One of the most common slogans in addiction recovery is “One Day at a Time.” But what does it really mean? What is it about this slogan that can help someone in recovery gain perspective and hope?
Bill W. suggested that we live “one day at a time,” and that day is today! All life takes place in the present, this very moment and this moment is a gift, that’s why it is called the present.
We have gathered below, from observations and time-proven strategies spoken in the rooms of recovery, some of the best ways to approach living one day at a time. These are easily achievable by anyone who’s serious about embracing recovery-and even those who doubt that they can actually do it.
- Pace Yourself – acclimate yourself to being clean and sober, take the time to learn and practice various coping strategies. Have your to-do list prepared but don’t overwhelm yourself. Know your limits and go slowly but surely.
- Setting the Standard – Your Commitment to Sobriety – It is not going to be easy but you have to promise not to give up on yourself. Be open to admit you don’t know everything about recovery and know when and where to seek support. Stick to your schedule and meetings.
- Don’t Miss the Moment – pause and reflect on life and what’s real right now. We are often so caught up with we set ourselves to do that we miss out on appreciating or lives.
- Set Priorities – your to-do list must be enormous, but learning how to set priorities early in recovery will help you maintain the necessary balance in your day-to-day life.
- Do What Is Compatible and Doable – whatever it is that you’re attempting to do, start with items or projects in which you are compatible with or are easier for you to accomplish. This will not only make you feel good about yourself, but it will also make you move faster through your list without being stuck at something that may be more challenging for you to get done.
- Embrace Who You Are – This courageous and determined new individual you have become might have flaws and you may not like them. Make the adjustments you find necessary so that you find your new you, the person who you want to be. For example, if you are a procrastinator and you hate that about yourself, you know you should be working on it.
- Recognize that Anger, Worry, and Unnecessary Stress Lead to Burnout – If you are often or mostly angry about something, you should try to root out the source of your anger. Identify the problem and work on changing it, modifying the situation, or learning how to accept what you cannot change.
- Learn How to Deal with Tough Issues Step-by-Step – Difficult or tough problems and issues take time to be solved. Understanding that the best approach to face these problems is one step at a time will help you in not only solving them but also keep you from getting stressed out. If you are stuck and need help, talk to your sponsor and group members in the rooms of recovery. Even if they are not able to come up with suggestions to help you, their support and encouragement will help you to get through the day.
- Have Faith and Take the Time to Dream – Trust your abilities, have faith in a Higher Power, and in yourself. Dream and set goals to achieve your dreams, they are the stepping stones to reach your dreams.
If you try all of these ways to approach living one day at a time, you should find that it gets easier every day. Don’t be so hard on yourself, especially if you don’t get everything done on your to-do list. In the end, it isn’t how much or how hard you work, but what you get out of it that counts. You will be in recovery is for the rest of your life, enjoy the journey and embrace the here and now. Remember to live in the present one day at a time, because a successful recovery happens one day at a time and the lessons you learned through the 12 steps are transferable to all areas of your life and to everyone.
Dr. Balta is the Medical Director at FCR for more than 10 years. Dr. Balta is Board Certified in Psychiatry and Addiction Medicine, Certified Psychoanalyst. As well, as having Psychiatric Training at The Albert Einstein School of Medicine Psychiatric Residency Program In New York City and Psychoanalytic Training at The William Alanson White Institute in New York City. While working in New York City, gained funding Grants for the treatment of Substance Abuse Disorders from SAMHSA , HRSA and the City of New York.