What Do I Do One Day At a Time?
When we retire at night, we constructively review our day. Were we resentful, selfish, dishonest or afraid? Do we owe an apology? Have we kept something to ourselves which should be discussed with another person at once? Were we kind and loving toward all? What could we have done better? Were we thinking of ourselves most of the time? (Alcoholics Anonymous pg. 86)
In recovery circles, people often throw around the idea of living “one day at a time”. This passage is one of the descriptions of what you do one day at a time and hopefully at some point what you do all of the time. The passage is specifically describing Step 11 and is tied to Step 10, but is way more important than just that. Recovery is not about being able to check twelve boxes that indicate you have completed twelve magic steps and then living happily ever after. Recovery is a process of gaining much more than that:
Rarely have we seen a person fail who has thoroughly followed our path. Those who do not recover are people who cannot or will not completely give themselves to this simple program, usually men and women who are constitutionally incapable of being honest with themselves. There are such unfortunates. They are not at fault; they seem to have been born that way. They are naturally incapable of grasping and developing a manner of living which demands rigorous honesty. (Alcoholics Anonymous pg. 58)
Recovery is not a matter of just doing a bunch of things; recovery is about “grasping and developing a manner of living which demands rigorous honesty.” The things you do in recovery have been designed to guide you to that end.
Working the Steps is designed to help each of us understand and to develop a way of living your life and that way of living is centered on being brutally honest.
The passage we started with gives us a key example of some of the things we are to be brutally honest about and by being brutally honest about these things on a daily basis we are working on making this the way we live our lives.
According to that passage on page 86, we are learning to live a life:
- free of being resentful, selfish, dishonest or afraid
- where whenever you have done any of these things or anything that may have hurt another person you apologize to them
- where you are open and honest with others about even the deepest and darkest areas of your life and you cease to have those secret destructive areas in your life
- where you are kind and loving towards all people
- where you not only live positively, but you are always looking for how you can improve
- where you no longer focus on how comfortable you are or are not and live a truly unselfish life
- where you check on these things in the morning, in the evening and throughout each day to quickly catch when you are messing up in one of these areas and fix the problem immediately.
In other words: RECOVERY IS THE PROCESS OF CHANGE. THE AMOUNT OF RECOVERY YOU EXPERIENCE IS EQUAL TO THE AMOUNT OF POSITIVE CHANGING YOU DO. Areas in your life that you are not willing to change are areas in your life that are keeping you from recovery. UNWILLINGNESS TO CHANGE IS UNWILLINGNESS TO RECOVER. UNWILLINGNESS TO CHANGE IS A DETERMINATION TO STAY THE SAME. If you are determined to stay the same you can only expect the same results. If you stay the same, you will do the same and relapse is inevitable.
Change is an incredibly hard thing to do and few people have the desire to completely change the totality of how they think and act. Most people are willing to change a few particularly bad areas of their lives. Most people just want to change a few isolated areas and somehow live happily ever after somehow getting vastly different results while still living basically the same way they have been.
A key ingredient required for all of this is the “rigorous honesty” that is required for all of these things.
Not only do you need to be brutally honest with yourself about the all of these areas, but you need to regularly talk with others who are brutally honest with you. I don’t mean periodically either. That passage describes discussing these things with these people at once in an effort to gain their outside “rigorous honesty”.
A person who is incapable of this kind of rigorous honesty an particularly those incapable of being brutally honest with themselves are one of those unfortunates that will not experience recovery.
YOU CAN HAVE RECOVERY IF YOU CAN SEARCH FOR, FIND AND ACCEPT THE FACTS THEN DO WHATEVER IT TAKES TO CHANGE ACCORDINGLY.
This describes one of the main struggles of recovery while at the same time describing the facts that are the hope for recovery. Recovery is change and change is hard yet can be achieved.
Think of how all of this is tied to “The Promises” you hear recited at many Twelve Step meetings:
We will lose interest in selfish things and gain interest in our fellows. Self-seeking will slip away. Our whole attitude and outlook upon life will change. Fear of people and of economic insecurity will leave us. We will intuitively know how to handle situations which used to baffle us. We will suddenly realize that God is doing for us what we could not do for ourselves.
Are these extravagant promises? We think not. They are being fulfilled among us – sometimes quickly, sometimes slowly. They will always materialize if we work for them. (Alcoholics Anonymous pg. 84)
The question is not: “Are these things possible?” The question is, are you willing to work for them. That means are you willing to be brutally honest and are you willing to be completely changed in the process?
Make this year, make each day, make each minute, make each interaction, make even each thought an experience of brutal honesty and an opportunity for significant change in your life. Live the new lifestyle “one day at a time” and one rigorously honest change at a time and have a rigorously honest, happy New Year.
Stay sober my friends,
- The New Year’s Change (wadehrecoverynetwork.wordpress.com)
- Holiday Gatherings: Explain or Avoid (wadehrecoverynetwork.wordpress.com)
- Treated as an Alcoholic/Addict or Weirdo During the Holidays (wadehrecoverynetwork.wordpress.com)
- Jan. 9, 2013 – Just for Today (12thstepper.wordpress.com)
- Nov. 10, 2012 – Just for Today (cmmacneil.wordpress.com)
- Honesty: The Measure of Our Success (realtimerecovery.wordpress.com)
- Honesty (marianne365days.wordpress.com)