Those who have participated in a 12-step support group for addiction recovery or professional substance abuse treatment program have likely heard the familiar phrase about taking sobriety “one day at a time.” While this adage is often encountered in the recovery community, it can be helpful to step back and determine what these words actually mean for you, other individuals, and each person’s unique journey.
Sometimes we hear a familiar expression or snippet of wisdom so frequently that the words start to lose their meaning. However, in this instance, taking recovery one day at a time continues to be a potent tool that carries with it many valuable applications for fostering lasting sobriety and a lifetime of happiness and wellness.
Every Day Recommitment
Engaging in recovery one day at a time means waking up and recommitting to the process every single day. This means that despite the stressful circumstances one is facing in life, and regardless of what occurred yesterday, the individual is making the conscious choice to carry on or re-engage in their commitment to sobriety today.
Sobriety is a choice people in recovery must make each day and continue to do so for as long as they seek to better themselves and their lives after active addiction. This includes recommitting to recovery even when finding hope and motivation is incredibly challenging, such as following a relapse or near-relapse. Although this can be devastating for all involved, it is not a reason to beat oneself up (or another loved one) or stop trusting oneself entirely.
Instead, relapse can become an excellent opportunity to prove to yourself and others that you can pick yourself up and recommit to having a better tomorrow. By always choosing to reaffirm one’s sobriety, individuals are making a firm vow to refuse to give up and to push through even the most daunting of times.
In addition, it can help to turn the daily commitment into a kind of ritual, possibly stating your promise out loud to yourself in the mirror each day. The simple act of making a spoken promise to yourself can help solidify your daily intention and help you get through every day with the resolution to stay sober.
Remaining in the Present
The purpose behind taking it one day at a time grounds individuals in the present, which can be an incredible recovery tool and improve mental wellness and spiritual health. Learning to remain in the present moment, also commonly referred to as practicing mindfulness, is an ability that has been encouraged by spiritual leaders for thousands of years and touted as a path to the experience of God, as one knows Him.
More recently, research has found that the practice of mindfulness reduces depression and anxiety while also enhancing cognitive ability and allowing individuals to experience life more fully. When it comes to addiction recovery, remaining present means letting go of one’s regrets and resisting the urge to worry too much about the future, but instead finding peace in the present moment of sobriety.
Allowing oneself to become overwhelmed with feelings of embarrassment and guilt related to past bad behavior can lead to relapse, as can undue worry about your ability to maintain abstinence in the future. By eliminating all concern that isn’t delegated to the here and now, you can focus on what you can manage and practice letting go of all else.
Undertaking One Dilemma at a Time
Dealing with one problem at a time can prevent individuals from becoming too overwhelmed in what will likely be one of the most challenging times of one’s life. Addiction can cause many problems that may go ignored for years as addictive behavior escalates. Once you have entered a recovery program and have begun working to maintain sobriety, you must also start the challenging work of repairing the damage substance abuse has inflicted on so many aspects of your life.
You may have financial or relationship issues or worsening mental health with which to deal, and facing these challenges sober can be stressful. By taking each day as it comes, you can remind yourself that you do not have to fix every problem in your life all at once to achieve happiness and balance in the long term.
It is vital to remember you cannot force yourself to work through every emotional barrier in a brief period to accelerate the recovery process. Each emotion must be wholly experienced and processed in a way that promotes sustainable healing. Moreover, taking it one day at a time might mean allowing oneself to spend the day feeling angry or sad and yet taking productive steps to process that feeling, such as meditation or seeking help from a sponsor, counselor, or spiritual advisor.
Professional Treatment Can Help
Learning how to engage in life one moment at a time and one day at a time can be essential to sustaining long-term sobriety. This skill can also be complemented by participating in an intensive recovery program, such as Just Believe Recovery.
Our center employs caring, highly skilled medical professionals who specialized in addiction and all manners of mental and emotional health and wellness. Evidence-based services we provide include the following:
- Medical detox
- Group support
- Art and music therapy
- Relapse prevention
- Mindfulness meditation
- Aftercare planning
- Alumni events