As many of you know, I recently celebrated seven years of sobriety and while it was a time of honoring my commitment, it was also, ironically, a time of questioning it as well. I found myself wondering if I wanted to be sober “forever.” It was a time of serious contemplation and reflection for me, which I indicated on the blog last month that I would share the details of in the coming weeks.
It’s taken me some time to wrap my head around how these thoughts could happen to me of all people. I’m a life and sober coach, ambassador of the sobriety community and I’m advanced in my recovery – I thought these kinds of thoughts were supposed to be off limits to me. But it turns out I’m just like everyone else on a mission.
There are times of doubt. There are times where we consider giving up or throwing it all in. There are times when the devil inside our heads can be rather convincing with his trickery. This holds true outside of sobriety too. Everyone faces doubts and questions if they are on the right path, so this is truly applicable for everyone.
I battled with ideas that perhaps I was just immature before and maybe I could handle myself better now. Maybe I was missing out. Maybe, just maybe, I could moderate now. Maybe this wasn’t the right path for me. And maybe, I should have a drink just to see what it felt like.
It was intense and it was confusing. I grappled with the voice in my head for quite some time before I reached out for support from my sober friends. As I explained to a few of them what was going on, I was quickly reminded that I am not alone when it comes to these kinds of contemplations. I found reassurance that fear of missing out (FOMO) is pretty standard, especially in sobriety, and that almost everyone experiences this at some point.
Do I really think I would pick up a drink? No. It wasn’t as much a matter of me wanting to catch a buzz, get drunk or high or even me yearning for the taste of a drink or a line of cocaine as much as it was this idea of FOREVER and not feeling that I had the option or the freedom to have a drink if I wanted one, even though I didn’t actually want one; if that makes any sense. It was the concepts of “never again,” “forever,” and “life commitment,” that were penetrating deep into my core.
I was feeling the pressure of making a life long commitment all of a sudden. This wasn’t just about me anymore, now it’s also about the Miracles Are Brewing community, my coaching clients and being a leader in the field of recovery. The weight of it all was beginning to cause the beast in my head to convince me that I needed more freedom or that I needed the ability to choose.
I think this happens to everyone at some point. The fear of commitment can be paralyzing sometimes; the commitments we make to ourselves and others, committing to marriage, kids, a career, a diet, breaking a habit or even something short-term such a move or presentation.
Throughout our lives, we are faced with commitments. We feel like we might have to give up a piece of our lives or ourselves in order to make or keep the commitment. While that may be true, usually this is all a function our state of mind. The devil in our head can make us feel like we are losing our freedom, missing out or that there may be something better out there.
I was having all of these thoughts. But what I realized was that I was freer than I’ve ever been. I was no longer controlled by these urges. I witnessed them happening and found out that I could fight through them to remain true to what works best for me and what makes me happy. I feel more connected to my commitment than ever before. In this moment, I got some of the best advice I’ve ever been given and it went like this:
Me: “I feel pressure. Not from people around me. It’s just from myself. Like pressure to be perfect. And to maintain my sobriety forever.”
GAME CHANGER: “You don’t have to do it forever, just for today.”
This advice and conversation forever changed me. What an incredible and powerful affirmation and mantra to incorporate into our daily lives. This tiny sentence and reminder put everything back into perspective for me. It took the pressure off and made my commitment to sobriety something that seemed less daunting and more attainable. Just like that. Just for today.
How often do we catch ourselves future tripping and creating scenarios of the future that haven’t happened nor do we know if they ever will? How often do we talk ourselves out of making a commitment to something or someone because of the noise in our heads? How often to do we let our minds wander into the made up visions of potential what if’s around the future?
Planning for the future is one thing, but worrying about the future is another.
What if we could live and think just for today? I’m going to wake up and choose this, just for today. I’m going to eat healthy, just for today. I’m going to meditate and pray, just for today. I’m going to wake up an hour earlier, just for today. I’m going to focus on this goal or project, just for today. I’m going to hit the gym or my yoga mat, just for today. I’m going to love and commit to my partner wholeheartedly, just for today.
I was diving into this with a coaching client of mine recently as they were facing these same thoughts around the idea of living in sobriety “forever.” As we talked through this exact concept, we were reminded of a powerful bible verse that is so relevant and applicable here:
“Don’t worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will bring it’s own worries. Today’s trouble is enough for today.” Matthew 6:34
We have enough on our plates each day to stay committed to and focused on. If we can begin to stay within the hours of each day, taking the next best steps and making the next best decisions, then we can move into an ability to repeatedly dominate each day. And then tomorrow, we will do it all over again when it comes.
Just for today, let us be mindful of the present moment and let us remember that today is all we have. Yesterday is gone and tomorrow is not yet here. Let’s stay focused on getting through today, just for today.
Life is a series of tiny moments. When we learn to be more present inside each one, each day, we allow ourselves to relish in what we have, right here, right now. By being our best and aligning ourselves to our goals each day, eventually we arrive at tomorrow. Right on time and just how we are supposed to be.
Do your best and be your best, just for today. Make good choices and decisions that support your dreams and goals, just for today. Remember you don’t have to do it forever, just for today. Namaste.