“Recovery is built one day at a time, one moment at a time, one event at a time, one relationship at a time – just like every brick and stone and that Great Wall. Successful recovery is not built without a plan. The Great Wall is seen from space; recovery by the world.” -Dr. Michael J. De Vito, DC, DACACD, author of Addiction: the Master Keys to Recovery
For many people in Colorado who are hoping to overcome a substance abuse disorder, the initial period of sobriety during early recovery is fraught with uncertainty and anxiety. Frequent questions can crop up and even after initial withdrawal symptoms subside, recovery is often a long, strenuous road. Living one day at a time is a concept that has helped many in recovery move beyond the challenging moments. The phrase has also been linked to the world-recognized organization slogan for Alcoholics Anonymous.
The purpose of the phrase is meant to keep people from feeling overwhelmed by the prospect of never indulging in substances that they’ve grown accustomed to using. Additionally, it can make the journey in recovery more manageable and serve as a reminder to take it in small strides.
Issues that stem from substance use disorder are highly complex and, in most cases, it’s important to seek outside assistance. Addiction recovery centers, like AspenRidge REACH, are making it easier for Coloradans to receive the proper care they need. In addition, studies have revealed the deeper connection of substance abuse and mental health disorders and, as a result, have sought to incorporate dual diagnosis care within every program. Learn more about online addiction recovery here.
Fears of Addiction Recovery
Substance misuse affects all cultures, ethnicities, and walks of life. As a disease of the mind and body, addiction can quickly grab hold of those using substances and morph into more catastrophic events in both personal life and physical health. Those battling with substance addiction often find themselves at odds with internal shame, self-medicating, and ongoing use. Mental health disorders are also incredibly common among those that seek relief through alcohol, illicit drugs, and even prescription medications.
About 17.5 million Americans over the age of 18 have a serious mental health disorder in the past year. Of this total, about 4 million people are also struggling with a co-occurring drug or alcohol dependency problem. Additionally, more than 50% of those living with a dual-diagnosis did not receive any medical treatment to help them progress in recovery.
When an individual seeks outside support and addiction recovery assistance, it’s incredibly important that a tailored approach be taken. Recovery centers should evaluate the level of substance abuse and discuss options for treating any underlying mental health conditions or complex trauma. Still, even though recovery programs, getting sober is a treacherous path met with ongoing setbacks, triggers, and sometimes the dreaded relapse. Those in recovery may begin asking difficult questions:
- Am I going to be able to stay sober this time?
- What’s going to happen next?
- Does it get better or easier?
Defining a relapse prevention plan, utilizing ongoing therapy, and addressing substance misuse can prove to help thousands overcome substance use disorder. Living one day at a time can help efforts as you move through the path of rehabilitation.
Living in Recovery
In the beginning, it’s important to understand the high risk of relapse. According to the U.S. National Library of Medicine, by definition, addiction is a chronic relapsing disease. In some cases, substance use disorder can progress in phases, for example:
- Initial use
In other instances, addiction can begin after a single-use. Whatever the cause, substance use disorder will unfold differently for each individual.
Regardless, living in recovery is about accepting challenges that will inevitably come. In overcoming substance abuse, it’s critical to focus on key components. Adopting phrases like ‘Living one day at a time,’ can help serve as a reminder that each day is a new day. Relapse or not, each individual has the ability to progress in recovery and find sobriety no matter the type of substance or severity of use. So what does living one day at a time look like?
Meaning of Living One Day at a Time
Suffering from a substance abuse disorder can be debilitating. To some chemical intoxicants can become a form of self-medication for soothing the feelings of low self-worth, hopelessness, and despair. In others, addiction can be linked to genetic traits and predispositions among environment and social cues. Fighting this disease ultimately means accepting it and aiming for something beyond.
