Life, Sobriety, and One Day at a Time
Sometimes it seems like life is simply going to overwhelm us.
This is especially true when it feels as though new problems arise faster than we can solve the old problems. The car breaks down, the big project at work is behind schedule, the kid is failing math (and you can’t figure out how to do it either), you’re double-booked on Saturday when all you really want is a nap…The list might go on and on.
If you are in recovery from a substance use disorder, the sense of being overwhelmed can put your sobriety at risk. After all, when your stress levels are ramping up, it can become awfully tempting to take drugs or drink alcohol in an attempt to escape the chaos for a little while. You know it isn’t the right solution, but there sure are times when it can seem like the right solution for right now.
When you start to feel that way, we suggest you take a deep breath…and take some advice from an essential source: a 1970s sitcom. And if that seems too old-school for you, we’ll note that the sitcom in question was rebooted in 2017, with the same advice on offer in the opening theme.
We are, of course, referring to One Day at a Time.
Sitcom Theme Song Wisdom
Admit it: You probably know at least one sitcom theme song by heart. Maybe it’s “I’ll Be There for You” from Friends. Or “Movin’ On Up” from The Jeffersons. Or “The Facts of Life” from, well, The Facts of Life.
This is it.
This is life, the one you get
So go and have a ball.
This is it.
Straight ahead and rest assured
You can’t be sure at all.
So while you’re here enjoy the view
Keep on doing what you do
Hold on tight. We’ll muddle through
One day at a time.
So up on your feet.
Somewhere there’s music playing.
Don’t you worry none
We’ll just take it like it comes.
One day at a time!
It’s a catchy ditty with some good reminders. We only get one life, so we should make the most of it. It is difficult to be certain of much, but we have to keep going. Sometimes the best we can do is muddle through. Finding joy where we can is important. And, most importantly, we can only take things one day at a time.
That Advice Might Sound Familiar
If you have been participating in a program like Alcoholics Anonymous as part of your recovery, that sitcom advice may remind you of something you have heard before.
Here’s what the AA guidebook Living Sober has to say about a “one day at a time” approach to sobriety:
Although we realize that alcoholism is a permanent, irreversible condition, our experience has taught us to make no long-term promises about staying sober. We have found it more realistic—and more successful—to say, ‘I am not taking a drink just for today.’ Even if we drank yesterday, we could plan not to drink today. We may drink tomorrow—who knows whether we’ll even be alive then?—but for these 24 hours, we decide not to drink. No matter what the temptation or provocation, we determine to go to any extremes necessary to avoid a drink today.
A Few Tips for Making Today a Day of Sobriety
Making a new commitment each day to stay sober is a great start. But in order to see it through, you will need to set yourself up for success. For example, focusing on eating nutritious food (and steering clear of too much sugar), getting some exercise and some sunlight, and having a good set of nighttime habits that facilitate rest (like turning off the screens well before bedtime) are all helpful strategies. Sticking to healthy routines—like practicing mindfulness, writing in a gratitude journal, and the like—can help you make each day a day of sobriety.
Make Today the Day You Get the Help You Need
If you are struggling with a substance use disorder, the day to get the help you need is today. There is nothing to be gained by waiting a single day more. At The Aviary Recovery Center, we have the expertise, experience, and compassion necessary to see you through detoxification and rehabilitation and to provide a continuum of care to support you in the early days of your recovery journey. Don’t put off treatment for someday. Make today the day you start to reclaim both your sobriety and your life.