You probably have heard the phrase from the Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) community: “One day at a time.”
The reason why this saying is emphasized is because if someone were to say to themselves, “Okay, I’m going to enter drug treatment and I’m never going to drink again,” that might be too overwhelming. It might be too much to say that you’re going to never drink again for the rest of your life.
However, if you were able to say instead, “Well, I’m not going to drink today,” it might make your commitment to sobriety an easier one. All you have to do is stay sober for one day, one day at a time, and eventually that will lead to long-term sobriety.
This is the same reason why when someone who is still drinking begins to attend AA meetings, they are encouraged to attend 90 meetings in 90 days. It’s the classic Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) invitation to new recovering addicts.
If you want to support your drug treatment experience, you’ve got to attend a meeting every day for the next three months. You need that level of support to keep you clean. Plus, attending a meeting a day helps you say to yourself, “I’m going to stay sober today.” You only have to worry about one day at a time.
Small Changes Should Lead to Large Goals
In general, it’s best to make small steady changes towards a large goal. For instance, if you had a goal to start a business, that’s going to take many smaller action steps to lead you to becoming a business owner. Large goals should be broken down into smaller items that will eventually add up to reaching what you have in mind for yourself.
It’s like creating stepping stones to your future. You might even see yourself in the future:
You’re completely sober and happy. You have a loving family, a rewarding job, and you’re working on the projects you’ve always wanted to do but felt like you can’t.
How A Clear Vision Brings You Closer to Recovery
With that clear vision in your mind, you can take the steps today that will bring you closer and closer to that vision. This is true no matter what your vision is, including getting sober.
As the larger goal of long-term sobriety is broken down into smaller action steps (such as attending AA meetings, enrolling in drug treatment, mending your relationships with family and friends, and securing a sponsor/mentor), recovery is possible. In fact, with smaller steps, recovery becomes more manageable.
It’s also important to point out that sometimes large changes are necessary. For instance, if you are in an abusive relationship, then the significant change of leaving that relationship in order to find safety might be what you need to do. Making small changes in this situation might not be useful.
Also, it’s true that there are parts of sobriety that will in fact require large changes. For instance, after you return home from drug treatment, you might need to find a whole new circle of friends in order to protect your fragile sobriety.
You might also need to end an intimate relationship, find another job, and find new ways of spending your free time. You might need to form relationships with people you never thought you would become friends with, such as with a sponsor.
Although getting sober is in fact a one-day-at-a-time sort of experience, there’s no question that it’s also a sudden, large change. Recovery is not just a matter of getting off drugs or no longer drinking; recovery is also finding a new you.
It’s putting the pieces together again so that you are stronger than you were before. Recovery is finding the inner resources that were buried while you were in the cycle of addiction, and it is uncovering the wounds that the addiction was trying to mask. Recovery is making a large life change, but it’s a change that you can make one day at a time.
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