We had the experience but missed the meaning. -TS Elliot
There is important meaning to be gleaned from our experience with addictions. Most importantly, we have the opportunity to trace the experience back to the underlying benefit that our addictions seemed to initially provide us. We can then use this information to integrate more functional forms of corrective experience aimed at providing us with what was missing. For most of us, addictions were not simply born of over-indulgence, but were part of an unconscious attempt to create a sense of fulfillment. Our recovery can stand to provide us this fulfillment if we take this process seriously. With this underlying meaning in mind, we can also learn to hold our addiction story itself as a vital stepping stone to our personal healing—even as a teacher. Our addictions, just like any other pattern of dysfunctional protection, can serve to get our attention. Our emotional pain can always be used as a signpost pointing us in a direction of healing—if we learn to properly find the meaning within the experience.