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October 08 • Now & Then

Day 822

Living one day at a time in recovery is certainly not a new concept. I've written in my journal about that several times, and it is, in fact, a core principle of any addiction recovery. But from time to time, I hear it expressed differently, and it encourages me never to let this become a catch-phrase that loses weight with time and lack of attention.

It still sounds awful when I admit to myself and others that I am a sex addict and that I do not have the power to remain sober. I am a sex addict, and I will be for the rest of my foreseeable life. That's just depressing.

But there are other sides to that quandary.

A new reality that staggers my self-image is the people I now associate with; most of them are sex addicts, alcoholics, gamblers, and druggies. And here's the kicker: A lot of these folks are better people in their hearts than most of the folks I've encountered over the years in casual church settings. Nearly all of them are committed to a process of recovery, and a quality of living that is more than non-addicts can imagine. There is something special about the humility of a broken man or woman who is too well aware of their limitations. They know how long is the road and how fragile is the light. And they keep getting up every day trying to be more available to God's nudges and their friends' needs than they were the day before. I am proud to know these folks, and I always look forward to being with them. It would be an honor if anyone ever viewed me in the same light, but that is no longer something I pursue; I'm just happy to have a chance at sobriety, largely due to the people I now call friends.

Another new reality is this: I do not have to stay sober for the rest of my life in order to stay sober for the rest of my life. That seems so much less intimidating and so much more doable than wondering how much longer it will be until I fail into a relapse that could take my life.

All I have to do to stay sober tomorrow is to stay sober right now, right this moment. I face dozens of obvious and less obvious decisions every day that will impact my tomorrow, and some of them have the power to trigger my addict. All I have to do today is work my program, watch out for those moments right in front of me, and then deal with them. Even that will be an imperfect practice — and impossible without a daily surrender to my Higher Power — but my goodness, not having the pressure of having to be perfect forever is a tremendous blessing that I never knew was either good or possible.

All I can do right now is all I can do for tomorrow. And I seem to be the only one I can do it for. I can't fix anyone else any more than they can fix me.

I wonder how much different my life would be today if I'd learned that lesson a few decades ago. But it's just a passing thought; worrying about those past regrets is even less productive than worrying about the ones I've not yet experienced.




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