Purpose is often defined as the reason for which something exists, or is done, made, used, etc. (dictionary.com). How many times have we heard in recovery or in church, “there’s purpose in the pain.” The problem with this thinking is we become narrow-minded and unless we’ve mastered transcendence, we miss the point. There’s a bigger picture to the situation, and often we don’t see it until we reflect in the future.
I choose to believe that every human on this planet has a purpose, and that we are all connected to our purpose by the spirit, through the gifts we are given. What if you quit that job you hate, to do something you love? The things you love and are passionate about tend to be the things connected to your purpose. What if we all walked into our purpose instead of doing what is convenient or most profitable for us? What if we, as a human race each did what we are called to do? The world would certainly be a better place, we would all be united in purpose. We would be focused on others instead of the selfish desires of our flesh.
The reason I am so focused on purpose is because I’m in my final three classes for my MA degree, and should be a LCDC (licensed chemical dependency counselor) by the end of this year. It’s been a long journey in the making. It’s taken me my whole life to get here. I feel as if I am about to reach that summit in my purpose, but first I must reflect on the switchbacks that got me here. Would you believe I was once a pregnant teen that nearly dropped out of school?
I spent the first 3 years of high school partying. I think I had my first drink at 12 years old, so by the time I was in high school, I had escalated to other substances. I smoked cigarettes, I smoked pot, I drank, I did hallucinogens, and I eventually found a love affair with pain pills. I was socially awkward, I struggled with social anxiety in silence, and I used substances to ease my nerves. The dysfunction at home left me depressed. I turned to substances to make me happy. I was lonely. I had sex while I was under the influence because I was desperate for attention.
Education was not a priority. I never played any sort of sport or engaged in extracurricular activities. I skipped class, failed exams, and did not turn it work. I never even took the ACT or SAT exam. All this caught up to me, and I found myself in alternative ed. I found some confidence in the independent learning process, and scraped by. My senior year, I ended up blacking out at a party, going home with someone, and ended up pregnant. I lost the baby to miscarriage months later. As if my school situation wasn’t bad enough, now I had the rumor mill spreading viscous lies about abortion, and speaking the truth about what a tramp I really was.
The bullshit I was dealing with gave me enough motivation to push through, and I graduated high school, barely. I worked night and day, 7 days a week, to catch up for what I missed when I was slacking. I was in the bottom 10% of my graduating class of 275-ish kids. I didn’t care. I was just surviving. By the time I graduated I had something new to contend with, the pill addiction.
I was addicted to the Vicodin they gave me after my miscarriage. It wasn’t long before I figured out if I abused it, I went numb. if I crushed it and snorted it my spine would tingle with pleasure, and I would forget what a big fuck up I really was. I was grieving the loss of my baby, the loss of my own childhood, and the loss of my future. I eventually moved on to ecstasy and special K until I found myself face down on a dirty hotel room floor, alone in a room full of strangers in a K hole. This was my breaking point.
I’m now enrolled in the final three classes of my MA in Human Services Counseling for Addiction and Recovery. How the hell did that happen? How did this once pregnant teenager, this near high school dropout, this addict/alcoholic; become educated, with a goal of becoming a LCDC (Licensed Chemical Dependency Counselor)? Better yet, how did this girl graduate with $0 in student loans? That once rebellious girl; how is she now nearing a military retirement as a senior leader in the U.S. Army? How did that girl, once labeled an easy party girl, remain married for nearly 15 years to the same man and raise two healthy, well-adjusted children?
It’s simple, really. It can be explained in one sentence. I found my purpose. I had to get so desperate, that I had no where else to lean but toward God, and I had to surrender to his plan for my life. No, I didn’t know at 19 years old that joining the military would lead me here, no, I didn’t know that my husband was part of the plan. I had no clue that a Master’s Degree would be required but it was part of the plan that led me to my purpose. My purpose is to help people, specifically those who struggle with addiction. Which leads me to the question, what is your purpose?
The only obstacle between you and your purpose is you. I know what you’re thinking. You’re thinking yeah…but…I need money. I need time. I have commitments. You’re thinking I can’t because ______(fill in the blank). What if I told you that you already have everything you need within you to make it happen, to walk into your purpose?
The lies we believe about ourselves are the obstacles to fulfilling our purpose. What are the lies you continue to believe about yourself?
I’m not smart enough.
Let me tell you a big secret. No one is smart enough. That’s why we have an education system. Use it.
I have done too many awful things in my past.
Guess what? You are redeemed, just like me. Prove the opinions wrong of those who judge you based on your past. Our character defects become our biggest strengths when we start looking to our purpose in life.
I don’t have the money for college.
Find a way. There is financial aid for those in need, there are Pell grants, there are loans available. You could join the service like I did and they will pay for it. Money is not an obstacle, it’s a lie.
I don’t have time.
I’m not buying it. I have two jobs, two busy school age kids, and a life too. We all have time commitments, but time is not the obstacle. Scheduling is the obstacle. Time is a lie.
Don’t let that obstacle keep you from your purpose. Don’t accept defeat. Don’t settle for the job you hate. The world needs you to do what you are passionate about. If you are passionate about web development, by all means, the world needs you. If you’re passionate about human services, the world needs you. When we are all doing our part in fulfilling our purpose, the world is in harmony. Be innovative. Be creative in your problem solving with your obstacles.
One day you will wake up and realize you’ve summited that damn mountain. You’re there. You’ve made it. You’ll realize that nothing, and no one can stop the plans for your life.
Until then, stay sober my friends!