Purpose Driven Recovery Through The Life Process Program

Stanton Peele By: Dr. Stanton Peele

Posted on September 7th, 2018 - Last updated: October 22nd, 2018
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The Life Process Program (LPP) is a PURPOSE DRIVEN program.  What does that mean?



In LPP, people learn skills and attitudes, and use their beliefs and personal assets, including relationships and communities, to leave addiction behind.

But underlying progress against addiction is the feeling clients develop that their lives are purposeful, that they have goals and meaning with which their addiction interferes, and so they are motivated to leave addiction behind.  Purpose is like a true north, one that allows people to overcome bumps and curves in the road because, ultimately, they know where they are headed.  They have things of meaning in life that will always be more important than resuming their addiction.

But purpose is not something that can be GIVEN to you.  It is something to be uncovered amidst your values, with some careful guidance and help from your LPP coach.  Here is one transcription of this gentle, mutual process of discovering a client’s purpose, and a coach’s help in a client’s finding meaning for himself.


This comes from a client who was skeptical when he first began LPP, thinking it would be a waste of his time, but who didn’t know what else to do or where else to go.  Since then he has become extremely involved, as the following demonstrates.


After responding to several modules of questions and responses, the client was asked if he had any questions.  His response was that he maintained many active involvements—with exercise, with courses, with his girlfriend.  Yet he wondered if there was anything more for him, anything that could motivate him beyond addictions.  He felt free to ask this question since his coach was familiar through earlier modules with his interests, skills, personal resources, and values.


Coach’s Response: You mentioned early in the program that you didn’t think it was a good idea to take advice from others about what SHOULD motivate you.  I agree, and you have done some valuable reflection on your own since then. I’m happy to offer observations about your answers to the questions and perhaps you can build from there.

You feel that intelligence is a strong skill of yours; also independence. You’re not totally averse to being part of a system or having a consistent routine, but you also mentioned that you are uncomfortable being told what to do and how to do it for very long.

You are taking some impressive steps and putting in hard work to conform to standards at work, in your social life, and with your partner.

It sounds like you’ve been working hard to do what’s expected of you:

  • at work: as part of achieving a promotion in the long-run
  • In your relationship: the other day you had a meaningful conversation with your girlfriend and truly listened to her in a way that made you want to rethink the way you interact with her

But I’m hearing you say, loud and clear, that something is missing. Am I right about that?

The way you’ve described your personality and signature skills suggests to me that you might benefit from becoming innovative as a practice. Have you ever thought about creating something (perhaps some content) that you get control over? Something you can offer to people, but which doesn’t necessarily obligate you to them?

You’re reader, you love telling stories, and you’ve enjoyed taking risks in the past, so this could be something like starting podcast or writing a book, or doing something as daring as trying stand-up comedy.

Or you could write out a curriculum for a class that you teach outside of work (or online). There really are a lot of options here, and maybe none of those seem appealing, but you can imagine similar pursuits.

Such involvements—or something else you choose—may be of great benefit to you.  You deserve to do things:

  1. a) that captivate your attention and match your personality;
  2. b) that you can do while working your (more routine/scheduled) day job ( of course, any new involvements could be just hobbies but could also turn cash-positive);
  3. c) that involve some risk, which you said is important to you, but with no enormous pressure to keep it going. As you say, you wish you had pursuits that you could drop anytime without hurting anyone, including yourself.

There really is no limit to how far you could take it if you chose to do so.

For any feelings that your personality is a “curse” you do seem to have a gift for seeing the world in a way very few people do (I recall Anthony B. was a hero to you. I agree that he was similar to you in many ways). And since you thrive on doing your “own thing,” then you may find great benefit in generating your own interesting experiences while also having a consistent routine to keep you grounded.

The LPP client responded that he had been thinking about writing about his experiences in different formats, whether fictionalized or factualized.  Prompted by the coach’s recounting of his values, skills, and resources, this now seemed like a realistic possibility.  Moreover, he was now motivated (by his own words in the modules to date, as reprocessed by his coach) to actually try these activities

This client is now working on a book of poems, and beginning a video blog for students who want to learn about writing outside of the college classroom. He’s nearly done the program, and things aren’t perfect, but he’s moving in the direction of meaning/purpose and believes he can sustain it!


Stanton Peele

Dr. Stanton Peele, recognized as one of the world's leading addiction experts, developed the Life Process Program after decades of research, writing, and treatment about and for people with addictions. Dr. Peele is the author of 14 books. His work has been published in leading professional journals and popular publications around the globe.

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