“One Day At a Time” used to be the way I got through the week, hand over hand, from one drunken stupor to hangover to the next. I would cry in the shower, twisting the true intention of the phrase to fit my need for inebriation. “Just let me get away with using for one more day.” The Christy Lane song would run through my head- singing it while knowing that I was contorting it. Little did I know that this would eventually become my mantra for healing.
While it is said that one should sober up and get clean for oneself rather than another, I was thinking of my kids. It was also the fear of loss of self that put me over the edge – the “loss of self” was wound up in being a mother, and knowing what I was doing to my kids. Having a “phantom mom” was part of my heritage and it was painful. It had formed so much of who I was, was to become and what I was to OVERcome. I wanted to spare my kids.
I read a blog last week that chilled me to the bone. The countdown of pain of a young person growing up in an alcoholic home. My life was not the same as the life of this young man, and I certainly didn’t want this life to become the life of my children. So I got sober. This I did in two steps: I stopped drinking and then I stopped drugs. It was hard, I was not immediately better. I had to seek outside help, I had to change so much in my life and I had to convert my street survival skills to recovery survival skills.
ONE DAY AT A TIME took on new meaning. Rather than living in the future or the past; I had to get through today with todays issue and challenges, with today’s tools and resources and today’s rewards. They did not always match up – the day was too challenging for my skills, the rewards didn’t match the effort or the challenge was too large for the effort I was wiling to make. And then I got better; better in my body, mind and spirit, better at deferring gratification, better at knowing was a reward WAS. I began to heal.
So now ONE DAY AT A TIME feels just right. It is still a challenge; as I do things for the first time, or do things that are uncomfortable I have to re-invigorate my learning of the message. I can become emotionally weary or fatigued, but I have resources and tools to refresh myself.