Turning Your Pain Into Your Passion
I was recently talking to a friend who experienced the loss of her baby a while back, which is probably the most painful thing that a person can endure and she was me telling about how she has taken that painful event in her life and turned it into a positive. She started a nonprofit for people who have lost a child and rather than allow the pain she was experiencing overtake her; she turned that pain into a passion. She took the negative self-talk and thoughts as well as the pain and gave it purpose. She told me about how she found that the pain was so much more bearable when it came with the perspective that it could help others. I could relate to that because somehow it lessened the intensity of the pain I have experienced to know that it could help someone else to know that it wasn't pointless and it could be used to lift others up.
The ability to take painful events and turn them into positive things that enrich your life and those around you is something I learned in the rooms of Alcoholics Anonymous. I learned that the things that we experience in life, especially the painful things, are not without purpose and that many times they are a catalyst for change, or they increase our ability to help others.
I remember my sponsor told me this at one point in my sobriety. She told me that sometimes we go through painful things so that we can help others down the road get through similar struggles. When she told me this I thought that was a pretty crappy deal. I have to experience pain so that I can be helpful to some unknown person down the road? It wasn’t something that I wanted to hear, but the longer that I have stayed sober, I started to experience times when my pain was helpful to others and in having those experiences I have realized how powerful it is.
There have been certain things that I have experienced in my sobriety that were particularly terrible and in the immediacy of the event I could only see pain and uncomfortability. Then something incredible would happen a few years later. I would meet someone, or be sponsoring a woman and she would be experiencing the very thing that I had experienced a few years back. Being that I made it through to the other side I was perfectly positioned to be helpful and due to my experience I was able to ease her suffering.
In a sense what I am doing in recovery is turning my pain into my passion. For so many years I suffered with my alcoholism. Life was excruciating and each passing day seemed worse than the last. While I was enduring it I saw no point to my pain. I saw it as meaningless and unfair, but now that I am sober I have taken all of that pain I felt and I use it for good. The pain of yesterday spurs me on in the present, always reminding me what I am fighting for and keeps me wanting to help others.
For instance I have become a vocal advocate of being public with my recovery. The pain and isolation I felt has lead me to believe that in order for me to be of maximum service to my fellow struggling alcoholics and addicts, I can’t hide behind my anonymity. It is the reason why I write these blogs, so that maybe someone, somewhere will read my words and connect and in doing so they will have the chance to recover like I have.
Thinking further about turning pain into passion, I believe it is really the ultimate purpose of pain. In reality there are really two things that we can do with the painful memories of our life. We can bottle them up and allow them to shade the way we view the world, taking bits and pieces of our peace along the way, or we can chose to use it for good. Allowing the pain to transform us into someone new, someone stronger, someone better.
My friend is an incredible example of this. Through one of the most painful experiences of her life she found her calling. She decided that she would not let how she felt define her, but rather she would define what her pain meant to her. By choosing this path she will help countless women throughout the years and hopefully find a deeper sense of meaning in her life.
Stories like my friend’s are what I love most about being sober. I love the fact that I am able to meet people who inspire me today and I love that I am able to be open enough to receive the messages that they present to me. I love the fact that I myself am able to transform the traumas of my past into passions today and I love that I am able to help people because of the things that I have experienced.
Like my friend in AA always tells me, “Pain is the touchstone of all spiritual growth” and while it may not seem like it in the moment, pain usually means that something incredible is just around the corner. If you had told me three years ago that today my life would look the way it does, I probably wouldn’t have believed you, but a little faith, a little pain, and a lot of prayer has taken this once broken women and transformed her into a passionate, sober member of society.
So if you are in pain don’t give up. Keep fighting until the day you can see the purpose of it all. Try your best to see how this experience is shaping you into a new person and no matter what- keep going.
Rose Lockinger is a passionate member of the recovery community. A rebel who found her cause, she uses blogging and social media to raise the awareness about the disease of addiction. She has visited all over North and South America. Single mom to two beautiful children she has learned parenting is without a doubt the most rewarding job in the world. Currently the Outreach Director at Stodzy Internet Marketing.