When you first get sober, you may hear people at 12-step meetings talk about living in the present. But, what does it mean to live in the present? How can you be mindful of your present while still working towards the future?
Is Anxiety Or Worry Holding You Back?
Do you struggle with thoughts of the past or anxiety about the future? It’s normal to have these thoughts every once in a while. Life can be chaotic and hard to predict. However, COVID-19 changed the world, and humans, collectively, are learning to live new ideas of “normal.” In recovery, you too will struggle to find a path. That’s normal! However, anxiety or guilt are overwhelming feelings that interfere with healing for many people.
Living in the present can help you cope with these feelings and feel more positive about your future. After all, today, you are sober, and you are taking on new challenges! Just for today, your recovery comes first. Living in the present doesn’t mean giving up goals; it means taking your sobriety a day at a time.
Staying in the Present
You may find it challenging to stay in the present. After all, when you lived with active addiction, you probably lived a fast-paced life. The pursuit of your drug of choice was both a short and long-term goal. There is a lot of obsession and compulsion that can come with addiction.
How can you learn to focus on the present? Here are some things you can try:
- Go for a walk on the beach or down a quiet street alone, without looking at your phone or texting. (Put it in your pocket on mute.) As you walk, make a list in your mind of five things you hear, five things you see, what you feel and what you smell. Concentrate on these things as you walk, and try to remember them when you get home.
- Mindfulness is one method that people in recovery may turn to stay focused and centered. There are many websites and videos out there available to learn mindfulness techniques.
- Celebrate the small things! Every day in life, there are things to celebrate. Savor your favorite sandwich; enjoy your 15 minutes alone with your favorite playlist. Enjoy these moments.
- Cook a meal every week. We appreciate and savor our food more when we know how much work goes into it. So, why not create a meal you love and share it with your housemates. As you eat, take time to notice the spices or other ingredients you put into the meal. Stay present during the meal by engaging with your guests.
- Practice active listening when you’re having a conversation. Ask questions, and re-state what you have heard to show you understand what the other person means. (You can find videos about active listening on websites like Youtube.)
- Wear a rubber band around your wrist. When you think about your past life or negativity, snap the band. Now try mindfulness exercises or listen to music to re-ground yourself in the present.
Getting Help for Addiction
If you or somebody you love struggles with substance use, help is available! People from all walks of life struggle with drugs or alcohol. Recovery is possible! We’re here to answer any questions about detox and treatment. Give us a call to learn about our programs at 619-363-4767.