Looking back on my drinking days, there are several things that I was missing that kept me where I was. In my self-reliance I was missing God, true connectivity with others, the ability to follow through, self-love and respect, and ultimately my purpose for being. Without purpose, what was the point following through? Without purpose, what was the point of trying to better myself? Without purpose, what did I have to offer other people in relationships? Without purpose, why believe in a God who would place an empty shell of a being on his good earth? … In my mind I had absolutely nothing to offer, nothing to believe in, and no reason to better myself, because I didn’t see myself as worthy or a good investment.
Purpose came to me slowly through the program of AA, in a beautiful sneaky way where I didn’t even know it was happening. At first, my purpose was to do my part in treatment- to participate, heal, and better myself so that I could be safe out in the world. When I was reintroduced to the real world, my purpose was to greet people at the doors of meetings, to make coffee, to be there for people who had less time than me, to be a good daughter and sister, to be a good employee as a dog-washer at PetSmart, and to clean a yoga studio in exchange for yoga classes. I didn’t have a car or much money, but I had purpose- the smallest things helped me to rise above my darkened past. I had goals with purpose behind them- giving me the ability and strength to follow through for once in my life. Those purposeful opportunities snowballed into larger ones.
Through my service work at a yoga studio, I attained a scholarship to become a yoga teacher and began teaching in treatment centers and for the Sherriff’s Department, offering peace and serenity to others when in the past I was only capable of taking peace and serenity away. I ran a business for 7 years that was based on the principles of recovery. Eventually, I became a nurse, and my journey continues in school as I am working toward my Masters Degree. Recently, becoming a mother has added a whole new wonderful and complicated layer of purpose… in every aspect of my life I can find purpose buried underneath the surface, whereas before I was existing with no destination or reason in sight in the journey. Now, the darkness of being an alcoholic has meaning and huge purpose in my life – out of the flames I arose into who I became, and I can proudly say that I am a recovering alcoholic, one day at a time.
Purpose doesn’t have to be singular. It can change from moment to moment. I feel that by being present in every moment, that a purpose can be found, whether it be working hard toward a goal, doing my best to be a good nurse, taking a self-care break, hitting a meeting, working with a sponsee, or feeding my kid some spaghetti and finding joy in the mess… it all matters to build a balance in a happy and content life.