When you first get sober, the future can feel overwhelming. I wanted to fast-forward time, so I could get to the part where I imagined sobriety would feel natural. But I also couldn’t fathom forever without alcohol or drugs.
I’ve been sober almost five and a half years. But the first time I tried full sobriety, it was for two and a half months; six years passed before I got sober for what I hope to be the last time. I wasn’t ready that first time—but I think my attitude played a part in the fact that sobriety didn’t stick.
Back then, I saw sobriety as a life sentence stretching endlessly ahead of me. The idea that I would never “get” to use substances again felt like a horrible punishment.
This time, I was antsy to feel “normal” and still couldn’t fathom a lifetime without substances, but I was invested in my everyday growth. Each day in recovery felt exciting to me; it was a major difference that helped me want to do it again the next day.
How Does the Phrase “One Day at a Time” Help in Addiction Recovery?
The phrase “one day at a time” is helpful for people in recovery because it keeps us from getting overwhelmed by the future. You don’t have to worry about how you will stay sober in a month, a year, five years; you just have to stay sober today.
In early recovery, “one day at a time” can help you focus on the aftermath of active addiction step by step. Often when we first get sober—beyond dealing with the huge change—we have to take care of things that may have been damaged or neglected while we were drinking or using. That might mean repairing relationships, getting finances in order, or any number of other things.
These tasks can’t be done overnight; you will get them done on your own time, one thing at a time, one day at a time.
Committing to one day at a time also keeps you in the present, which is excellent for your recovery—but also for your overall mental health. It’s being where you are in the moment, without ruminating too much about your future or your past.
It is not always easy, but learning to stay present will improve your quality of life. Like anything else, you get better with practice. We’ve shared tips on staying present in this blog.
By living “one day at a time” you recommit yourself to your recovery each day. Recovery is a huge deal; still, life tends to get in the way and your sobriety can fade to the background. Taking it one day at a time—regardless of where you are in your recovery—reminds you to continue to prioritize your sobriety.
If you are struggling with a substance use or mental health disorder, there is help and hope. TruHealing Centers offers high-quality treatment for addiction and mental health disorders in facilities across the country. Our staff—many of whom are in recovery themselves—will help you build the coping skills to stay sober, one day at a time, for many days to come. Call an admissions specialist at 410-593-0005.