I believe that in Recovery, we should definitely have long-term goals etched out in our minds. We should have a rough idea of somewhere we would like to be, somewhere we could see ourselves, something that we would like to accomplish in our lives in the long-term as sober humans.
For me, early Recovery was enough- my only long-term goal was to be at peace.
Vague, I know, but that is all that I envisioned. I wanted that life.
You know, where I would be happy with the simple things- able to enjoy simple days, plans or no plans, excitement or no excitement. I was just tired of chasing the idea contentment. I truly just wanted to ‘be’ …and I wanted to be alright with it.
So you could say that my personal long-term goal was a loose, definitely open for interpretation, and not exactly mapped out with specific routes to get me to ‘that place.’
But I had vision.
Overall, It is important to have some kind of idea of where we want to be in the future, what you are working toward, and who you are striving to be – regardless of how specific it is or not.
In early Recovery we are told to focus on the twenty-four hours that are in front of us, and those hours only.
Why are we told so many times over to live and plan for only one day at a time?
How can living one day at a time be beneficial?
1. At this point, staying sober is priority #1.
You don’t need to get overwhelmed. Early Recovery means fresh emotion. It means emotions will be running high, and emotions that are running inconsistently. It means feelings will come that won’t make any sense, and most we won’t know what to do with. Our minds are playing tricks on us. Our bodies hurt and aren’t understanding this new change. We may have legal or professional issues to handle as well.
It is important to avoid adding any extra, unnecessary or avoidable stress.
Extra stress will make staying sober that much more difficult.
By focusing on staying sober today only, it will feel and look do-able to us.
We can agree and commit to this.
2. We are learning how to value ourselves.
By setting daily goals and striving for small changes
(likely only noticeable to ourselves and God at this point)
we begin to see that we are in fact capable of change; albeit, small change.
We are setting new and attainable standards for ourselves and the way that we are choosing to live our lives. Each day that we take on with intention, we continue to live as this new person.
3. By slowing down, we learn to rely on God throuough each day, moment to moment if need be.
We live one day at a time, and for most, one moment at a time.
We learn to slow down.
We learn to analyze ourselves in our environment.
We take a long hard look at our reactions, how we interact, how we respond to others, how we treat others.
We learn to take the time to pause and take note of these things.
We ask for help from God when we need it and if that means right in the moment, then so be it.
We take the time later in the day to recount to ourselves and God the things that we fell short on that day, and the things that we surprised ourselves with. Sharing our heart with God, sharing the good and the bad of our day with him – will help us to see that we have instant access to God, whenever and wherever we are. We begin to see that he is real, and cares about our individual situation.
5. We begin to appreciate and value hard-work over instant gratification.
We haven’t had many experiences with the fruit that hard work can produce in our lives. Instantly being pacified has been what we prefer for along time.
We got use to having what we want, when we want it, by any means necessary. Having to put in such hard work, waking up determined and focused on the present 24-hours, helps us to see the value of working hard for something. We begin to see why the easiest way is not always the right way, the best way, the most healthy way and certainly– not the most rewarding.
(These are my own opinions based off of my personal experience. This is how I feel I benefited from focusing on today only, and how by doing this, I was able to meet my long-term goal without losing focus and embracing the ‘now.’)
Things will get a little bit easier every single day.
We make mistakes, but we know that tomorrow, we are going to try again for the next 24-hours that we are given.
We can only get so much accomplished in one day.
This is why they say that Recovery is a personal journey. We aren’t racing.
No one’s experience is exactly the same, and we are not in competition with anyone.
We are figuring out who we really are and embracing a new thing.
This is a long-term commitment, with long-term goals and long-term generational benefits.
We will meet our long-term goals by committing to each day with everything that we have.