Most people don’t want to hear that pain is purposeful. Pain is just irritating, draining, exhausting, and not fun to experience. However, it is part of everyone’s human experience to have pain. This might be emotional, spiritual, physical, or all of the above. Some people experience a lot of it in life while others experience periods of it, especially if they struggle with addiction and substance use. This, combined with mental health issues, can bring lots of difficult feelings to the surface in recovery.
Suppressed memories, thoughts of the past, and people who they harmed or harmed them come rushing to the forefront of people’s minds. Learning to cope with this is an important part of the healing process of recovery. Pain does, in fact, serve a purpose, but it is not always what people think.
Adversity as Teacher
Challenging experiences stretch us beyond our wildest imaginations. Even addiction and recovery can be a stretching experience that has a silver lining. Adversity teaches people how to be strong in the face of what is hard. Oftentimes, it is easier to rush the healing narrative too quickly. This is an easy thing to do. Most people want to get past suffering to get to healing, but in between, there is a space to learn a lot from the painful experiences.
Even when people are not okay, they are told to “be okay,” or that “it’s not that bad,” or “it gets better.” This dismissive attitude towards pain doesn’t help people process experiences that help them heal. Rushing into healing is usually something others want for us rather than what we want or need for ourselves. Learning to sit with our own pain, and the pain of others, is part of a bigger journey that helps heal us for the long journey ahead.
Painful experiences help build our gratitude muscles. One of the best lessons we learn from pain is discovering how to find the silver lining. Thankfulness doesn’t necessarily mean being grateful for the actual event itself; rather, you can focus on how you overcome the challenges that help you find gratefulness. In the end, you may understand yourself better, your weaknesses, and how to be stronger in the future. Personal growth is important to the process of healing.
Unpleasant experiences can challenge comfort zones and stretch us in every way imaginable. The best thing is, people tend to underestimate their ability to deal with adversity. You are stronger than you know. You are strong and have what it takes to push past what you think are limits to heal. Resilience is more than just pushing yourself, it is about realizing you went through difficult experiences and can still find hope.
Learning to Love Yourself
Pain pushes people to grow into loving themselves. Pain is a movement of the body, mind, and soul that helps people find a greater purpose beyond the pain. Whether this means learning to love yourself better with boundaries, taking a vacation, or knowing how to trust yourself, these are important lessons to learn. It is healthy to learn to do whatever it takes by putting yourself first in recovery.
Find What Matters
Purpose is a tricky thing. People in recovery may wonder if anything they experienced has a deeper meaning. In the end, it is mostly about realizing who you are that matters. Deep down, who you are is someone who made choices and mistakes, and now you have a chance to make better choices. The superficial stuff or people who are unhealthy are not important. Eventually, even people realize all the money in the world can’t help if a person’s life is falling apart. During times of strife, you’ll come to realize who is there for you and offers support for the long haul.
No Fast Track
No matter how much anyone wants to get past the hard stuff, there is no pushing it. Life is a journey of becoming rather than one of arrival. Recovery teaches us that people can grow and learn but never fully arrive anywhere, since they will get to a goal, then realize they still want to achieve more and continue to evolve. Being a person who continually evolves is healthy. With the right perspective, therapy, and recovery work, you can get to a place where you accept the past for what it teaches, the present for what it is, and let go of what you cannot control in the future. Even with this mindset, it is a daily challenge to embrace this idea.
Stick with the journey. Do the hard work. It is not going to be easy, but it will be more rewarding than you ever thought possible. Be sure to bring trusted friends and companions along for the journey. If anyone is not on board, it might be time to re-evaluate their role in your journey of recovery. Make new friends that support sobriety and your personal goals. Recovery does not mean your life will be free of pain, but hopefully, you can learn some lessons from the past that help you cope better in the future with the right mindset and determination to grow forward.
Casa Capri helps women find their purpose in recovery. We support you as you take the journey with resources, programs, and people who understand the challenges you face. Let us help you walk this new path together. Call Casa Capri today: 844-593-8020
Melissa Holmes Goodmon, Founder & CEO of Casa Capri Recovery, obtained her BA in Psychology and is a Licensed Drug and Alcohol Counselor (LAADC) specializing in women’s core issues. She is recognized as a leader in the field of mental health and substance abuse recovery where she has been an advocate since 2006.