John Eldredge MSW, MLADC
Finding purpose in our lives is an important aspect of our humanity. There are times, however, that we lose our purpose and get lost in the futile, seemingly meaningless, pursuit for happiness. In chasing this happiness, we may look outside of ourselves in many differing ways to try and obtain this sometimes elusive quality of life. Sometimes we think that we have stumbled across something that makes us "happy" only to find that we are actually only finding temporary "relief." This is because true happiness, or Joy, can not be found in external things. If you have ever heard the phrase, "happiness is an inside job" this is an understanding that happiness and joy are only accessible through removing the things that stand in the way. The truth is that if we continue to seek this "relief" from the outside, we become more blocked from ever truly experiencing "release" from our attachment to these things. This is particularly true in the case of Substance Use Disorders, Alcohol Use Disorders, as well as many non-substance related addictions. It is true that once an addiction has been present for some time, there are more complex psychological and biological influences on continued behavioral patterns, but also true that in the beginning stages of use/use of behavior, there is a temporary reward for the effect produced by engaging in that particular behavior. Treatment for addictive disorders is effective at:
1) Understanding maladaptive patterns in thinking, feeling, and behavior.
2) Developing positive coping skills to change these patterns.
3) Implementing new skills to change thinking, feeling, and behavior.
The process of therapy and counseling can help us understand these behavioral patterns and begin to create a new life for ourselves.
If you feel "stuck" in the pursuit of happiness and struggle to find meaning in life, please consider reaching out for professional help to help identify barriers for change.
Life was meant to be experienced in its fullest capacity. Change is possible. Recovery is possible. You are worth it.