Jan 03: Just For Today

Just For Today

Here we are in a new year, and it’s easy to get caught up in looking ahead, making plans and fearing the future. One of the first things I was told when I came to AA was that I only had to do this thing today, just for today. I had been a daily drinker, and for many years, it was not possible for me to make two days in a row sober. The concept of just staying sober today was, therefore, acceptable to me. Doing it was a very different thing.

My mind constantly wandered to tomorrow. Could I stay sober tomorrow too? How would I do it? And what would I do when I failed? Slowly, I found strategies for getting through today without a drink. For me, it was often one hour at a time. I’d give myself permission to have that drink … in an hour. Then I’d get busy with some task. Before I knew it, a few hours had passed. I’d give myself permission again to have a drink … in an hour. This way, I managed to string days together and stay sober. I had the cleanest oven in Northern Virginia!

As time passed, as I did the steps and worked with my sponsor, as I attended meetings every day, I began to learn that this approach worked for life too. All I had to do was get through this one day without freaking out. I began to ask in my morning prayer that HP get me through this day without a drink OR an emotional meltdown. I could always thank him for keeping me from drinking, but often, I had to ignore the emotional meltdown part in my bedtime prayer.

Early sobriety is so hard emotionally. I drank to become numb to my emotions, which were usually dark, angry, resentful, hurt. I would go on ’emotional drunks’ every couple of months. They’d last for about two weeks before I was finally exhausted and willing to let go and let God. Little by little, I began to trust my HP’s solutions rather than try to force my own. Things got better. Life got easier when all I focused on was this one day. I learned that Just for Today worked as well for life as it did for not drinking.

Over time, living Just for Today has become more important. I find that when I can stay in this one day, life is pretty easy. Problems may arise, but it will be ok. All I have to do is let my HP handle it and go about my business. The impact of my emotions is not nearly so severe as it once was. I can actually handle them – mostly by giving them to God. I don’t have to solve everything now. I can make plans, but they are always subject to revision, depending on what is going on in the omnipresent today.

It took a LOT of practice – a lot of trial and error – to get to the point where Just for Today is my Number One tool for sobriety and for life. There were many times when it seemed impossible. But I have figured something out …

Today is literally all there is. It is the only time I can make the choice not to drink. It is the only day I can nurture friendships or apply one of the program’s tools. Most important, it is the only day I can experience the rich relationship I have with my Higher Power. Today is truly the only day that exists. Living in that space is both comfortable and rewarding.

My suggestion for the topic is Just for Today. Are you struggling with living in this one day? What are or have been your challenges? And how has this approach changed you and your life? Of course, please feel free to share on anything you need to talk about.