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You might be familiar with the common phrase, “take it one day at a time.” It’s used frequently to encourage people not to worry about the future; so frequently, in fact, that it was adopted by the Alcoholics Anonymous program.

When used in Alcoholics Anonymous (AA), the term may carry more weight and symbolize the journey to recovery. Many individuals who take steps toward sobriety are taught to tell themselves this phrase every day to avoid getting overwhelmed about the future.


The Purpose of AA (Alcoholics Anonymous)

AA is primarily designed to help people with past or present alcohol addiction issues create a happy, healthy, and sober life for themselves. This program strives to give participants a sense of focus & direction through a series of activities, mantras, meetings, and sessions.

Alcoholics Anonymous programs are available throughout the country every day. In these communities you’ll see people in all different stages of recovery helping each other — some that had a drink yesterday, and some that haven’t had a sip in years. Once people are comfortable with their own stage in recovery, they can begin to assist other participants in fighting their personal battles with alcoholism.

One piece of the AA puzzle is 12-step meetings, which consist of an anonymous group of people telling their stories and learning new productive habits. And in these meetings, they’ve adopted the practice of taking recovery one day at a time.


Taking Sobriety One Day At A Time

According to the philosophy of taking everything “one day at a time,” there is no right time to heal and find peace- instead, today is the time to start building your future.

It’s common for people in recovery to either:

  1. Harp on the past (their experiences, their decisions, their trauma), OR
  2. Think that someday things will change

AA strives to make the “someday” today. It helps people put their principles into action, start enjoying the present, and use their free time thoughtfully. There’s only 24 hours in a day, and it’s up to the individual how they choose to spend it.

This program hopes that through the process, participants will begin handling their issues head-on so that they can find other new coping strategies and hobbies to help them overcome alcohol dependence. It instills certain routines in participants, like making to-do lists, to help their prioritize their time.


Possible Flaws With the “One Day At A Time” Philosophy

While “one day at a time” may work for some people with substance abuse issues, it may not be helpful for all individuals with alcohol issues. Mental health plays a big part in recovery; and if someone isn’t at a certain stage, they can’t be expected to easily adopt the thought of living one day at a time.

For some people, living one day at a time may be more overwhelming. Temptations can come at any day or time, and it’s important for those in recovery to be prepared for that moment. By thinking ahead or imagining a situation during which they might want to drink, the person can gain a deeper understanding of why they want to drink in certain situations to possibly stop themselves from giving in.

To truly beat addiction, people have to understand the underlying causes of certain issues to be able to overcome them. Once you truly understand your addiction and when/where you may feel most tempted, only then will you be able to fully live a life of sobriety.

If you or someone you know is battling an addiction to alcohol, talk to a trusted source or medical professional before exploring treatment options. AA is just one part of the journey to recovery; and while it can be extremely helpful, not every program is for everyone. To learn more about an individual case or how to move forward with addiction recovery, contact our team of professionals by giving us a call at 844-237-5762.