One Day at a Time

Anyone who is familiar with Alcoholics Anonymous has heard their slogan, “One day at a time…” It encourages a day-by-day approach to sobriety, letting people know that they don’t have to swear off their addiction forever, but to do so day by day until it becomes a habit and a permanent lifestyle change.

What might surprise people in modern times is that the idea is not a new one, but has been around since roughly 350 AD, as written by Saint Gregory of Nyssa, “Let us remember that the life we ought to be interested in is “daily” life. We can, each of us, only call the present time our own… Our Lord tells us to pray for today, and so he prevents us from tormenting ourselves about tomorrow.”

People in every time and every place experience difficulties and challenges. It is easy to turn to drugs, alcohol, or food for comfort; but that solution only leads to further problems: addiction and its consequences. Instead, through AA and the wisdom passed down through time, there are a few steps we can take to help us through the hard times:

– pray for today, like Saint Gregory advised.

– let tomorrow take care of itself. If there is a problem brewing for tomorrow it will still be there when you get there. But you will be better rested and better equipped to take care of it if you have dealt with today in its proper place.

– refuse to get caught up in your own, or other people’s “what if?” thinking and torment.

– draw support from peers and people you trust who understand AA’s slogan, “One day at a time…” and will help you focus on it in your life from day to day.

– don’t become overwhelmed with fears or worries about the future. Focus your thoughts, your prayers, and your energy on dealing only with today and those challenges that are right in front of you.

Ask for guidance and help in dealing with one thing at a time… one day at a time…

 

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Certainty? No worries!

“Certainty is the mother of quiet and repose, and uncertainty the cause of variance and contentions.”    – Edward Coke

One of the most recognizable causes of stress today is worry and uncertainty. When the things we have always taken for granted as being so are proven NOT to be so, it causes deep distress and worry. But worrying has never been reported as changing the future for anyone, so what can be done instead?

The best thing one can do in a world full of uncertainty, is to focus on the things that are certain, like sunrises, changing tides, the seasons, answers to prayer. Also, if you want more certainty in your life, do the right thing repeatedly until it becomes a habit. You can not control outer circumstances or other people and their responses, but you can control your own actions and responses. And continual practice helps turn good behaviors and positive responses into solid habits which will kick in without you having to think about it when things get stressful.

Life is full of uncertainties and surprises, but it works a lot better when we don’t create them ourselves. Stress is a symptom of not dealing well with uncertainty. When we know things work well a certain way, it pays to keep doing things the way we know will work. Certainty is something you build; it’s not a feeling that just happens.

For more posts like this, check out our book, Past Tense. Enjoy!