“Recovery is built one day at a time, one moment at a time, one event at a time, one relationship at a time…”
~Dr. Michael J. De Vito, Addiction: the Master Keys to Recovery
Early recovery can be an anxious, uncertain time. Every struggling substance abuser in Southern California will ask themselves the same questions:
- This time, can I STAY sober?
- What happens next?
- Does it ever get easier?
Control What You CAN
Addictions robs of us of control, making every aspect of our lives unmanageable:
- Relationship difficulties: separation, divorce, child neglect
- Problems at work: suspension, termination, lost productivity, lost productivity
- Legal concerns: DUIs, public intoxication, possession
- Health issues: accidents, disease
- Mental disorders: depression, anxiety, psychosis
Unfortunately, the problems resulting from substance abuse don’t just disappear the moment you begin recovery. Your addiction developed over time, so it will likewise take a while to rebuild your life, start making amends, and heal your relationships.
You can’t control the reactions of anyone else – not your spouse, your family, your boss, or a judge.
But you are in control of YOUR reactions.
You help yourself and maximize your chances of positive outcomes by keeping clean and staying sober RIGHT NOW—today. Drinking or drugging will only make your problems worse.
Count the Small Victories in your Recovery Process
During early recovery, you may still suffer from lingering symptoms of withdrawal—both physically and mentally. And, despite how you feel, you still have to deal with “real” life. Sobriety can be an ongoing battle.
Even worse, you may feel that you have to feel like this and struggle like this for the rest of your life—and that can be overwhelming. “Forever”? That’s just too hard.
But know this: It DOES get better.
When you focus on recovering “one day at a time”, you can count every sober day as another tangible triumph—a measurable victory that you can build upon, day by day.
When difficulties arise and you resist temptation, that, too, is another step forward, because you prove to yourself that you CAN make it.
Stay within Yourself
False confidence is the enemy of successful recovery. When you are absolutely convinced that you’ve finally conquered your demons, you tend to relax and let your guard down.
BOOM! That’s when temptation blindsides you.
Recovery teaches us that absolute terms such as “never” or “always” can be dangerous. It is unhealthily arrogant to believe that you are “cured” of your addiction. Addiction is incurable—but it CAN be managed, just like other chronic conditions.
That’s why it is far safer to think of recovery with terms that are both more measurable and more manageable. If staying sober “forever” is too difficult or too vague an idea, don’t doom yourself to failure—for on “just for today”.
Tell yourself that just for today, you will;
- Call your sponsor or a sober friend if you are struggling with the urge to drink or use.
- Talk to your counselor about your feelings.
- Share with your therapy group.
- Go to an extra 12-Step meeting.
- “Let it out” through prayer, meditation, or journaling.
- Focus on your remarkable progress so far, not how much further you need to go.
- Do WHATEVER IT TAKES to stay sober.
“One day at a time” means you only need to be strong enough to stay sober TODAY. But here’s the good news—when you can stay off drugs and alcohol for every “today”, then “forever” is taken care of.