“Yesterday’s the past, tomorrow’s the future, but today is a gift. That’s why it’s called the present.” – Bil Keane, American cartoonist (1922-2011)
When thinking about today, what is the first thing that comes to mind? Is it how many tasks we have on our to-do list? Is it dread of getting started on a particularly difficult or time-consuming project? Is it that we’re already exhausted and we can’t find the energy to continue? Or is it excitement at the prospect of discovering something new, meeting new people and possibly making friends, gaining more experience or skill that we can use to our advantage in honing our recovery toolkit?
See, there are two ways to look at the present. We can regard it with suspicion, apprehension, doubt and distaste or we can embrace it with eagerness and excitement and a willingness to learn and grow.
Today has nothing to do with the past. That’s over and done with. Granted we may have some lingering effects from what happened during our addiction then. It’s also true that we will have to acknowledge the harm we’ve caused others and begin to make amends for our past actions. But we are not defined by the past – only the present.
We choose how we want to be by our actions. And those actions take place in the present.
The future is something that everyone in recovery has to learn how to deal with. It’s more of a concept than anything else. Keep in mind that concepts can be changed, reshaped, revised and reordered. What happens tomorrow will also be the product or result of actions we take today.
Again, it all comes back to today.
How can we make the best use of today so that we’re not obsessed about the past or agonizing over the future? It does take some doing and a certain amount of patience, but it is definitely something that we’ll get better at over time.
When looking at today, resolve to:
- Make learning the goal, not number of tasks completed.
- Strive to find the fun in living in the moment, instead of anticipating problems or worrying about not getting finished.
- Enlist a friend, family member or support network ally to make the action or task a collaborative and more enjoyable effort.
- Do the very best we can and be satisfied that we’ve given the action/project/task our all.
- Prioritize today’s tasks so that we tackle what we deem most immediate and important first, or, alternatively, work on some short-term and quickly completed tasks first and then dive into the most important one on our list.
- Take some time out to have fun, to read a book, take a walk outside, visit with friends, meditate or garden or engage in a hobby or other pleasurable pursuit.
- At the end of today, be grateful for all the good things that have happened to us, be thankful for our sobriety and the opportunity to live yet another day in recovery.
By taking these steps we can boost our appreciation of and increase our awareness of the present. Above all, learn how to recognize that today is really a gift that we enjoy. Let’s make the most of this delightful and rewarding present.