The Holidays “One Day at a Time”
Now that most of us are relatively sure that December 21, 2012 is not the end of the world, we have to get back to living one day at a time through the holiday season. There are insane occurrences and problems in the news:
There are fiscal cliffs to fall off of, people freaking out and shooting people, children being horribly killed and on and on. The problem we have is that we have to remain clean in spite of anything that is going on.
I wonder how many people who were in recovery and really believed that the twenty-first was the end of the world decided that it was okay to relapse before dying in global destruction. The “one last party before I go” thing since “we’re all going to die anyway.” Now, as we head into December 22, those people are simply people who relapsed over some “insanely trivial excuse”.
As for the rest of us, we still have to make it through the usual chaos of the holidays plus all the added stresses of the economy and all of the things going on around us. Like I said, just like before our supposed end of the world and just like any other time that is not the holiday season, we have to take life “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? Or were we thinking of what we could do for others, of what we could pack into the stream of life? But we must be careful not to drift into worry, remorse or morbid reflection, for that would diminish our usefulness to others. After making our review we ask God’s forgiveness and inquire what corrective measures should be taken. (Alcoholics Anonymous pg. 86)
According to this passage, one key aspect of “living one day at a time” is to re-look each day and honestly look at your actions.
The first thing to notice is the implication that we are all going to mess it all up sometimes. In all of our gathering together, fighting our way through shopping malls, fighting with holiday traffic and so on we still cannot allow ourselves to slide back into stupidity. The problem is that at some point many (if not most) of us will slide back into stupidity.
It is not okay to let this happen, but at times we all fall short. According to this passage we have to catch it as quickly as possible and fix the situation as soon as possible.
In the heat of the moment, many of us will feel justified in whatever crazy action we take and probably will not notice how crazy we are being. The idea is to stop at the end of the day, step out of your current perspective and take a brutally honest look at your actions from the day.
The passage doesn’t stop there, it goes on to instruct us to involve someone else. It implies that the “someone else” is not just anyone however. The passage implies that it is a person of good sense.
I have seen many people pick such accountability partners, mentors, sponsors and various kinds of spiritual guides by looking for the person most likely to go along with whatever crazy trip that you go on without ever telling you you are wrong.
This person (or group of people) needs to be a person that can be brutally honest with you if you are being crazy in the moment and you need to be ready to listen even if you disagree.
That means a daily assessment of if you are being: resentful, selfish, dishonest or afraid in anything. Are you hiding something? Were you kind and loving toward all people? Do you owe someone (an immediate) apology for something? Were you thinking of others or just yourself in all situations?
All of this is really just a part of Step Eleven which is really tied to working your Step Ten:
Continue to watch for selfishness, dishonesty, resentment, and fear. When these crop up, we ask God at once to remove them. We discuss them with someone immediately and make amends quickly if we have harmed anyone. Then we resolutely turn our thoughts to someone we can help. Love and tolerance of others is our code. (Alcoholics Anonymous pg. 84)
The same methods for reviewing the day are what you are supposed to be doing throughout the day. If you do notice yourself drifting off into crazy land, stop right there, stop yourself, talk to whoever you have put in place to reality check your crazy moments and make any amends you need to make right then to whoever you owe them to.
These two things are key to our staying clean and to our staying away from our own self-destructive silliness.
This thought brings us to Step Ten, which suggests we continue to take personal inventory and continue to set right any new mistakes as we go along. We vigorously commenced this way of living as we cleaned up the past. (Alcoholics Anonymous pg. 84)
These things are not just good ideas, they are major parts of the new way of living that is recovery. In harder times (such as the holiday season) we simply work harder at focusing on these key elements of our recoveries.
We each have to have a means for honestly (brutally honestly) taking an inventory of our actions and be willing to fix anything that is discovered to be wrong immediately.
We are not only supposed to do these things, we are supposed to vigorously live this way. The word “vigorously” is defined by Merriam-Webster as:
We don’t just live this way, we force ourselves to live this way energetically.
Living one day at a time is not just about focusing on not drinking/using today. Living one day at a time is about living your life in this whole new way each day. Not only living this way, but assuming there will be challenges and failures and putting measures in place to stop and immediately fix these things when they come up.
We can all live our recovery one day at a time if we first know what that means. Once we know what that means each of us must “vigorously” live this way and even more so during more challenging times.
All of this may seem completely unlike your normal personality, but member: “If you keep doing the same things, you can expect to keep getting the same results.” If you are going to get different results (i.e. recovery) then you are going to have to do different things. The fact that this does not sound like who you are naturally is not necessarily a bad thing. The idea is that there is “way of living” that is “commenced” because it is new to you. You are trying to live a new way of life that is dramatically different than the way you have lived in the past which by nature is uncomfortable.
This is why all of this is carried out “vigorously”. It is uncomfortable to do and at times, you have to force yourself.
The very next paragraph from the passage I just quoted contains what most of us in recovery call “The Promises”.
And we have ceased fighting anything or anyone – even alcohol. For by this time sanity will have returned. We will seldom be interested in liquor. If tempted, we recoil from it as from a hot flame. We react sanely and normally, and we will find that this has happened automatically. We will see that our new attitude toward liquor has been given us without any thought or effort on our part. It just comes! That is the miracle of it. We are not fighting it, neither are we avoiding temptation. We feel as though we had been placed in a position of neutrality – safe and protected. We have not even sworn off. Instead, the problem has been removed. It does not exist for us. We are neither cocky nor are we afraid. That is our experience. That is how we react so long as we keep in fit spiritual condition. (Alcoholics Anonymous pgs. 84 – 85)
This is the “way of living” that brings you to these promises and that can sustain these promises through the holiday season. These are why you would force yourself to do things that are so uncomfortable.
If you do what the passage says will lead to these promises, you will then get the promises. If you live this way one day at a time then you will get the promises one day at a time.
Live this way of living and you will get through the holidays one day at a time. Live this way and you will also find yourself getting through every day one day at a time.
May you have the happy holidays as promised in the promises and…
Stay sober my friends;
- Holiday Gatherings: Explain or Avoid (wadehrecoverynetwork.wordpress.com)
- A Common Sense Approach to Communicating Common Sense (wadehrecoverynetwork.wordpress.com)
- Treated as an Alcoholic/Addict or Weirdo During the Holidays (wadehrecoverynetwork.wordpress.com)
- Truly Letting Go – Starting at the Bottom (wadehrecoverynetwork.wordpress.com)
- The Idiot in My Mirror (wadehrecoverynetwork.wordpress.com)
- Dec. 10, 2012 – Today’s Gift from Hazelden (cmmacneil.wordpress.com)