The term One Day at a Time is often used by those struggling with some form of addiction, by those with low self-esteem. Regardless whether the compulsion is for cigarettes, alcohol, drugs, gambling, obsessive texting, or chocolate, the focus is on making it through one more day without giving in to the established behaviour.
When first addressing one’s addiction, this is often a Herculean task. Trying to get your head around going without for an entire day seems impossible. The focus may then be on a much shorter time span. During the depression I went through after my son’s suicide, drinking was at the top of my agenda day and night. It seemed impossible to stop.
What about after the major challenge has been dealt with and some sense of normalcy has been accomplished? Should the person continue to focus on One Day at a Time to keep the problem at bay?
I suggest not. My suggestions may seem contrary to those in twelve step programmes but hear me out.
Where your mind goes, energy flows. If you continue to focus on your struggle, your struggle will continue. You might no longer be using whatever you thought the answer to life was while in active addiction, but the victim thinking will continue regardless. It will always be that way until you address your problems of low self-esteem.
Yes, you must remember what the addiction did to you and, yes, you are not impervious to it happening again but, no, you do not have to keep the perceived problem front and centre in your mind.
Your subconscious mind does not understand “DON’T.” If you keep focused on DON’T DRINK, DON’T USE DRUGS, DON’T GAMBLE, DON’T CHEAT, DON’T LIE, DON’T SPEND COUNTLESS HOURS TEXTING, or DON’T EAT CHOCOLATE, your subconscious mind will keep hearing DRINK, USE DRUGS, GAMBLE, CHEAT, LIE, SPEND COUNTLESS HOURS TEXTING, and EAT CHOCOLATE. Your struggle will remain a daily process when it has no need to.
I have counselled countless people with all sorts of problems centering around addictions. Many point to the drug, the drink, or the whatever as their problem. They think that if they could only give that up they could be happy. Most doctors and many treatment centers seem to think that as well. Some think they can teach them to use their drug responsibly so they can fit in with normal society. Until the person can gain enough confidence to improve their self-esteem, that is unlikely to happen.
The drink, the drug or whatever was never the problem; they were simply tools to take the pain of living away. The real issues lie much deeper in the insecurities experienced by the victim. Twelve step programmes and other modalities can be of help there.
• One Day at a Time, for me, is continually focusing on being a better person than I have ever been and on making the world around me a little brighter.
• Challenges for me are opportunities to be learned from.
• Accepting challenges in this light, rather than hiding from them, helps to build self-esteem.
The world opens up all around you when you learn to communicate in a more positive fashion – with others, with yourself and with the God of your understanding. The quality of your life will be determined by it.
Your past will always be there. You can’t change it but you can learn from it. You can’t live in your future either so set aside your fears and anxieties. You can only live now. You are always living now. Set positive, progressive goals for your future and apply yourself today in whatever way you can to bring them into fruition.
Only you can make this happen. One Day at a Time, you can build a better life.
“Everything that happens to you is a reflection of what you believe about yourself. We cannot outperform our level of self-esteem. We cannot draw to ourselves more than we think we are worth.”
― Iyanla Vanzant