What "One Day At A Time" Really Means
Living one day-at-a-time is not like telling the Yetzer Hara to come back tomorrow. That eitza isn't realistic for most addicts I know. It tends to make the whole thing a waiting game, and the "pressure just builds up", as they say. Never worked for me.
The idea that it's about realism, is much more the way I see it. Practically, that means some things we tend to like, while - if we really take it seriously - it also means some things we don't really like that much. But consistency = honesty, right?
- No asking for Hashem to keep me sober this week, year (even on R"H), or just "in general" - it's always for today and only for today. Just cuz other people can daven for the year or week, doesn't mean I can.
- Worrying about "what will be with" me/my kids/whatever, in the future is a negation of living one day at a time - I can't afford to do it much. I need to find and use tools to let go of my emotional load from the future - while not being a moron about it, of course. That takes learning simple trust of Hashem, not much else.
- Focusing on what's really going on today is what it's all about. Before recovery, the only thing that made "today" bearable was the fact that I had a rendezvous with some lust adventure planned tomorrow, or living in the euphoric recall of the schmutz I watched yesterday. How the heck are we supposed to ever live right if it's never actually today in our hearts?!
- Remembering that today is OK. It's the best Hashem has to offer for me, if I make the best of it.
It's more of an attitude than an action, but requires actions like mantras or affirmations of the above, repeated a few times per day, and trying to reduce the actions and thoughts that contradict it in the way we live. When a lust opportunity presents itself, it is time for surrender of the opportunity by bringing it into the light and sharing it with a friend, explicitly admitting the truth to Hashem about intentions and doing our best to give the struggle up to Him right then, and not worrying about what will be tomorrow - and not dwelling on our hypocrisy based on our stupid behavior from yesterday. All that stuff is shtuyot. As realistic, honest, and sensible as it may seem at the time, living one day-at-a-time demands surrender to Hashem right now, I guess.
Of course, "living it" is all that really matters, not "figuring it all out". In fact, the only way I have anything to share about this at all is from living it a bit. Nothing I wrote above was what I had 'figured out' about it before recovery. I threw all that in the trash with every other well-intentioned hashkofa/advice that didn't work for me at all.