by Mike McGuire, RMHCI, CAC
Living One Day at a Time
“But Mike, one day at a time everyday is forever!” Thoughts like this are common among newly clean and sober individuals. This statement, in-of-itself isn’t wrong. However, it misconstrues the concept of “one-day-at-a-time living. When I’m talking about living one day at a time, what I’m saying is that we need to stay in today by living in the moment. In other words, there’s nothing that we can do about what happened yesterday, and all we can do for tomorrow is plan and prepare. It is so easy to think that we may fail at something one day down the road and because of those thoughts, we never even begin to try!
In my first year of sobriety I decided that I wanted to go to college. I had a pretty good idea that I wanted to be a mental health counselor, but I knew that that would require getting a Master’s degree plus years of supervision. That seemed like such a momentous task, and I knew that it would take years. I explained to my father that I was probably too old that begin that journey (I was 25) because I would be 32 before I even finished school, and I should therefore just find a job that I could get right away and start making money. My dad responded to me with a simple, yet brilliant statement that has stuck with me to this day and that I pass on to people all the time. He told me “Time always passes, and God-willing, you will wake up and be 32 years old one day no matter what. You can wake up that day and have a Master’s degree or you can wake up and be in the same position you’re in today, but either way you’re going to be 32 years old. The only difference between the two situations are the choices you make today.”
I’m now 32 years old and have a Master’s degree.
I tell this story to point out that by focusing on what we need to do today instead of focusing on all the things that could go wrong in the future—we get things done! I’m reminded of a quote that’s often heard at the beginning of every Narcotics Anonymous meeting, “This sounds like a big order, and we can’t do it all at once. We didn’t become addicted in one day, so remember – Easy Does It. (1983)”
We can do together what we cannot do alone.
Dan Renaud BS, CAP, ICADC