Just For Today
Two common struggles I have been hearing in the rooms of AA lately are “why can’t I drink and have fun like normal people?” and “I can’t tolerate staying sober for the rest of my life!” I would guess with the warm weather upon us and barbecues, graduation parties and the like in abundance, this would be the natural thought progression.
Hearing these struggles is very good for me for two reasons. First, it makes me grateful that I am personally not struggling with either of them, at least not for today. But the second reason it is good for me is that it reminds me of when I did feel that way, and the subsequent actions I took because of those feelings, and the horrific consequences I suffered as a result of my actions.
It is so important to remember the negative thoughts that can so easily lead an addict down the path away from recovery; remember them, and think those negative thoughts all the way through to their logical conclusion. Because simply thinking “I wish I could drink like a normal person” can lead to reminiscing about the good times of drinking. And chances are, if you are an addict, the good times, if there really were any at all, were a very long time ago, and the more recent memories, if you choose to recall them, are anything but good. Typically the reality is that those memories are ones that you wish you had never experienced in the first place, and hope to God that everyone around you forgets as well.
Finally, remembering those struggles helps me to sharpen one of the most important tools in my recovery toolbox, namely, re-focusing on the present. If I ever get the blues about never being able to drink again, all I have to do is ask myself this simple question: am I able to abstain from using any mind altering substances… just for today? Invariably, the answer is yes, and there is a profound relief that comes with not worrying about the future. This skill can be applied to almost any problem in life, with the same results, and the peace it brings is absolutely worth the effort.