One day at a time is one of the slogans that Alcoholics Anonymous uses as a tool for staying sober. AA has many wonderful slogans and at times I have found strength in almost all of them. The term “One Day at a Time” is actually taken from the Bible where God tells us not to borrow problems from tomorrow that we have enough for today. Most people spend time worrying about the future and alcoholics are really good at it. The sad thing is that for the alcoholic, borrowing trouble from tomorrow can make us want to drink even more. We have all woken up in the middle of the night and suddenly all of our worries are worse. There is more of a feeling of gloom and doom at night as well. Most of us have had nights where we have stayed awake for hours worrying about things. The next day the worry is still there and we are overtired. We accomplished nothing by lying awake thinking of our problems.
For the alcoholic who is trying to stay sober, worry is a dangerous emotion. In the beginning of sobriety when we are trying to pick up the pieces of our shattered lives, there is a lot to be concerned about. Money problems can be one of the biggest problems we have and also one of the scariest. I have spent many nights lying awake in fear because of money concerns. As much as we may worry about money problems, we are also notorious for not dealing with them. We ignore the bills that come in and some how think they will get paid on their own. Then when the shut off notices start coming in, there is a mad dash to call the places and make deals. The more stressed out we become, the more the idea of a drink or drug sounds good. It’s a vicious circle and it is insanity.
I suggest making a list of things that bother you. Once it is on paper and not just allowed to take up space in our head, we can begin to come up with solutions to the problems. Once we have started to live in the solution, it begins to lose the power to scare us. There are times when we have to think of the future and there are times when it isn’t necessary. We have to give up the “what if this happens” mentality. Yes, bad things can happen to all of us, but worrying about it is a luxury that an alcoholic can’t afford. We must learn to take “One Day at a Time” or even one minute at a time. We also need to stop hiding our heads in the sand and putting things off that need to be dealt with. It is hard to get up the courage and the energy to deal with things. Once we have, we really do feel better about ourselves. I know all of these things are easier said than done and I am as guilty as the next guy of projecting and putting things off. The times when I have taken responsibility for my own life, there has been a spring in my step and lightness in my heart.