Before we discuss the necessity of a higher-order purpose in the context of recovering from addiction, let’s first examine what a lower-order purpose is and why we need to shed this maladaptive skin. A lower-order purpose is essentially the driving force in our lives before we accept the need to mature and advance in who we are as individuals. Lower-order purposes are characterized by the overvaluing of comfort, lack of responsibility, freedom, and most of all, placing immediate gratification at the pinnacle of this value hierarchy. Before we are mature enough to embody our own higher-order purpose, we are like immature children who want what we want when we want it, and who are willfully blind to the inevitable consequences of this perspective. It is also clearly illustrated in the story of Peter Pan, who understandably refuses to accept the call for maturity due to the fact that his only real example of maturity is found in the bitter, resentful, and malevolent character that is Captain Hook. What Pan is unable to see is that maturity is represented poorly by Hook because he did not embody maturity in a healthy manner, and also that he necessarily gave up a potential relationship with his would-be lover, Wendy, who did heed the call of maturity and grew up while Pan fought off adulthood with all he could.
It might be the case that we as addicts struggled with this call to maturity and personal responsibility because we also had Captain Hook-like examples of what adulthood is and ought to be. We cannot, however, afford to continue this perspective if we want to make progress in our personal development and in our recovery. With that understanding, adopting a higher-order purpose can help us to harvest meaning within our lives, and incidentally, to the extent that we are able to harvest meaning, we will become fortified to withstand the problems that life throws at us. We can also engage with the world in a more meaningful way as we begin to understand that we are participants of this adventure, but we are also responsible to our families, communities, and larger society as a whole. Higher-order purposes are characterized by honesty in word and action, the voluntary adoption of personal responsibility, and the willingness to examine ourselves and to make amends when necessary; As a consequence of adopting these new principles and perspectives, we begin to view ourselves in the world as agents of change rather than helpless victims of circumstance,
Tree House Recovery of Orange County, California is a premier men’s addiction treatment facility that uses eight different modalities to help our men become the best versions of themselves they can be. We teach our men that every day of their journey is something to celebrate, and that recovery isn’t a sprint– it’s a marathon. To get started with Tree House Recovery, call us today at (855) 202-2138.