Friends

Why Living Life “One Day at a Time” Can Be Good for Us

Many of the sayings used in Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) have moved from nondescript meeting rooms into our mainstream consciousness. These sayings include: “What other people think of you is none of your business,” “If you want what you’ve never had you must do what you’ve never done,” and “The healthy person finds happiness in helping others; thus, for him, unselfishness is selfish.” Possibly the best-known phrase to come from AA, however, is the phrase “one day at a time.” 

In terms of sobriety, “one day at a time” means that all you have to do is be sober today. That’s it. No long-range plans. In terms of changing a long-held habit, like drinking or using drugs, the thought of committing to being sober for the rest of your life can seem overwhelming. So break it down to one day, today. Just remain sober today. One day at a time.

Don’t Regret the Past

All people look back at episodes from their past with regret from time to time. If you have had a problem with drugs or alcohol, you may have a tendency to ruminate and beat yourself up over events that happened in the past, or perhaps actions that you didn’t take in the past. Your actions may have caused pain to the people who loved you. Dwelling on the past may be one of the reasons that you became addicted to drugs or alcohol in the first place, as many people drink or use to keep painful memories at bay. Dwelling on past mistakes can also be a trigger that could cause you to relapse. 

While it is impossible to forget the past, we can choose to not dwell on it. In fact, we can choose to be grateful for the past, even for the painful parts. What we have gone through has strengthened us and shaped us into who we are. When we find ourselves dwelling too much on the past, the phrase “one day at a time” can help to bring us back into the present, into today. We have no control over the past, but we can control our actions today. One day at a time.

Don’t Fear the Future

Thinking about the future can fill us with dread. If we have struggled with addiction or mental health issues, we can become afraid of the future. We might fear that we will start drinking or using again, or that our depression might return. We might be afraid that we will cause emotional distress to someone we love. We start to think about the future in terms of worst-case scenarios. We fear the future because we don’t know what will happen and we cannot control it. Excessive worry about unknowable future events can be a trigger that causes us to drink or use again. Although planning for the future is healthy and can be motivating, we never really know what will happen. As the saying goes, “life is what happens to us while we are making other plans,” so bring your attention back to today. You cannot control everything that happens today, but you can control the actions you take and your reactions to situations. Focus on today. One day at a time.

Additional Benefits of Taking Life One Day at a Time

Making the decision to focus on today instead of the past or the future can be very good for us beyond coping with an addiction to drugs or alcohol. As we learn to take one day at a time, we can also learn to cope with one challenge or problem at a time. At any given moment, most of us have a number of problems staring us in the face. It can seem overwhelming if we try to solve them all at once. Taking on one problem at a time is much easier, and much more effective.

In addition, when we focus on the present, we may find that we enjoy life more. We may notice the sights and sounds that we wouldn’t notice if we were obsessively focused on the past and the future. When we pay attention to the present, we can find more enjoyment in everyday activities, like eating a bowl of strawberries, taking your dog for a walk, or reading a book with a child.

Learning to Live Life One Day at a Time

So how do we learn to live life one day at a time? Part of how we do that is by making a conscious decision to focus on the present. When you notice that you are dwelling on the past or becoming anxious about the future, stop, take a breath, and bring your mind back to the present. You can use the phrase “one day at a time” as a reminder to bring your focus back to the here and now. Bring your attention back to what you are doing and what is happening right now.

Another way you can focus on the present is to shift your attention from your thoughts to your senses. Focus on something that you can see, something that you can hear, something you can touch, something you can taste, and something you can smell. Focusing on your senses will bring you into the present. It is a cliche to say that you need to stop and smell the roses, but sometimes you literally have to stop and smell the roses!

Learning to live in the present is a life skill that will help you in your recovery from drug or alcohol addiction and it is one of the skills that we will teach you at Enlightened Solutions. We are located on New Jersey’s southern shore and we are licensed to treat co-occurring disorders, which means that we can treat mental health issues, like depression, anxiety, or post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), that often accompany addiction. We individualize a treatment plan for each client that comes through our doors and we focus on meeting the needs of the whole person. In addition to traditional psychotherapy and support groups, we offer a range of holistic treatment modalities including art and music therapy, yoga and meditation, acupuncture and chiropractic care, and equine therapy. If you are struggling with addiction to drugs or alcohol, call us at Enlightened Solutions at (833) 801-5483 today.


New Year

How to Keep Your New Year’s Resolution to Quit Drinking

Maybe you have been concerned about your drinking for some time. Maybe you worry that you drink too much or that you drink too often. Maybe you have had an experience that frightened you, like waking up in the morning and realizing that you don’t remember the night before. Whatever your reasons, you have decided to quit drinking for good. Lots of people make New Year’s resolutions, but very few resolutions last until February. Some people do keep their resolutions, but how?  By using some or all of the tips listed below, you will be able to keep your resolution and begin your new life alcohol-free.

Put It in Writing

Write it down. Write down that you are not going to drink alcohol anymore. Think about your “why.” Why did you decide to stop drinking? Was it to lose weight? Do you want to improve your health? Do you want to live a longer and healthier life? Do you want to have more energy to play with your children? Do you want to save money? Whatever your “why,” write it down and visualize your alcohol-free life.

