For this week I have chosen the safe coping strategy:
Focus on now. Do what you can to make today better; don’t get overwhelmed by the past or future.
As an addict, it’s effortless to let yourself get overwhelmed with guilt and shame about the past. It’s like a constant current running through us, it never goes away. But, we must learn to let go of some of those feelings, make amends, and move on. To be proud of the sober individuals we have become. The past cannot be relived and cannot be changed, and it’s best to let it go and start anew.
It is also very easy to be overwhelmed with thoughts about the future. I tend to think (more like worry) about the future. It’s something in AA they call “future-tripping.” There’s a lot of stuff to worry about when it comes to the future. We don’t know what will happen, and the unknown is very scary for most people. As an addict, you wonder, will I relapse? Will I ever be really cured? Will I be tempted? Will I be put in unsafe situations? Will I have to let go of friendships to stay safe?
But there’s a lot more going on in our lives for us to worry about too. Will I ever find a mate/will my mate ever leave me? Will I have children/am I doing a good job of raising my children? Should I change careers? Should we buy/sell a home? What if I get sick or hurt? What if my partner gets sick or hurt? When will my parents die? When will I die?
These are big heavy issues that weigh upon us, and take our minds out of the present. It’s important to remember that we have no control over the future. We cannot mold and shape it into what we want it to be, it simply happens to us. There are no guarantees we will even wake up tomorrow morning, so worrying about what will happen is pointless.
The only thing we need to concern ourselves with is here, now, today. This day, this hour, this moment. Focus on what’s important right now. Focus on the things we can control right now. Focus on making the right decisions now that will help give us the kind of future we want.
Keep putting one foot in front of the other, both literally and figuratively. Choose sobriety for today. Choose to set realistic goals for today. Be the kind of person you’d like to be today. And at the end of the day, celebrate yourself and your accomplishments.
Don’t get upset if you catch yourself mulling over the past or worrying about the future. None of us can really escape this, these are normal human thoughts. But, just remind yourself in those moments of the importance of living for the moment, and that you can’t do a thing right now about the past or future. It will help comfort you to know that you only need to take care of the immediate things in your life, the things that need your attention right now.
Keep making the right choices today for the path you want to go down, and tomorrow will be beautiful and bright.