Finding Meaning in Life

“What brings meaning to one’s life

is to bring meaning 

to the lives of others”

-Dr. Bob Brooks

When I got sober there waited for me two families with open arms and hearts; my mother who will in time get her own post here and about who I could post endlessly, plus my girlfriend and her two sons. These two families gave me something that I could not give myself in early sobriety which is meaning, aim, hope. The process started with me.  A decision to shift into successful sobriety, to change my life, to move forward, to put myself in the best position to grow,  was made. The loving embrace of family then helped to give me purpose.

While I do not have children of my own and do not try to assume a parental role with the two aforementioned children I have developed a role of mentor with the younger sibling. This has proven to be one of the most fulfilling experiences, gratifying to no end when learning with each other, eye opening while brainstorming on a vexing issue, humbling when apologizing for acting without thinking, exasperating when trying to type and listen to the latest account of heroism meted out in a game of Clash of Clans, heart warming when sharing space on the bed while working side by side on our respective ever-so-important online issues. Sobriety has allowed me to be present for all of the events, good or bad, easy or trying.

I developed relationships with this family while at the tail end of my substance abuse. The tail end, as it is not uncommon, was some of the worst of my use; I had seen worse times that thankfully they were never witness to. Like all of my relationships while active in addiction I was barely present mentally or emotionally, always feeling like I was doing enough by being physically present; even at that I was occasionally absent. I certainly was never fully available.

Thankfully, my girlfriend and her children saw me through the beginning of my recovery which involved jail time and rehab. They made themselves available to me when I went dry and began the path of recovery which, for me, was and is a day by day process of introspection, reflection and a search for a better understanding of myself. This discovery of self is the foundation for being present in my  life upon which I have built the familial relationships that enrich me. Unbeknownst to them they have given my life meaning.

In turn being an active, positive, helpful, caring and mindful mentor has been good for the younger child as well. I have found meaning in finally being something to someone, in being a friend, a teacher, a role model, an honest and forthright contributor to his life. It is reciprocal without discussion. It is an unspoken exchange of life, love and values that encourage personal growth within all of the family. It has given each of us meaning.

This meaning I could not have found without having taken the first step towards recovery and would never have realized without the loving inclusion into this family.

What are some of the ways that you enrich the lives of those around you?

In what ways do you find your life given meaning by the acts and words of others?

Do you find meaning in helping those who you may not know personally?

How do you feel when you can give? when you receive?


4 thoughts on “Finding Meaning in Life

  1. Great post highlighting the essential underlining virtues of recovery. A touchstone for recovery are those things you mentioned– humility through admitting our wrongs, mending broken relationships and being of service to others. It is through these principles that we quiet our egos and actually awaken to the life around us.

    1. While it can be a challenge to realize humility, admit when I am wrong and promptly admit it, it has also been a wonderful skill to learn in sobriety and has been crucial in maintaining it. Thank you for your insight!

  2. There is some great insight here. The joys of parenting, even though you speak of mentorship, is in these things we do – the unconditional love we have for our children, the sacrifice and the selfless manner we approach them. We have our moments, of course – every parent / caregiver / mentor do. Our patience is tested, as it is in other aspects of our lives. But being present and centered and aware creates a space for things to unfold as they do. There are lessons in all these things, and being open to them allows us to grow.

    I too was unavailable to my family, namely my wife. I may have been physically present (and not in best shape, even then), but I was a ghost in every other aspect. I didn’t exist to anyone. And I think what you describe there about being around and doing things and being there for your family – this is one example of feeling and being useful. And being useful was something I never felt when I was active in my drinking. I felt worthless and useless. And one of the benefits of recovery is that we claim a sense of usefulness. So important in growing and being of service to others.

    Great post…thank you for sharing this. Sounds like you’re in a very different space 🙂


    1. Thank you, again, Paul for leaving such a thoughtful comment. The joys of mentor-ship can be even more joyful around this time of year when it is difficult to walk the line of humility and gratitude on one side with the culture of gift giving and excess on the other. Such is life in the States but I am still thankful to have my first world problems.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s