Purpose in the New Year
Updated: Jan 14
“What is the purpose of life?” asked every man since the beginning of time.
Humanity has struggled with its purpose for as long as it has existed. Plans to align properly have been attempted since Adam ate the apple. Deep resolve is on constant repeat, trying to “get right.”
This post finds us at the flip of the year - that infamous day when people look for a fresh start, a deeper connection, and to fulfill their purpose in life.
There is no better time, they say, to make a change for the better.
People had been making New Year's resolutions long before Julius Caesar tinkered with the calendar, changing the beginning of the new year from mid-March to early January.
According to history.com the practice of resolutions was started 4000 years ago by the ancient Babylonians. Then, in or around 46BC, the Romans, “Believing that Janus (the god of beginning and endings - usually depicted as having two faces.) symbolically looked back into the previous year and ahead into the future, the Romans offered sacrifices to the deity and made promises of good conduct for the coming year.”
Mike and Glenn shared their versions of New Year's resolutions during their active addiction years and what their future commitments look like today on a recent episode of the sober.coffee podcast. You can hear that broadcast here…
For us anyway, while we were still out there drinking and drugging, January 1st represented a milestone of “simply surviving.” To make matters worse, reflection was done with the post-holiday chemical-injected fog. Usual emotional themes included regret, remorse, guilt, and shame. Resolve would follow that things were going to be different – then the drink would be put down, and that health would be picked up. This commitment lasted days, if not hours, and would lead to more grief, disappointment, pain, and disgrace, and the cycle just continued.
The sad reality is that we thought, then, that life could change because of a date on a calendar - that January 1st was some magical moment that could radically alter the trajectory of our life - that all we had to do was ink some grandiose selfish plans to paper, muster up our best self-will, be prepared to hurdle unforeseen obstacles, and relentlessly forge ahead. We imagined the result would be a success through raw determination and that our grit-gained achievements would fill the void within us.
We have considered that the miracle of change can occur any day of the year. And your purpose can begin to unfold on October 13th, May 24th, any day, or if you choose to surrender on the first day of the new calendar year.
For us, we surrendered to the guidance and direction of the Alcoholics Anonymous program. The program and its principles provide the foundation for a purpose-driven life. And yes, we submitted our self-will to a much more qualified “higher power.”
From this foundation, we build. With honesty, openness, and willingness, we forge ahead and start each day afresh while constantly seeking guidance from God.
We understand that purpose is found when you walk in step with a more excellent plan. We have further discovered that a closer-to-perfect connection can be uncovered while in a meditative state, tapping into that “power greater than ourselves” that we talk about so often.
Meditation, by definition, is ”to think deeply or focus one's mind for some time, in silence or with the aid of chanting, for religious or spiritual purposes or as a method of relaxation.” The practice helps clarify and concentrate the mind. To connect, there are varying methods of introspection, concentrative, generative, receptive, reflective, etc. We might suggest that you research and find the way that works for you.
In an example of this working for us practically, Glenn recounts that in a moment of meditation (In his sober years), where he confessed that “life was just not feeling right.” The words “help me” passed his lips, and at that moment, the tapestry was flipped and revealed. The picture of his life was presented as precisely as it was pristine. For a moment, he caught a glimpse that revealed the workings of his past intertwined with the hope of his future. He saw and felt purpose.
We're not promising that if you close your eyes and say, “help me,” that clarity will come instantly. But we suggest that connecting with the power greater than yourself and being quiet and open should deliver peace and a glimpse of purpose.
Try it today!
Thoughts and ideas for this blog post were taken and built upon from sober.coffee podcast Titled: “Bonus Drop - New Years” The podcast dropped on 1/1/2023 click here to hear the podcast
Alcoholics Anonymous and AA are registered trademarks of Alcoholics World Service. Inc. References to AA, the 12 steps, and 12 traditions does not mean that AA has reviewed or approved the contents of this publication, nor that AA agrees with the views expressed herein. This publication is intended to support personal growth and should not be thought of as a substitute for advice of healthcare professionals. The authors advice and viewpoints are their own.