One Day at a Time vs Never Drinking Again

The thing I seem to hear, read, be told over and over again is: Don’t think about never.  Just tell yourself, you’re not drinking today.  That’s enough, that’s all we can ever do, is decide not to drink today, and decide that over and over again.

I don’t really get this.

If I tell myself I will only not drink today, I’m giving myself tacit permission to drink tomorrow, and hopefully I will make the same good decision tomorrow but if I’m only confronting the reality of one day at a time, then I’m not confronting the actual reality.

The actual reality is that I can never drink again.  Surely it’s more helpful to face that dead on, and do the work that needs doing to make sure that it happens?  Surely if I’m thinking one day at a time, then I’m not trying to put into place the tools to stay sober – why would I?  I might decide to drink tomorrow.

The problem with one day at a time is that the days, right now, are kind of hard.  But I have faith that they won’t always be so; that there is an end point to this tunnel of Getting Sober and that end point is the sunshine-drenched reality of just living.  Just living, without alcohol.  Without thinking about alcohol.  That’s a goal I can work towards.  Forever – that’s a meaningful goal.  One day at a time just means that I’m working towards tomorrow, and that’s not enough.  Perhaps if my drinking was resulting in awful hangovers, black-outs, dangerous behaviour, then the promise of sobriety tomorrow would be enough to make sobriety worth it today.  But it wasn’t.  It was just long term, insidious, damage.  It was dragging me down, stopping me doing the things I wanted to do, not to mention the health issues.  So it had to go.  But today sober is only worth it as a stepping stone to Sober For Good.

It took me ten years to make this decision.  I only want to have to make it once.  Not every day.  Not every night.  Once.


6 thoughts on “One Day at a Time vs Never Drinking Again

  1. This made me giggle. So true, I am a very black and white thinker and I feel acceptance of not drinking again is part of the letting go that will make our recovery successful. I am on day 30 and finding I am now having a little more energy, however finding triggers are more out there as I venture off my couch and away from the safety of blogs, books and bubblehour podcasts

    Love reading your posts, thanks for sharing

  2. Ahhh forever. I cut and pasted the 100 day mantra to a private journal I wrote when I was first spinning. Day One, I believe. I didn’t sign up for the challenge because after 100 days of not drinking I’d feel like I’d accomplished the goal, my last night would be well enough behind me to be rationalized, so I’d be feeling well enough to drink AGAIN. I needed forever. I didn’t wake up that last morning and say, “oh I think I have a problem with binge drinking”. I had been questioning my drinking for years. I woke that final morning and said, “I have a drinking problem that is escalating at I rate I can’t control so never drinking again forever is my only option.” I wrote in a post on my blog about how I think about drinking again. I’ve even thought how I would do it and how would I feel afterwards. But Lily’s post today made me rethink my sobriety which makes me less inclined to think of drinking.

    • Oh my…just realized I’ve been attaching the wrong blog to my M2 moniker. So if you think I’m the oddball person looking to channel the other world, you’d be on the wrong page. I’m just looking to find humor in sobriety and I guess it started with my misconnect with the blogging world.

  3. I’m with you – never, ever again.

    Though I think the reasoning behind one day at a time is more for when people think ahead to events like children’s weddings, Christmas, graduation etc. and wonder how they will cope. One day at a time (for me) means just deal with today. If you can get through today’s cravings you have won today’s battle – and let’s face it, that’s the only battle we can actually fight to win.

    I’m in this for forever and ever and ever – but I deal with each day as it comes.

    I am enjoying your blog – thanks Aussie Lilly 🙂


  4. Hi there,
    Love your blog, and I’m kind of with you on the forever issue (now).
    I started out for 100 days and made this some weeks ago. I love being sober, but it took me some time to get used to it. Started out the same as you: being sick of myself and my beer/wine gut and of being ashamed -lying and sneaking being a BIG part of this- and always a bit hung over/drunk/looking forward to a drink. Could however not imagine myself not drinking forever, but knew I had to do something. 100 days to begin with worked fine for me. Now am on the way to day 180, and somewhere along the way the idea of forever became less horreble and even very attractive. And the idea of ever drinking again makes me really scared now. It took me almost 25 years to come to the conclusion: I can (don”t want to, yippee) never drink again. But it was the 100 days that really got me going; I was’nt ready for forever yet. Now I am. I think whatever works for you is fine, as long as you stay sober 😉
    Love, Nuchter Maya

  5. Love, love, love your blog and I’m connecting to this post. I’m facing a similar-ish issue. Agreed on the toughness of finding someone to connect to when I need help and talking down. Posted this w/ Belle while I’m on her waiting list. Any insights would be v welcome!
    My 1st time sober (day 16) and I’m struggling a bit with conflicting messages. From my voracious reading of sober blogs, I definitely see that moderation doesn’t work. I love the idea of a sober momentum. But I get frustrated with another line of thought I’ve read about — that those who quit drinking aren’t quitting “forever.” That u just get thru today, that u just give it one more week, one more month, etc. It seems most successful sober people avoid the idea that they are “never drinking again,” but that’s incorrect. It has to be never. It has to be or else we ruin the sober momentum. Can someone help me make peace with these two seemingly conflicting arguments? I don’t want to mess w/ my or anyone else’s sobriety, and if avoiding the “forever sober” label works for folks then it works. But it feels a bit like I’m lying to myself.

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