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One Day at a Time

Right now, the slogan “One Day at a Time” is my lifeline.  In the midst of this coronavirus crisis, so much of it can feel overwhelming—the fear, unmanageability, uncertainty. Early in my Al Anon recovery, with my son at the bottom of addiction, I felt all of those things, overwhelmed by it all.  I found “One Day at a Time” so helpful in dealing with the fear, the lack of control, the uncertainty of outcome.  It has been a powerful tool ever since, and it is really helping me in this crisis. If I break the whole overwhelming situation down into one day at a time and focus on living in peace in just that day, instead of projecting outcomes and worrying about what’s out of my control anyway, I keep my serenity. It really does work. As our literature says, “Just for today, I will try to live through this day only, and not tackle all my problems at once. I can do something for twelve hours that would appall me if I felt that I had to keep it up for a lifetime.”

Another lawyer writes:

Living life “one day at a time” is a concept that is literally forced on us by the reality of the sun rising and setting each day. Life as we know it comes in 24-hour installments. There is no way to change this fact. However, human beings are prone to worrying about the future and regretting the past. These tendencies can lead to fear riddled paralysis which renders us less useful to those around us in the here and now. In these trying times, the future is uncertain and unsettling. We can easily spend hours of our day contemplating fearful possibilities regarding our future. In the alternative, we can paralyze ourselves with regret filled analysis of our past actions. Attorneys are especially prone to this. We are asked by our clients to predict case outcomes. We are constantly concerned about deadlines and billable goals. These days we may be worried about mortgage payments and meeting pay roll. Committing to live our days one day at a time does not render these responsibilities meaningless or unimportant. Living our lives one day at a time merely right sizes our life’s responsibilities into manageable increments. We can focus each day on accomplishing attainable goals. This allows us to live in the moment, meet our responsibilities with a clear mind and be useful and present to the people we care about.

Another lawyer reflects:

For most of my adult life, I have approached difficult challenges by breaking them down into more manageable goals.  Whether it was a major work project, a demanding workout, or even just weekend chores, having smaller goals helped me chip away until I reached the larger goal.  I even remember pushing through military basic training thinking “If I can just make it to the next meal, then I’ll be ok.”  Later in life, I came into the recovery world and was reminded of this notion in the phrase “one day at a time.”  That’s all I have to worry about—today—nothing more.  I just need to get through today.  While I don’t ignore the future, I don’t obsess on it either.  If I just stay focused on getting through today, I have a manageable goal without becoming overwhelmed by the uncertainty of what tomorrow and the future hold.  In these challenging times, just as with other challenges in my past, I focus on today.  So far, it has brought me an incredible amount of relief from the stress and anxiety that might otherwise take hold and allowed me to just make the most of today.