Purpose: Principles of Recovery

Purpose is the 4th Principle of Recovery

Hello again Alumni and all other interested souls.  I’ve been writing about the Four Principles, or if you prefer, the Four Pillars of Recovery and today, I’ll be focusing on the Fourth Principle, PURPOSE. For those of you reading this for the first time, the first three principles were: HUMILITY, RESPONSIBILITY and ACCOUNTABILITY.  The analogy I use is that it’s like a four-legged stool that we can sit on with confidence; that it won’t tip over. We may still make it with three legs, but if we rely on only one or two, we’re in for a pretty shaky balancing act.  For me, the fourth principle “seals the deal” in more ways than one.    The first two principles are the inside pillars that we install with God’s grace and forgiveness, so we can be more at peace with ourselves.  Humility and Responsibility literally “relieve us from the bondage of self”!

Purpose is How We Gift Sobriety Away

Accountability and Purpose call us out to be part of a greater cause, bringing our healing experience to others still suffering.  We need the Accountability to give us authenticity and credibility, which we may have lost while we were still struggling. Purpose is how we gift sobriety away so that we remain in the grace of resting in the palm of God’s hand.  Whether I am a believer or not, the image of lying safely, curled up in the immense palm of a loving Creator never ceases to comfort me.

Purpose Isn’t Just What We Do; It’s How We Do It!

Purpose means going public in our assigned environment and community. Purpose isn’t just what we do; it’s how we do it! We take the respect, dignity and honour that sobriety bestows on us and share it with our loved ones at home, we take it to our club rooms, our workplace and anywhere else we are called to be. In our own signature ways, we are committed to being a positive, creative, loving force where ever life takes us.  We learn to choose the appropriate places to be transparent and tell our story, and in other circles, we try to be a positive influential presence.  “Principles before personalities” is a sure formula for creating a better, more effective world around us.

My wife Hildie had an esteemed mentor, an anthropologist by the name of Angeles Arrien who studied “addictions” in various aboriginal cultures and came to a unique conclusion.  Rather than labelling it a disease, she observed that addictions were a consequence of human beings not sharing their creative gifts appropriately for the benefit of themselves and the greater good.  Perhaps our experience with addictions is our opportunity to become a better version of ourselves and become a vital part of a healing community. Carl Jung was once quoted as saying: “I’m not what happened to me.  I’m what I choose to become”.  The Four Pillars light the path.

Purpose and The 12 Steps

So here’s the punch line:

  1. If you want HUMILITY, read Steps 1, 2 and 3 in the Big Book, or better still, The Twelve and Twelve;
  2. If you’re interested in RESPONSIBILITY, read Steps 4, 5 and 6;
  3. If you want ACCOUNTABILITY, read Steps 7, 8 and 9;
  4. If you’re interested in PURPOSE, read Steps 10, 11 and 12.

May each of you be well, may you be happy, and may you continue your journey with ease and in peace.

Written By: Bill Jacyk MD, FRCPC, MDPAC