One of the first things newcomers in recovery will hear is the famous Alcoholics Anonymous adage, “one day at a time.” Throughout your journey, this may be one of the most important lines to hang onto when things get tough. It’s the perfect reminder that you don’t necessarily have to see the end results of your recovery immediately to know that you’re well on your way with each step. Not only does this mindset keep you moving forward towards sobriety, it can also be motivating towards other areas of your life as well.
Here are 5 reasons why you should spend more time keeping your eyes set on what you can do today rather than what you should do tomorrow.
1. There’s no pressure.
The only cure for alcohol and drug addiction is complete abstinence. However, the thought of never drinking or using again can be a bit overwhelming in the beginning. When you imagine yourself not drinking at upcoming events and celebrations where you typically imbibed, you will feel like you’re ripping away a huge part of your life. By approaching sobriety one day at a time, you won’t feel all that pressure at once.
When alcohol-ridden events do come up, remember to use your lifelines in recovery to get you over the hump. Talk to your sponsor, go to meetings and be responsible. If you really have to, break days into hours, minutes or seconds as you count your sobriety. This will keep you motivated to go just one more inch further and before you know it, you’ve got another full day under your belt.
2. You get daily reprieve.
No matter how long you’ve been sober, everyone wakes up with one new day to add to their clean time. This is a personal badge of honor you get to proudly tell others about. When you’re faced with a moment of temptation, remind yourself that the minute you relapse, all the days and years of sobriety that you’ve accumulated and worked so hard for fly right out of the window and you have to start counting from day one again.
As you walk in sobriety one day at a time, you are actually being saved from a life of addiction one more day than the day before. It also gives those around you a way to support your everyday commitment to your new way of life.
3. It keeps you grounded.
When you focus on each day instead of the number of days, it keeps you grounded in the present moment. Getting too far ahead of yourself in any endeavor can easily overwhelm you and make you want to give up. Setting small goals, on the other hand, is the true key to success. For now, all you really have to do is face whatever is in front of you and let tomorrow take care of itself.
4. You get to practice doing things differently.
Change doesn’t happen overnight. Many times, the drinking and using are only a fraction of the whole problem. There may be issues with your perceptions, attitudes or coping mechanisms that may have also contributed to your substance abuse. Living out the 12-Steps is an opportunity to correct these old behaviors with each new day.
There are some people who think they can get sober and continue to be dishonest, selfish and hurtful. However, such a life is a fast track to relapse. Taking one-a-day steps to sobriety ensures you get to practice becoming a better version of yourself until you are right where you want to be.
5. You get to live and fully enjoy life.
Chasing a hit or a fix is a full-time job, and there’s no rest for the weary. However, a recovered life gives you the chance at a full life, and it doesn’t have to be a hum-drum affair either. Each day, you can decide to be happy, make plans for your life, dream, build or even discover who you truly are. You’ve got the license to live the life you were meant to live—just make sure you prioritize sobriety and don’t let your expectations get too much ahead of you. If you simply focus on the work that needs to be done in the present and leave all other results up to your Higher Power, you’ll see that life is so much bigger than you can ever put your grip on—and, that it’s so much better that way in the end.
Has the idea of living "one day at a time" played an important role in your recovery? If so, please share in the comments section below.