Benefits of Having a Purpose in Life

I read an article on NPR about a study that found people who feel they have a purpose in life live longer.

Of course, purpose means different things to different people. Hill says it could be as simple as making sure one’s family is happy. It could be bigger, like contributing to social change. It could be more self-focused, like doing well on the job. Or it could be about creativity.

…findings suggest that having “a sense of purpose may protect people against stress,” with all of its harmful effects, including greater risk of heart disease. And that may explain why people with a sense of purpose live longer.

I think it is hard for alcoholics to find a purpose during their drinking days. Or actually to find another purpose besides getting more alcohol. This feeling leads to more stress in addition to stress from the other troubles caused by the disease. Legal problems, health issues, relationship woes, and stress is a nasty recipe for a short, unhappy life.

I have always felt I have had purpose. Social change has always made me feel passionate. I am a tree hugger. I donate to help women and children in developing countries. I have volunteered and contributed to society. I felt my work was important.

But I still hated life. I hated myself. I felt I had to force myself to do so much good to make up for being so worthless. I was miserable on the inside even though everyone thought I was the happy party girl. I got to travel. What do I have to be depressed about?

I think the chemical effects of the alcohol plus the shame from my regrets made me depressed. I hid my feelings in the booze and the booze hid my self-worth. It poisoned me from being able to appreciate my purpose. For twenty years, I drank to try to be something or someone that people liked and I thought if everyone liked me, I would eventually like me too.

It took getting sober to finally like myself. Actually, now I love myself.

Mistake 189- I was in Goa, India and drunk alone. I do not remember how the night started or with whom I spent it. But I remember walking to my guesthouse drunk and depressed. I was listening to my iPod. Blue October’s “Into the Ocean” came on. I started crying. I kept walking late at night and crying and crying. I put the song on repeat. It was after midnight and most places were closed. But I kept walking, listening to this song over and over, and wishing I was dead. I thought about going down to the beach and drowning myself. I felt so miserable and lonely. It was not safe to be walking around in India alone at night like that but I do not think I was scared because I actually wanted harm to come to me.

Thankfully I made me way back to the guesthouse. Before passing out, I posted the video to the song on Facebook. I made some comment along with the video telling people not to be jealous or envious of my life and travels because most of the time I wanted to travel to death. Then I went to sleep.

The next morning, there were a lot of emails and comments. People were worried. I deleted the video link. I replied that I was just drunk. Ignore me. I put back on the happy mask and went back to my life of trying to get everyone to like me.

I really hope my suicidal tendencies will be cured with sobriety. So far, death is no longer a purpose for me.

Blue October – Into The Ocean: