One Day at a Time: Using Attention to the Present Moment to Sustain Recovery

Jun 1, 2023

People in recovery face a unique set of challenges that can be overwhelming and potentially jeopardize their progress. Finding jobs, balancing budgets, dealing with childcare issues, and any other number of life challenges can be stressful. Sometimes it can be very easy for people in recovery to feel like the mountain ahead is too big to climb. Life stressors can easily become problems for continued recovery; in fact, stress can encourage relapse. There is a famous recovery slogan that aligns with the clinical approaches used at Wise Path Recovery Centers. The saying is to take things, “one day at a time”.

The Benefits of One Day at a Time

The benefit of taking things one day at a time is we are encouraged not to worry about climbing the entire mountain of recovery all at once. We just need to take another step forward. Rather than stress out and worry about fixing all the issues in our lives in a short period of time, we can focus our attention on taking smaller and more achievable steps toward the lives in recovery that we desire. This focus on small achievable steps can set people in recovery up for success rather than being overwhelmed.

There are voluminous clinical research studies that back up focusing attention on the here-and-now or the present moment. Counselors at Wise Path Recovery Centers implement techniques that help people in recovery to focus their attention on what is happening right now rather than getting lost in future concerns. This is done through mindfulness techniques such as meditation, breathwork, and other techniques that help people connect with the present. By paying attention to what is happening in the here-and-now, stress can be reduced, and hope can be increased.

Strategies to Stop Future Obsession and Live in the Present

Keeping our minds on what is before us is not as easy as it sounds. Most of us have minds that are geared toward trying to predict the future, plan for potential life circumstances, and mitigate possible future problems. This is what our minds are supposed to do. They are designed to predict, analyze, judge, and evaluate. It’s just that most of what our minds predict will happen does not even happen. So, our well-meaning minds need to be helped to focus on what is actually in front of us, or what is happening today.

It’s not that we don’t need to plan for the future. Clearly we do, and clearly people in recovery need to be concerned about where their lives are heading and what they can do to improve their lives. However, we cannot be ruled by future possibilities. We must be able to plan while living our lives today. A lot of the stress we face in recovery is based on imagined outcomes. Some of which may happen and some of which will not. Regardless, all any of us have power over is our choices that we make right now. So learning this skill of attention to the present moment, where life is lived, is an important focus of the clinical care at Wise Path Recovery Centers.

Here is a grounding technique that can be used to facilitate attention to the present moment.

  1. Take a moment and look around the space you are in right now.
  2. What colors do you see? How big is the space? What do you notice about the space?
  3. What can you touch in the space? Can you feel the ground your feet are resting on?
  4. What do you hear? Is there noise in the background? Maybe birds are singing outside of the window? Take a moment to listen.
  5. You are now living in the present.

Wise Path Recovery Centers recognize the significance of grounding individuals in the present moment. As part of their clinical care, they provide a grounding technique that facilitates present-moment awareness. By engaging the senses and observing the immediate surroundings, individuals can anchor themselves in the present, promoting a greater sense of calm and focus.

The practice of taking things “one day at a time” and directing attention to the present moment is instrumental in supporting individuals in their recovery journey.

By embracing this mindset and utilizing grounding techniques, individuals can effectively navigate life’s challenges, reduce stress, and nurture their ongoing recovery.

Wise Path Recovery Centers are dedicated to providing the necessary tools and strategies to empower individuals to lead fulfilling lives in recovery, one day at a time. Call us today at 866-860-9772.

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