skip to Main Content

How To Live One Day at a Time in Addiction Recovery

The recovery from addiction requires strength, perseverance, positivity, resilience, and a treatment plan that’s personalized to fit your needs and goals. A common saying in Alcoholic’s Anonymous is “one day at a time” which is a mantra especially helpful to those in addiction recovery who are overwhelmed by the thought of never having another drink or using another drug again, for the rest of their lives.

Addiction Treatment

Through out addiction treatment, guests will learn their triggers, how to ask for what they need, how to build a sober support network, what kind of support works best for them, how to set and achieve goals, how to cope, and how to live one day at a time, among many other things. Living one day at a time is a helpful mantra for those in addiction recovery for a variety of reasons, including: getting through cravings, any stressful moments, dealing with triggers, and making the notion of lifetime sobriety less overwhelming. In addiction treatment, guests learn a variety of skills and tools that allow them to rebuild lives rooted in health, happiness, and meaning. Focusing on each moment through out the day will help you get passed any obstacles by allowing yourself to recognize, understand, and move on from any struggle— without having to turn to drugs or alcohol.

Addiction Recovery

People in recovery often find themselves focused on and overwhelmed by the idea that they will never drink or use drugs again, which causes them to regress. Living one day at a time is a mantra that promotes staying mindful— or being present in the moment. It’s important in addiction recovery to set goals, but also to stay in the moment you are in. Recovery, especially early recovery in a drug rehab setting, should be focused on staying sober and how to maintain sobriety; sometimes, this is achieved by living moment-by-moment.
Staying present may be challenging through out your recovery process; as people, we are always focused on the next thing or something from our past, this is why it’s important to know how to live one day at a time in addiction recovery. Rehabilitation of the mind, body, and spirit need focused effort, and thriving in recovery is really taking the time to improve what you’re doing now so that it will benefit you in the future. Living one day at a time is one way to stop worrying, and it’s also helpful in bringing you a sense of control and strength. For example, it’s overwhelming to say that you will do the next right thing for the rest of your life, but when you break that notion down to doing the next right thing for one day at a time, it’s more digestible and realistic to believe that you will be in control over your positive decision-making. Living one day at a time doesn’t mean you never set long-term goals, it just means that you are more focused on bettering each moment of your life, on a daily basis. Here are a few ways to live one day at a time in recovery:

  • Practice Mindfulness
  • Mindfulness is the practice of being wholly a part of the moment, or staying present. To stay fully present in times where your mind may wander, try to make a mental list of how each of your senses are being stimulated in that moment. What can you hear/taste/touch/smell/see?

  • Make a Daily Goal
  • Goals give us motivation, and guidance as something we want to work towards. Making a small, achievable daily goal will build your self-esteem while giving you the satisfaction of achievement. Try setting a daily goal as identifying one thing you want to actively work on for that day, for example you may set the goal of being a better listener— which you work towards by counting fifteen seconds after a person is done speaking, before you give feedback or accept feedback.

  • Read a Daily Meditation
  • We suggest a daily morning meditation, like the readings you can find in 12 step program of recovery books like the “Just for Today Daily Reflections.” Our suggestion is reading a daily reading in the morning, before your routine morning meditation. The reading and quiet time will set your day up for positivity, hope, and health. You can find an archive of the Daily Reflections by date at the Just For Today Meditations website, here is a post for today’s date. These daily meditations are a free resource to those in recovery, and provide daily readings from a variety of recovery literature that will help you consider and focus on an idea or emotion for the day ahead.

  • Meditate
  • Meditation is extremely beneficial to your mental, physical and spiritual health. Recovery is all about bettering yourself, replacing bad habits with healthy ones, and practicing skills and tools that will keep you in a positive state of mind— no matter what is going on inside or outside of yourself. We recommend building meditation into your daily routine during and after any rehabilitation program in a drug rehab center. Meditation is an active practice of mindfulness.

  • Journaling
  • Journaling through out the day will help you stay focused on the day, and allow for you to recognize the change, blessings, and learnings from one day’s time. Journaling is an extremely helpful skill for introspective reflection also, and gives you the opportunity to gain insight from your day without you having to focus on your past or future. Journaling your thoughts, feelings, and ideas as they present themselves during your day will cause you to stay focused on what is happening during this day.

  • Make a List of Your “Commandments”
  • Write a list of your most important values, morals, and rules to live by. These “commandments” will help guide you in your day-to-day living. Having a reference tool will keep you better focused on improving each moment to your standards, while staying aligned with your personal values and non-negotiable points.

  • Break Apart Any Problems
  • One tip to successfully living in the moment, one day at a time, is by prioritizing the problems you face by handling them one step at a time. This means not trying to solve all of your problems all at once, and instead breaking up any challenges and handling them step-by-step to reach a solution that will benefit you now and in the long run.

  • Pray
  • Whether you are religious or not, praying is something that sparks spiritual growth. Choosing to believe in a power greater than yourself is part of the recovery process, and will provide faith and hope in moments that are tough. We believe that no matter what you choose as your higher power, praying to that entity will keep you strongly rooted in spiritual health. Praying will help you stay grounded, and is a powerful tool to get you through any hardship with faith by your side. Choose a higher power and pray often, whether you are praying to God, the universe, mother nature, the sky, etc., it will help you stay strongly rooted in faith that everything will be okay.

  • Make a Plan
  • For moments that you find yourself stuck in the past, or worrying about the future, having a plan to help bring you back to the present moment is key.

  • Practice your Skills
  • Getting through any hardships in the moment will be much easier if you are practicing the skills and tools you have learned from addiction treatment. In our treatment at Royal Life Centers, we use behavioral therapies like cognitive behavioral therapy and dialectical behavioral therapy to bring guests a variety of helpful coping mechanisms and techniques. Instead of letting a challenge be built up in your mind and overwhelm you, practice skills of distress tolerance, emotion regulation, mindfulness, and interpersonal effectiveness to take on challenges as they present themselves to you.

  • Count your Blessings
  • At the end of the day, we recommend creating a gratitude list. A gratitude list is essentially a list of things you are grateful for today— this will not only promote daily reflection, but you will be practicing the spiritual principle of gratitude.

  • Do a Body Scan Frequently
  • A body scan is basically a mindfulness skill that involves you doing a mental scan of how each part of your body is feeling. You do a body scan by mentally going through each part of your body, “scanning” it starting from your head and moving down to your toes. Performing a body scan is especially helpful in recognizing your emotion’s impact on you; if you are experiencing strong emotions, it is important to notice where in your body those emotions feel like they are being held. A body scan is a great and fast way to become more aware of how you are feeling in each moment.

    Live For Today

    You did not overcome your addiction in one day, but you overcame your addiction by taking each day as it came; making positive changes to improve the moment and yourself has lead to long-term positive change. Shifting your focus onto living one day at a time will allow you to grow exponentially as you are working to improve yourself and the moments you experience in each 24 hours you are given. Overcoming an alcohol addiction, substance use disorders, drug addiction, and co-occuring disorders don’t have to overwhelm you, as long as you are working to better yourself one day at a time, you will make positive change for yourself. Staying present and consistently practicing skills and tools that will benefit you now and later, and will allow you to improve your quality of life, mental health, and spiritual growth. Just live one day at a time, and when you take the time to reflect, you will see a great change in the way you live and your overall life in general.
    If you or someone you know is struggling with an addiction, please reach out to us at (877)-RECOVERY or (877)-732-6837. Our team of addiction specialists are available to take your call 24/7. Because We Care.

    Back To Top