Living For Today

The concept of “living in the now”, “living in the present” or “living for today” was a constant theme in my early AA meetings, in my rehab program and in life in general. I kept hearing this phrase come at me, like a broken record. I wanted to live for today, it seemed so simple, and people who I thought had really grasped it seemed so serene.

But, try as I might, it was still a foreign concept for me. I’m terrible with regret. Well, not regret exactly, but I look back at certain moments from my past and think about what I could have done differently. Even though that’s totally useless. I do it all the time anyway.

I also do what they refer to in AA as “future tripping.” Where I get so caught up in what’s going to happen tomorrow, a week from now, a year from now, five years from now, that I totally forget to enjoy the moment I’m in.

So, I tried and I tried and I tried to live for today. To be present. To enjoy every moment. But because of my anxiety and worrying, I couldn’t. And then I was anxious and worried about that.

I still have a lot of trouble with this, but I did read something recently that helped me understand the whole thing a lot better, and gave me something to repeat to myself when I find that I can’t concentrate on the moment at hand.

I have an app on my phone from Hazelden that provides me with daily little snippets of advice and encouragement for addicts like me. A few weeks ago, it started with a quote.

“Hope is a good breakfast, but it is a bad supper.”

                                                                                                          –Francis Bacon

The paragraphs following reminded me that, “This day is all we really have to work with.” Again, something I had heard time and again, and mostly understood as a concept. But it was the quote that helped me figure out how to put it into practice. How to start being the kind of person that truly lives for today.

At the end of the meditation, the action item was, “May my supper be my contentment. I’ll breakfast on hope again tomorrow.” It was like a lightbulb went off in my head. Start the day off thinking of your hopes and goals for the day, and end the day content with what you had accomplished.

I was caught up in a cycle of starting my day worried about what would happen in the distant future, and ending my day irritated with myself for all the things I hadn’t accomplished. How can a person ever hope to live in the present if they are constantly bombarding themselves with worries about the past and the future?

And the idea of having hope at the beginning of the day is such an amazing concept to me. Today is the only thing we really have. Yesterday is gone and tomorrow may never come. It’s just today. And in the morning when you first open your eyes, and you realize you’ve been allowed another day here on Earth, that’s when you should have your hopes. When the day is new and fresh and wide open.

But the other part of this equation is key too. The idea that when your day draws to a close, that you will feel contentment. Accomplishment. Serenity. Don’t focus on what you did not do. Or what you are worried about needing to do the next day. Instead think of all that was accomplished on that day. Because we all accomplish at least one thing every day, chances are you accomplished a great number of things. And no accomplishment is too small to be proud of.

Living for today can be easier than you thought, and will certainly benefit your sobriety, healing and recovery.

This is Recovering Motherhood

Welcome to my new project: the Recovering Motherhood blog. Thanks for reading the first of what I hope will be many posts. I’d like to tell you a little bit about myself and my goals for the blog.

I am a woman in my mid-30s. I am wife and a mother to two young children. I live in an urban area. And, I am a recovering alcoholic. At the time this post went live, I was on day 40 of sobriety.

I attend AA meetings. I see a counselor. I recently finished a 30 day residential treatment program (better known as rehab). I have been a blogger for 6 years, and I thought I’d start a new blog to document my experience and my recovery, so that I might pay it forward and help someone else. Ideas for a new blog came to me free-flowing during my stay at rehab, and I’m thrilled to get started.

I’d like this blog to encourage and comfort those who might be struggling with addiction, or know someone else who is. I’d also like it to break down the stigma surrounding addiction, and treatment for addiction, because I want people to seek the help they need. For a long time, I felt too scared, ashamed and guilty to seek treatment. I wish I had done it months, maybe even years, before I did. Without it, my disease of addiction would surely have killed me. I really worry about all the other people out there who are not seeking treatment, and who may not even be aware that they have a problem.

The domain name “Recovering Motherhood” has a double meaning as well. Not only am I a wife and mother in recovery, but I am also recovering my place as a wife and mother in my home, and in society. So much of my time spent drinking had me isolated from my husband and children, and probably in their eyes, disinterested in having them in my life, which simply was not true. I’m clean and clear-headed now, and trying to make up for that lost time. I want other mothers of small children who are battling addiction to know that it’s ok to seek help. People will be less judgmental than you think. Those who truly love you only want to see you well, and will help you in any way they can, including helping you with your motherly duties while you seek treatment.

Recovering Motherhood isn’t just for mothers, or even just for parents. It’s for anyone and everyone who’d like to hear and know more about addiction and recovery. Being a wife and a mother to young children while going through the process is only part of my story, which is why I share it. But with this blog, I plan to focus mainly on my recovery, and the recovery process.

Please feel free to reach out at any time. Email rm [at] recoveringmotherhood [dot] com. Or, comment on any post. Please browse my resources page for places you can anonymously go for help. You don’t have to feel alone anymore, there’s a lot of people out there happy and eager to help.