For those of you who don’t know, my brother is a recovering Heroin addict. Back in February, right before my brother was supposed to go into long-term treatment for the first time, I came home to visit and went to a Narcotics Anonymous meeting with him. The one thing I distinctly remember from that meeting was the phrase “just for today.” It was used at the end of the daily meditation and said at the end of the group meeting in unison.
The first time I heard this phrase, I was kind of upset because I didn’t want my brother to just be clean for that day, I wanted him to be clean for life. When my mom and I went down to Florida to visit him in long-term treatment, I was able to gain a better understanding of what exactly the phrase meant. When we were there, we were able to actually experience large parts of the program that my brother had gone through. We went to a group meeting, a gender group meeting, and my brother’s primary group, where we specifically did family work. We were also able to meet with just my brother and his counselor, in which some things were explained in more detail to us.
Something very important to know about the life of an addict is that it is so difficult to stay clean. There are specific drugs that are much harder to break out of an addiction to because of how powerful they are, and there is also something different about the brain of an addict; certain people are actually more prone to becoming addicts because their brain is wired differently. Because of this, addiction can be classified as a mental illness.
And I believe this is why it’s so important to take it one step at a time, to declare that you will be clean “just for today.” Imagine that you were in a car accident and had to have half of your right leg amputated above the knee because of the injuries endured. During your recovery, you would have to take it day by day to relearn how to walk with that leg. In this situation, you would literally have to take your progress step by step. Think about how you would feel if you thought about your recovery process as a whole.
Would you feel overwhelmed? Defeated? Hopeless?
I think I would feel some of those things if I were in that person’s shoes. I have to relearn how to use my right leg? But I did that so long ago! What if I’m not able to ever use it again? How long did it take for me to first learn how to walk? I don’t think I could ever do that again.
I am imagining something similar happens in the mind of an addict. Although I am not an addict, I do have addictive tendencies, and have learned that I am addicted to self-hate. It is really difficult for me to break out of this habit because I have mentally lived in such a way for so long. I will often convince myself that I can’t do it, or that I’m no good. Because of experiences I have had in the past, I tend to lack confidence and a belief in myself. For me, the first step to recovery is taking things day by day and making goals for myself. Here is an example of an excerpt from a Narcotics Anonymous daily meditation:
“Just for Today: The guidance I need to become a new person is ready at hand. Today, I will draw further away from my old and closer to my Higher Power.”
For me, this phrase would look different because my situation is different. Something I might say to myself would be, “just for today, I am going to meditate on this bible verse about how worthy I am and believe it to be true about myself.” I even need to do this with daily tasks I have trouble maintaining the discipline to complete.
My brother has relapsed three times since he began his recovery process. He has failed, and it has been really difficult for our family. Of course we don’t want him to be clean “just for today,” but that is how his recovery process works. He is going to fail, which is scary given the power that heroin can have over people, but this is part of his process. The only thing we can do now is pray that the Lord has got him through everything, and pray really hard at that.
My question for you is, what is your addiction? None of us are immune to this. It takes a humble person to accept this reality, of which I am not exempt from. Try taking things step by step, “just for today.”
"Humble yourselves, therefore, under God's mighty hand, that he may lift you up in due time."- 1 Peter 5:6
For the full version of today's Narcotics Anonymous meditation, follow this link here