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Replacing Drugs with Meaning

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Once addiction takes over your life, it’s hard to see what you’re giving up.

Addiction to drugs keeps you from a meaningful and fulfilling life. If you take a moment to think about just one thing that you have not been able to do because of your dependence on drugs, something that is important to you, you can focus on achieving it when you are in recovery.

Addicts don’t start taking a drug because they want to get addicted. That result is only a side effect. Addicts start taking a drug to alleviate pain, stress or to create an escape from the problems in their life. It’s the release of those things that leads to addiction.

What Led To My Addiction?

If you think back to when you started taking your drug of choice, you’ll remember why you started. Maybe it is because your job was too stressful?

Maybe you had an injury, or were recovering from surgery and needed painkillers? Or your personal life was becoming too hard to face? Whatever your reasoning, you can put the drugs aside and find a purpose to replace them. You can start on the journey to a better life as you reduce your dependence on drugs.

What can you do to find meaning in your life to help you beat addiction?

  1. Religion. Religion is not the answer for everyone, but many people find support and comfort in religion. If this possibility may work for you, find a church that supports recovery when you get started. Working with others in recovery is helpful as you can work together with them or by yourself as your needs warrant.
  2. Spirituality. Spirituality is not the same as religion. You don’t have to believe in organized religion to be spiritual. Read books or find groups on this topic to determine which direction interests you. You may find that you start in one area of spirituality, but find that you need to keep looking for the one that is for you. There are many books on spirituality that you can read to help you choose.
  3. 12-Step Programs. Many recovering addicts find help in 12-Step programs. These programs offer anonymity and group support right from the start. 12-Step programs offer structure to follow that can support you when your life is out of control, and can help you find meaning in the steps as you recover.
  4. Volunteering and Helping Others. You can also find a better meaning of life through volunteer programs where you help others. These can range widely depending on your area of interest. For instance, you can teach reading to adults, tutor children in math, visit the elderly, assist in building homes for the poor… the list of needs is endless, and there are many worthwhile organizations that need a helping hand.
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Finding Meaning

A study done by the National Institutes of Health showed a clear correlation between recovery and finding a better meaning of life. Stress is a factor in everyone’s lives, but those who become addicted to a substance often fail to find a healthy coping mechanism for it.

By working to find meaning for your own life, you’ll work towards beating your addiction. It’s a beneficial situation for everyone involved.


  1. Alexandre B. Laudet, PhD, Keith Morgen, PhD, and William L. White, MA, The Role of Social Supports, Spirituality, Religiousness, Life Meaning and Affiliation with 12-Step Fellowships in Quality of Life Satisfaction Among Individuals in Recovery from Alcohol and Drug Problems, National Center for Biotechnology Information, August 3, 2006,


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