FEATURE — In the recovery community, “one day at a time” is mentioned quite frequently. Even within inpatient or outpatient drug treatment, the phrase can be heard consistently.
To someone who’s unfamiliar with the saying, it may appear too straightforward or obvious. However, there is a deeper meaning understood by those recovering from substance abuse.
This simple little motto – just a few words – can hold such significance for those in recovery.
For some, this short mantra can be the cornerstone of their recovery, and for others, it can provide motivation to keep the pursuit of recovery alive during hardship.
Beginning the journey of recovery can be a whirlwind for anyone. We are taught very early on to take each day as it comes – to find gratitude in the breath of a second, the pause of the minute and the long hours that fill the day.
We see the wreckage of our past and an unfamiliar road of recovery ahead. We can’t help but feel overwhelmed, yet we can find peace in taking things one day at a time. Only today matters, and we can focus on what lay directly ahead of us.
The pressure releases and we breathe a little easier. Problems will find us, as they often do, and gifts may find us too. We have today to face them all. We always have today.
Each day is victory
The first 24 hours is almost indescribable, scrambling to survive our first day without drugs or alcohol. Sometimes it’s made easier for us by being in drug rehab like Lion’s Gate Rehab, but there are still the constant questions running through the mind and the whispers attempting to lead the addict or alcoholic back to another use.
Some of us make it the 24 hours, and all our experiences are different, but one thing remains the same: That one day is a victory, a desperately needed victory.
Each day that follows that first 24 hours is another victory. Those days turn into weeks, months, years and decades. Those little victories can add up to so much.
We addicts in recovery know what these little victories can become. They blossom into loving families, healthy relationships, successful business, prominent careers, educational milestones and a life beyond our wildest dreams.
That all started from a simple little 24 hours.
It’s uphill from here
Before recovery, we lived so much of our lives the easy way, cutting corners until we spun in circles of insanity. Taking things “one day at a time” cements a commitment to our new way of life, to plant our feet in responsibility and grow roots of purpose into our new lives.
Up the mountain of our own potential we climb; the difficulty we ran from our whole lives is right there, waiting for us. The easy way is whispering to us that it’s not worth it, we’re not worth it, to go back to the drugs, back to the alcohol, back to chaos.
Our substance abuse was always there for us when things got hard as the easy way out. By taking things one day at a time we are able to take on the challenge.
We show up to work, pay bills on time, hold our tongue when angry, have forgiveness for those who wrong us, are all possible for us and so much more, one day at a time. We no longer have to sedate ourselves from the hardships in our lives, and we learn the confidence to choose the uphill path for a better life tomorrow.
Inch by inch
There are going to be the days when everything goes south, when one day at a time turns into one hour, one minute or one second at a time.
When we feel like we’re crawling through the day, when we feel like we can’t take any more adversity, we get a little more. We bear the weight of the challenge, and we struggle forward to the next day. We know there is no easy way out anymore. We have chosen both the treasures of recovery and its promised hardship.
Scraping and dragging ourselves through the random disaster that finds us, inch by inch, we continue the climb. One day at a time we suffer, we celebrate, we live.
Written by SHANE P. CURRIN for Lion’s Gate Recovery.
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