When an addiction spirals completely out of control, it also means that the rest of your life has become just as unmanageable –
- Relationship problems
- Difficulties at work
- Legal issues
- Health concerns
- Mental problems
When an addiction takes over, every aspect of your life is affected, and the problems caused by drug and alcohol abuse do not “magically” go away the day you decide to get clean and sober. Just as it took time for your addiction to develop, will take time to get your life back in order, make amends, and let wounds heal. Living one day at a time is a reminder to set small goals and begin rebuilding the foundation of health and self-care that was destroyed during ongoing substance abuse.
Reality dictates that you cannot control how anyone else is going to react – not your loved ones, your employer, or the Court, and if there are any associated health concerns, you will have to deal with them the best you can. However, in each instance, you can give yourself the best chance of a positive outcome by finding the reasons for sobriety today. Living one day at a time in recovery starts with the first step: asking for help. To live one day at a time is to focus on the present moment and not look toward past failures or future worries.
Living One Day at a Time: Count Every Victory
Early recovery can be physically uncomfortable due to lingering withdrawal symptoms. As toxins leave the body, clarity may begin to usher in a new sense of resiliency. While new, healthier habits and ways of thinking are not yet developed, recognizing the strength to overcome the first initial withdrawal stage is a monumental victory. Celebrate yourself as you move forward toward long-term health!
Remember, even for healthy individuals, the concept of “forever” is just too difficult to comprehend. The methodology for addiction recovery should begin by addressing the accomplishments of today. By remembering that day two of sobriety is just as important as day 385, serves as a reminder that every victory counts. Remember to find enjoyment in the small wins and commit to living one day at a time. Some common commitments include:
- Keeping a positive attitude
- Taking on one problem at a time
- Expanding knowledge in one way
- React amiably to others and do good towards them
- Focus on loving yourself through holistic healing techniques
- Fiding willingness to step outside of your comfort zone to try new things
During the fragile state of recovery, clients may not realize that it gets better. Keeping a positive mindset and being mindful about self-care can allow you to find balance. Recognize that every day will not be perfect, but it’s still an accomplishment without substance use.
When you think “living one day at a time”, you get to count every day clean and sober as a blessed victory. When you’re struggling with the disease of addiction, every day spent without drinking or using is a triumph – a tangible sign of successful recovery that you can build upon. Do it over and over, until day two becomes day 489.
One Day at a Time Means Staying within Yourself
Overconfidence can be the enemy of recovery. Whenever you are so sure that you have your addiction beat this time – once and for all –and you let down your guard, that’s when you’re blindsided by an unexpected temptation.
In recovery, you learned that absolutes – words like “always” or “never” – should be avoided, because it is the height of unhealthy arrogance to act as if you have been cured of your disease. There is no cure for addiction.
It’s much safer to think in more manageable, measurable terms. “Forever” is too vague a concept, and as such, impossible to achieve. There is no real way that you can forecast every situation or how you will react to it.
However, you can probably safely wrap your mind around the concept of “just for today”. When life comes at you in unexpected ways, remember that you can break any problem down into more manageable terms – just for today:
- Call your sponsor if you feel tempted.
- Go to an extra support meeting.
- Focus on how far you have come, not how far you have to go.
When you approach living one day at a time, you only have to worry about staying sober TODAY. When you string together enough “todays”, “forever” ends up taking care of itself.
Find Addiction Recovery Help
AspenRidge REACH is the premier addiction treatment center in Colorado, helping you discover sobriety today and moving forward. We can assist with ongoing treatment for substance use disorders and co-occurring mental health issues.
AspenRidge uses established protocols based upon the 12 Step principles, as well as the latest evidence-based treatment methods. We combine dual diagnosis care and address substance use triggers to help plan relapse prevention. Additionally, through our Colorado online addiction treatment programs, clients can continue to manage outside family and work obligations while still receiving evidence-based care.
If you or someone you care about is struggling with drugs or alcohol, call the intake line at AspenRidge REACH 24/7 today at 720-650-8055 to speak with an online addiction specialist. We can help you get started and help you begin living one day at a time.