My Trick for Living One Day at a Time

dailyI have often found it difficult to accept and fully grasp the whole “one day at a time” thing. I “get” it; but sometimes it feels like a punishment to not be able to live and dream and plan my future experiences. Also, if I’d say, “I have 100 days!” or “5 years!”  —My best friends in the program would respond with, “You have just TODAY.”  It always felt like a buzz-killer. I’m thinking, “Why do you want to crush my spirit?”  Let me be excited!

Or,  “I want to be sober for the rest of my life!” And friends remind me that I don’t know if I will drink again so focus on not drinking just TODAY.

But I figured out that they are right. Today is all I have.  Tomorrow is never promised and yesterday is gone.  God wants us to live this way. Every morning, He gives us a fresh slate. Whatever happened yesterday is wiped away and we get to begin again.  Early morning is my favorite time to connect with God and “hang out” with Him. I journal, read my daily prayers, sit there and think of all the things I’m grateful for, most importantly SOBRIETY. Without sobriety, none of all the other things I’m grateful for would be possible!

God knows that JOY is only found in the present. He wants us to experience joy; so He wants us to live in today.  AA was wise to grasp onto this as it relates to not drinking “just for today.” But even beyond that, beyond not drinking today (especially when that doesn’t seem that difficult to do) what about the rest of my life? It’s important I live the rest of my life just for today, too.

I wanted to share a quick trick I use when I’m finding it difficult to stay in the day, in the present.  I use this little trick a lot, actually… with the AA prayers and my other prayers—-I change them up a bit:

God, grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change today, the courage today to change the things I can, and the wisdom today to know the difference.

Just by consciously adding the word “today” to each line, it helps me.  When I think about ALL the things I cannot change in my life, it’s a little overwhelming…that’s a lot to think about! But, if I just focus on and think about the things I cannot change TODAY (whether or not our house will sell, what my employee will think when I let him know I can’t give him a raise, whether any checks come in from clients, etc…) then it’s more manageable for me in my brain.third step prayer

1. I admit I am powerless over alcohol TODAY, that my life is unmanageable (without God’s help) TODAY.
2. Came to believe that a power greater than myself would restore me to sanity today.
3. Turned my will and my life over to God, today.
4. Made an inventory of my day at the end of the day, on the things I did or didn’t do –  today.
5. Admitted to God, to myself — an another person – the nature of the wrongs I did today.
6. Became entirely ready to have God remove all these defects of character today.
7. Humbly asked him to do so, today.
8. Made a list of people I have harmed today, and became willing to make amends to them, today.
9. Made direct amends today to those people, today.
10. (same as 4 thru 9) Took personal inventory today and when I am wrong today, promptly admit it.
11. Seek through prayer and meditation today for God’s will for me TODAY and the power to carry that out today.
12. After having had a spiritual awakening as the result of these steps, I will try to practice these principles in all of my affairs today.

And I also do this with the Third Step Prayer:

God, I offer myself to you today, to build with me and do with me as Thou will today. Relieve me today of the bondage of self and take away my difficulties today so that victory of them may bear witness to those I would help today of your power your love and your way of life.

Have a great day, y’all!

10 thoughts on “My Trick for Living One Day at a Time

  1. Thanks. I love how we endeavor to live these principles in our daily lives, and in doing so tweet them to reflect our experience. It is like a garden, each plant is both unique and common. I was at a meeting last week and heard this adaptation of the serenity prayer, which I love: God, grant me the serenity to accept people, who I cannot change, the courage to change those things in me that I can, and the willingness to know the difference.

    Wisdom does come from willingness does it not?

  2. Interesting take – I have been taught I live in today, but can always plan because if not how do I say yes to a service commitment? I also do believe that time matters. Those who have walked this path before me have a wealth of experience that I can avail myself of simply because they have stayed sober, one day at a time, years longer than me. That being said, I like your reminder that today is the most important day – how do I express my gratitude to Jesus and His Church today? By staying sober and living the principles…just for today!

  3. thank you for this post – while I have been taught that time does, indeed, matter (it was pointed out to me that many people in our fellowship who shout ‘you just have today!’ when someone shares that they have 100 days today do not have 100 days if you add their days all together) I also think it is important to remain in gratitude just for today. I do get to plan. After all, if I don’t plan in my sobriety how can I take on a service commitment? What I was taught by those longtimers is to plan away, but be willing to put the plans and the results into the Hands of my Creator. Thank you for your wonderful blog! Mine can be found at

  4. Thank you for the wisdom you’ve shared. I would appreciate your opinion about my situation. I am a Catholic woman. My husband is an alcoholic, not Catholic and does not practice any religion. He was diagnosed with cirrhosis about 18 months ago. For nearly a year, he was sober and then started drinking again. Despite multiple promises to stop drinking, he has not. In fact, he refuses to recognize his drinking as a major problem (for his life, our marriage and our family) and refuses to get help.

    I will not divorce my husband; yet, I wonder if kicking him out of the house for short time is what is needed. This would be difficult for us financially. My husband has not worked for nearly seven years, and late last year I was laid off from my well-paying job. Still, I wonder if getting to leave will force him face his addiction; recognize that he is risking his life, happiness in our marriage, and a relationship with his son; and motivate him to get help.

    I want to do what God expects of me, and I’m not sure if that means tolerating the drinking or forcing him to leave.

    I welcome your thoughts or anyone who is readin this.

    • oh roxanne. my heart aches for you. i have caused similar feelings in my loved ones. my honest advice is there is nothing, absolutely nothing you can do to get him to stop drinking. nothing. it must come from him and from within him and no emotional appeal can bring that out of an alcoholic. he may die. if he had/has cirrhosis then he most likely will die. i’m not one to recommend divorce. i am separated right now and feel this separation will be a better environment for me to be able to stay sober. but there are no guarantees. making him leave won’t guarantee. the only reason to make him leave is if you want him to leave for good. otherwise, take care of yourself, your SPIRIT mostly. Stay close to God. Pray for him and your situation. Take care of you. love him. but you really can’t help him. i know that’s the most disheartening thing to hear, but it’s true, I’m sorry. Pray he meets the right men that will reach him. Pray he heals. And take good, sweet, gentle care of your own spirit. XO

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