need to Be is Yourself
It can seem as if your life is full of endless options, but if your goal is happiness, there is only really one path you can take. You need to be yourself. This means getting out of your own way – you do this by letting go of those self-limiting beliefs about yourself. This is how you start to blossom.
There has never been anyone exactly like you on this planet before. Some sunflowers wither and die before they get their chance to brighten up the world – they just don’t have enough opportunity to turn towards the sun. By walking away from alcohol and drugs, you have left the darkness, and the path is clear for you to begin to bloom in your own unique way.
For every person that comes to Hope my life becomes richer, as Gandhi said, ‘The best way to find yourself is to lose yourself in the service of others’ and of course this is true for all people in recovery, as part of our program is to pass it on to others – Simon Mott
Simon’s Advice for Finding Your Life Purpose
It is important to understand that addiction is a symptom…
It’s a symptom of unresolved and underlying issues, or an attempt to self-medicate issues like depression anxiety and anger. My addiction was born out of a lack of self esteem and childhood trauma, and my continued drug use was simply fear at feeling exposed in a world that I felt I did not belong. Heroin was a buffer between me and my uncomfortable reality, and giving it up was the scariest thing I did.
To overcome an addiction I found a new focus for my mind that is also just as all-consuming. It may even look like another addiction. And it must be strong enough to displace and replace what captivated me previously, and in truth still captivates me sometimes. Instead of being addicted to a drug or alcohol now, I have become addicted to recovery. I have become addicted to helping others and to maintaining my health.
Though there is no single cause or trigger for addiction, low self-esteem and other emotional dysfunction that cause people to have a negative view of themselves often contribute to the development of substance abuse. These thoughts can also keep people from seeking help, as they may believe that a life of drug and alcohol abuse is all they deserve.