Each Day — a New Beginning

by Kay Sheppard, M.A., LMHC

The concept that each day is a new beginning “cleans the slate” every 24 hours.  What a great idea — to start fresh each day, rather than getting bogged down in old ideas, condemning ourselves for past mistakes and failures, or worse yet, repeating them! The AA book reads, “We held onto our old ideas and the result was nil until we let go absolutely.” We can let go of our self-defeating ideas and replace them with self-enhancing ones. That is a positive new beginning.

This idea of new beginnings is based on the hope that we can grow and change, and that growth takes place in the everlasting “here and now.” One of the first things I heard in recovery rooms was, “The past is a canceled check, the future is a promissory note, the present is ready cash. Spend it well!” Power is in the moment, and what we do with it will create the pattern of our lives.

Another old recovery saying is, “You can’t recover on yesterday’s program.” I can decide to do my recovery “thing” today — or not do it. It is important to know just exactly what my recovery program is going to be today. Some of my options on a daily basis are:
* contact my sponsor,
* attend a meeting,
* exercise,
* write in my journal,
* meditate,
* pray,
* stick to my food plan,
* make phone calls,
* read recovery literature, and
* practice the 12 Steps.

I need to know my best recovery program in order to actually do it. Then I make the selections for my “To Do Today” list. Which recovery behaviors do I need most, right now? Whatever those choices might be, my assignment is to “just do it.”

A good question to ask ourselves each day is, “What Step am I working on today?”  The answer is really based on the outcome of our inventory work — a crucial recovery tool is our daily inventory. The only way to avoid relapse is to take frequent inventories — to identify barriers to recovery and relapse warning signs. The relapse process is part of the recovery process which will, if unchecked, take us back into the disease of addiction. Little daily lapses lead to painful full-blown relapses. Stop them in their tracks with daily inventory to evaluate and correct relapse traps.  Remember — relapse happens in the absence of a pro-active recovery program.

Power is in the here and now. That is where I meet my Higher Power — in the present. The only way for me to practice the presence of God is to be fully conscious in the moment.

“There is one who has all power. That one is God. May you find him now,” reads the Alcoholics Anonymous book. I need to keep finding the God of my understanding, to invite the Power into my life and to raise my consciousness of God’s gifts of peace and serenity. All my new beginnings have been because of God’s grace.

Just for today I will let go of old ideas.
Just for today I will work my program.
Just for today I will take a personal inventory.
Just for today I will correct past errors.
Just for today I will invite God into my life.