One of our recovery group’s slogans is, “Live one day at a time.” It’s a good slogan to live by for anyone in recovery or not. The idea is not to get too far ahead of ourselves; stay in the moment and leave the future to one’s Higher Power. Along with this slogan I would like to add a bit of an addendum: “Do one thing at a time.”
Those of us in recovery suffer from the disease of “More”.
We wanted more of whatever our addiction consisted of when we were in our disease, and we still want more of everything now. If a little is good, then more should be even better is our logic. It comes as no surprise then, that when we try things, we try them in a huge way. I think it is a recipe for failure.
The floor of gyms and fitness centres are strewn with the remains of lost resolutions and self-promises. How many times have we said to ourselves on January 1st that we are going to join a gym, workout, go on a diet, loose those extra pounds, eat healthier, quit smoking. You know those resolutions we make to become better physically. Or we resolve to meditate daily along with taking walks in nature, reading inspirational literature and eating a vegan diet. There is nothing wrong with all of these things in and of themselves, but those of us with the disease of “More” it spells disaster. Why?
I think it’s because we put all of our eggs in one basket; mentally, all of these resolutions are tied together as one. Should I fail at one of these, say slip up on my diet, then in my mind I have failed at all of them. Or if I miss going to the gym one day then it’s easier to miss another day. My mind says: “Well, you missed going to the gym, you screwed up on that and everything. You may as well eat that eclair now because you’re going to screw up your diet too!” So, downhearted by one small failure, we let all of the other eggs fall out of the hole in our basket instead of stopping and repairing the hole. I am not saying that making several major life changes like this is impossible to do all at once, but I am suggesting that we are putting ourselves at a greater risk failure if we do.
Do one thing, do it well and only then move on.
This is what I have been learning. It takes time for the old habits to die and new ones to replace them. I’ve read in several places that we need to practice a behaviour for at least a month before it becomes a habit. I need to give myself time. I focus on one thing at a time and I have a better chance at success. I believe that is important for those of us with the disease of “More” because we think we can handle it when we’re probably not ready to do so.
It brings to mind a person who was in her second month of recovery. She decided it would be good for her to give up smoking cigarettes too. She asked me to be her ‘quit smoking’ sponsor; if giving up booze and drugs is good then so is smoking. That’s true. However, I recommended that she get through her first six months at least in the program to get herself grounded in recovery before attempting another major change in her life. Unfortunately she was back smoking within 10 days and drinking about a week after that. I can’t say that she would have succeeded in sobriety had she not quit smoking. I don’t know. However, I have seen it happen more than once where people in recovery take on too much at the beginning and make it very difficult for themselves.
One of anything at a time; that’s about all I can handle.
Sobriety has to be my number one priority. As we say in our group, whatever I put ahead of my sobriety will be the second thing I loose. I take my sobriety one day at a time. I’ll share one more metaphor. I like a nice frosted chocolate cake. Hmmm. However, if I shove the whole thing in my mouth at once I will choke. If I eat it one forkful at a time, I can enjoy and savour it.
Take it easy folks. ONE of anything at a time is about all any of us can handle.
Photo: Barrie Cripps
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