How to Live “One Day at a Time”

Once you’ve started working on your long-term recovery from drug or alcohol addiction, you’ll hear many common concepts come up time and again. One of these is the idea that recovering addicts should live their lives one day at a time.

While this phrase can be reassuring, it’s more than a mere platitude. As we continue to observe National Recovery Month all September, what are some tips you can use for bringing the “one-day-at-a-time” philosophy into your life?

1. Be Present in Each Moment

Learning to be more mindful can benefit anybody, but it’s especially helpful for people who are actively working to maintain sobriety. Mindfulness practices such as meditation help you learn breathing techniques to calm you, mentally and physically. Meditation can also teach you ways to center yourself in the present, instead of getting stuck in the past or stressing about the future.

2. Control Your Decision-Making

The realities of giving up drugs or drinking for good could be overwhelming at times. As you work on your sobriety, you may catch yourself glamorizing the days when you were drinking or using. This form of selective memory, also called euphoric recall, causes you to gloss over all the negative consequences of substance abuse. When this happens, it can give rise to dangerous thoughts like, “I’ll never be able to enjoy parties for the rest of my life.”

The idea of sobriety as a path that stretches indefinitely into the future might be causing you undue stress. However, when you break that massive objective into the concept of taking it one day at a time, it can feel much more doable to picture yourself making the right decisions when various choices present themselves.

3. Learn to Set Realistic Goals

Living one day at a time doesn’t mean you never set long-range goals; it means you maintain a sharper focus on improving at least one thing about yourself every day. Setting these small, achievable goals will build your self-esteem while giving you the satisfaction of achieving something on your to-do list.

For your daily goal, choose something specific you want to actively improve. For example, you may want to hone your active listening skills, which you can do by allowing yourself 10 to 15 seconds after someone has finished speaking to collect your thoughts and provide constructive feedback.

4. Keep Track of Your Progress

Many people have discovered the benefits of journaling to improve their mental well-being. Your journal can be a place to record your innermost thoughts and get worries out of your mind and onto paper. Keeping daily journal entries can also help you chart the progress you’ve made in addiction recovery and be grateful for how far you’ve come.

Your Decisions Today Can Create a Better Tomorrow

Long-term addiction recovery requires you to be patient and kind to yourself. You’ll need to change your thought patterns to avoid negativity while you work toward a bright future, one day at a time.

Your environment can also significantly influence your commitment to sobriety, especially if you’re worried about relapsing. To learn more about the structured sober residences we provide at Segue Recovery Support, please contact us today.