A mantra for addicts and abusers who are attempting to live amends.
Many addicts were introduced to this phrase upon entering a 12 step program. The addict is taught to look at sobriety one day at a time. This is comforting for the addict, but destructive for the partner.
“One day at a time” mantra, as taught by 12 steps groups, is damaging for partners
‘This mindset teaches an addict to focus on today. It teaches addicts that what they did yesterday doesn’t define today. But what about their partners? The fact the an addict committed to their partner to not use pornography ever again and then broke that promise yesterday defines a lot for the partner. It shatters the partners world, again. It shows the partner that the addict is in the cycle of addiction, not recovery.
Addicts use the “one day at a time” mantra to abuse their partners
When an addict buys into this mantra they have this feeling that today is all that matters. Many have said (or felt) something like this, “Recovery is one day a time, I am not going to worry about yesterday, I am focusing on today.” This is abuse. The partner wants and needs to process the relapse, but the addict refuses. If the partner pushes it the addict with likely talk about how this will bring them into their “shame” and end the conversation. That is abusive.
Why is this abuse?
The addict harms the partner, the partner wants to discuss and acknowledge the harm, the addict refuses and uses 12 step beliefs and the “shame” excuse taught to them by their therapist to cause further harm and injury. This is abuse.
The healthy way to use “one day at a time” as a mantra for living amends
What an addict or abuser did yesterday doesn’t really matter, but not for the reasons taught by 12 step groups. What an abuser did yesterday doesn’t matter because their partner is still injured. The partner will always be injured. An addict cannot make up for what they did. What an addict did yesterday doesn’t matter because 1 day of not using, acting out, cheating, or abusing just means 1 day of not piling on to the existing harm. There is no real achievement in this, it is just neutral.
If you have abused your partner for 2 years, 5, years, 10 years, or more how long will it take before you can say, “I am not an abuser (addict, cheater, etc.)”? The answer: probably never. But just for fun why don’t you stop for 5 years and then you can reconsider.
One day at a time means living everyday like you relapsed yesterday. Not in a fearful way, but in a way of remembrance and gratitude. Let one day at a time bring you closer to the pain of your partner, not further from it. Let one day at a time help you remember that you are just a moment away from abusing, yelling, cheating, or relapsing. That’s how your partner feels. They will feel that for a long time. Let one day at a time be your mantra for livings a life of amends with gratitude for the great gift you have been given. You cannot make up for the harm you have done, but you can live the life you were always meant to live starting today. I can help you, schedule your free session here.