Think About Why You Drink

Spend some time thinking about why you drink. Maybe spend some time writing in a journal to identify the reason or reasons that you drink. Do you drink when you’re bored? Do you drink to have fun with your friends? Are you using alcohol to cope with stress? Are you using alcohol as a way to avoid painful emotions? Many people find it useful to spend some time in therapy when they stop drinking to think about why they are drinking and to address the reasons that are behind the behavior.

Don’t Go It Alone

You don’t have to give up drinking on your own. Tell close friends and family members, at least those who you know will be supportive. You may be surprised at how much support you receive. You may find that someone close to you wants to stop drinking as well and, if that is the case, you can encourage each other on your journeys. Also, many people find it helpful to join a support group, like Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) or SMART Recovery. Both organizations have meetings, free of charge, all over the world.

Learn New Coping Mechanisms

Many people drink as a way of coping with stress or painful life experiences and situations. Alcohol does make you feel better, but it’s only temporary. Many people report that the day after drinking they suffer from “hangxiety”--feeling more anxious after drinking than they did before. Finding new coping mechanisms can help. Meditation and prayer can help to reduce stress, as well as exercise. Exercising 30 minutes a day, three to five times a week can have a wonderful effect on your stress level as well as your blood pressure, your cardiovascular health, and your respiratory system. Some people report that writing in a journal helps to reduce stress and helps them identify solutions to problems that they are facing.

Find Ways to Stay Busy

When you stop drinking, you may find yourself wondering what to do during the time that you used to drink, and it’s important to stay busy. If you used to go to Happy Hour before you went home from work, you may find that that is a great time to attend a meeting of the support group you joined. You may find that going for a nice, long run relaxes you more than a drink ever did.

Decide How You Will Handle Social Situations That Include Alcohol

Although you may decide to avoid social situations that include alcohol, there may be an event that you just can’t get out of--perhaps a work function, a family wedding, or a close friend’s birthday party. Think about what you will say when someone offers you a drink if you feel that you need to say anything beyond “no, thank you.”  “I have an early meeting,” “I have an early flight tomorrow,” or “I’m training for a marathon and my coach doesn’t want me to drink” are all perfectly acceptable. Remember, however, that you don’t owe anyone any explanations.

Think About Treatment

Depending on how much you’ve been drinking and for how long, you may want to go through a treatment program. Many programs begin with a medically supervised detox, which is the safest and most comfortable way to get the alcohol out of your system. In addition, in a treatment program, you will be able to focus your attention on learning the new skills that will get you started on your alcohol-free journey.

If you are ready to say goodbye to alcohol, the staff at Enlightened Solutions are ready to walk with you as you begin your journey of recovery. We are licensed to treat co-occurring mental health disorders that frequently accompany alcohol use disorder, such as anxiety and depression. We offer a range of treatment options, which are tailored to meet the needs of each individual who comes through our doors. The services we offer include traditional talk therapy, both one-on-one and in a group setting, anchored in the 12-Step philosophy. We also offer a number of holistic therapeutic modalities including art and music therapy, yoga, acupuncture, chiropractic adjustments, equine therapy, and horticultural therapy. At Enlightened Solutions, located in New Jersey, our goal is to treat the whole person, not just the addiction. If you are struggling with alcohol or drug abuse and ready to be free, please call us at (833) 801-5483.


11 Changes You Experience When You Stay Sober

In the beginning it can feel as though nothing is going to change. With time, you’ll notice everything about you has changed and it's all changed for the better.

You Manage Your Thoughts And Feelings

You’re no longer ruled by your every whim and whimsy. Depression, anxiety, cravings, and more are manageable to you now because you’ve put in the work to understand your own mind. Through meditation and practicing cognitive behavioral therapy you’ve learned to detach from your thoughts and free yourself from the bondages of your mind.

You Can Give Yourself Credit

Recovery has boosted your sense of self-esteem and self-worth. Today, you are aware of the good things you do and the good things about you. You can look on your life with healthy pride. More importantly, you have a lot of humility in understanding how far you’ve come and how hard you’ve worked to get to where you are today.

You Make Emotional Choices

Therapy and treatment has taught you that it isn’t about what happens to you but how you react to it. Your reactions are completely within your control. Not every day is going to be perfect and thankfully neither are you. When you set your mind to experiencing the day a certain way, you do. You decide what effects you, how much it affects you, and the way in which it does. Emotionally empowered!

You Live In The Present Moment

Anxiety over the future is fleeting and ruminating on the past doesn’t happen as often. Prayer, meditation, and mindfulness are all tools you use to help stay in the present moment- awake, alive, aware, and grateful.

You Have Quality Friends

The people around you are dedicated to something positive in their lives and constantly work to better themselves. Every now and then you find yourself in astonishment as to just how cool your friends are today and how lucky you are to have them. They’re lucky to have you, too!

You Stop To Smell The Roses

Life is full of wonder and awe for you today. You’re able to notice the little things without sweating them and take life for all that it is. After years of darkness, you live fully in the light and you wouldn’t trade it for another drink or drug.

You Have Goals

Staying sober, one day at a time is still your daily goal. Now that you've been in recovery for some time, you’re setting your sights a little higher. Going back to school, traveling, getting a job, advancing your career- you’re setting goals and crushing them.

We know there’s a better life for you waiting on the other side of addiction. Let Enlightened Solutions show you the way. Through holistic healing, clinical treatment, and creative arts, supported by 12 step philosophy, our treatment program will help you heal and change into the amazing person you are. For more information call 833-801-5483 today.