Imagine something you really enjoy or something that’s a big part of your life, like your best friend, your favorite food, watching your favorite sport or celebrating your favorite holiday. Now imagine you are told it’s having such a negative impact on your life that you need to end it altogether. You can never again see your best friend, eat your favorite food, watch your favorite sports team, or celebrate that holiday you’ve loved for years.
The thought of giving it up for good can be overwhelming and discouraging, but what if you had to do it for just one day?
If you’ve never sought sobriety from an addiction, this gives you a small glimpse into what it means to get sober—only at an amplified level of difficulty. For someone facing their first days, weeks and months of sobriety, the idea of never using their substance of choice again is too big of a challenge, but getting through today is a bit more manageable.
Butler Hospital’s Alcohol and Drug Treatment Services team shares reasons to take recovery a day at a time:
- Approaching life one day at time reflects reality. In early recovery, circumstances can change so greatly and so often that worrying about what will happen in weeks or months wastes energy that can otherwise be used toward learning healthier ways to live.
- Approaching life one day at time helps break up our struggles into digestible quantities. Famous cartoonist Charles M. Schulz captured this idea saying, “I have a new philosophy. I’m only going to dread one day at a time.” Funny, but true. If you only focus on what you have to do today, life is more manageable.
- Building healthy coping skills takes time – to learn to deal with adversity, delay gratification, and even enjoy good times without using substances. Many people already have healthy coping skills, such as exercising, they need to practice again.
- Attending some type of structured recovery group to learn healthy living skills, whether it be Alcoholics Anonymous or SMART Recovery meetings, helps that process.
- It really is “Just a String of Days.” Read a personal story of achieving long-term recovery by appreciating the power of one day.
It’s helpful to focus on shorter periods of time – such as minutes, hours, days – because it’s only for today. When you begin to feel better and learn to live a life of recovery, the way you think about your future will naturally expand again to set longer term goals.
By putting one foot in front of the other one day at a time, you will learn to live a balanced and healthier lifestyle and manage stress.