Living In The Present

There is a quote that floats around the rooms that goes like this; “The past is history, the future is a mystery and present is a gift.” Truer words could not have been spoken. When I got into recovery I had a hard time living in the moment and being present. I was so consumed with reliving the past over and over in my mind. I was in pain. And to make matters worse I would have anxiety over projecting what might happen in the future, when in fact it is a mystery. Thankfully, my sponsor was watching me torture myself and suggested that I live in the present, moment by moment that’s why they call it a “gift.” As I started to realize that the present represented that I live life on life’s terms. I was apprehensive at first, then learned to just relax and accept that my higher power was there to assist me through whatever showed up. Today, I have the fortune to living mainly in the present. When I start to think about what the future holds for me I look at as an opportunity for future growth as opposed to anxiety. Additionally, I learned that the past is what it is and I need to hold it dear to my heart as to remember where I’ve been so I can appreciate where I am today, in the present. Recovery lives in the present and holds the promises as a gift for the future. As it says in the promises, …”we will be amazed before we are half way through.” Living in the present allows for the possibility of intimacy to take hold and flourish. Truly a gift of the present.

14 thoughts on “Living In The Present

  1. One of the main ways that my disease tries to attack me is through worry and anxiety. If I dwell on past mistakes or worry about what will happen in the future, it is easy for anxiety to grip me and then I am vulnerable to action out.

    The fact is that there is not one thing I can do to change the past. Worry about past mistakes only makes it harder for me to deal with them. Fear of what will happen in the future is equally non-productive. The anxiety it causes can paralyze me into a state of not working my program, which is my path to serenity. When I worry about the future, I tend to project the worst of all outcomes, which never seem to materialize anyway.

    The only moment I live in, and the only time I can deal with life’s realities is in the present. I was once taught a technique called mindfulness. When worry or anxiety creep up I take slow deep breaths and try to focus my attention inside. If I can stop the chatter of my mind for only a few seconds, it helps to center me. I then remind myself that God and I together can handle anything.

  2. I’ve never been one to look toward the future since I’ve only really lived in the past. I’ve let my past run my life until I was brought to my senses and made to realize the past and my actions were destroying my every fabric… Enter: ADDICTION– Sex and Love Addiction to be exact. When I finally realized I am an addict I started understanding my past and living in today. I’ve only been in recovery a short time But what a joy living in today has brought me. It has brought me a new life to explore. I now look at my wife and kids for what they are… Wonderful Beautiful people whom I love with all my being. I am an addict and I have to fight it everyday but I am building my arsenal each day that I am sober. Living in the present only keeps getting better. I know look toward the future to plan many a wonderful things. I now only look to my past for the learning experience that it was and everyday allowing less and less of my past to run my life. I am sober today thanks to my Higher Power, Fellowship, my sponsor,most of all MY FAMILY!!!!!

  3. I did not get to the meeting this morning so I will post here today. I am grateful that I have this blog as an option for a meeting. I am also grateful to have this blog as a healthy option for use for my laptop. It is a reminder of an outer circle use for my laptop so that I can stay away from my inner circle uses of my laptop.

    Living in the present is a good thing for me to remember right now. I have a habit of wanting to replay things in my head and I need to remember that what is done is done. I also need to remember that what will happen will happen. All I can do is what I can do. I cannot let things get to me. I have made it this far with the help of my higher power and my sponsor and as long as I keep that in mind that is all I need to know. And just like my dog – all I need to care about is right now! And I miss my dog – she is at the day care because I am in Tampa. Good night Lobo.

  4. Living in the present, my present is so full of pain and frustration right now that of course I look to better times of the past or could be good times of the future. But that is my “Catch 22″ because I am not in the present it makes it more unmanageable.

    When I stop and mindfully live in each moment they are not as chaotic. It does not take away from me being an addict, it doesn’t take away from my husband just ‘not getting it’, it does not take away from my son having a disability that is a daily struggle, but what it does is it allows me to be present to all the stimuli coming in and responding appropriately rather than reacting.

    Living in the present is not easy for this addict but if I have any hope of having a happy healthy family filled future it is essential that I have that skill at the CORE of my foundation!!!!!!

  5. In my experience, I find living in the present one of the most challenging aspects within my recovery. Each day I have to remind myself (during prayer and meditation) that “I am safe and my higher power is there to protect me today, just today, not tomorrow or next week or next month.” My mind has a tendency to want to drift into fear about what could happen or what might happen or what might not happen. I realize this is my disease. Essentially, living in the future is similar to preoccupying about acting out and not being able to be in the moment. However, as long as I continue to use the tools of recovery (meetings, prayer, meditation, sponsoring others, working the steps, calling my sponsor), I find that it gets a little easier and easier each day. Thank you, God.

  6. This is the first time I have been on this blog. Its great. My mind has been plagued lately with uncertainty in the future, and past fantasies. Luckily, I have net nanny. I went to go type in something into Google that would have been blocked anyway (this shows you how insane and compulsive my addict is) and instead I typed this web page in. It is so true that the past and the future cause pain in my mind. I liked what was said about mindfulness. At the suggestion of my sponsor I have been listening to the “Power of Now” by Ekhart Tollie and it has been great (however, you have to get over his ridiculous German sounding voice). I really do need to use “mindfulness” as a tool to keep me in the now more often. I dwell in the past and worry about the future and I stall in the present. These stalls add up and once in awhile I CRASH. What is worse is that my therapist told me yesterday that I process pain and grief with sex, sexual fantasy and in general acting out. Of course this gets me no place fast and in general leads to more stalling. I must be more mindful and be in the present more. Not just to stay “clean”, but because it keeps me happier, more balanced, and perhaps closer to God.

  7. It occurs to me that living in the present and letting go are very similar concepts if not the same thing. Letting go for me means not trying to control the future. It may be the immediate future such as thinking of a response during an argument with my wife, which of course means I am not listening or being accepting or being present. Or it may be a distant future such as planning for an event to go just so and when it doesn’t being angry instead of going with the flow or adjusting to present circumstances.

    In recovery I am beginning to learn to be in the present and let go of past “If only” and looking into the future “if I do this, then this will happen”.

  8. Living in the present is easier said than done. I spent much of my life in my time machine transporting myself back to the past and into the future. Recently, I spend half the day fretting about a deposition I would be involved in before it happened. When I had the deposition, it was not as frightening as I had created it in my mind. When I go back in time, I usually re-live the pleasurable parts of my addiction and conveniently forget the pain I caused to myself and my family. I forgot about the consequences of my addiction. I ask my higher power to help me remember the consequences of acting out, so that I might make a better decision when my addiction returns in the present.

  9. Living in the present is easier for me now than it used to be, though I do find myself occasionally escaping mentally through fantasy or remembering past activities that were exciting or pleasurable. The difference for me now is that I am able to avoid re-creating or re-inventing those experiences that were inappropriate, risky, expensive and ultimately damaging.

    The biggest difference for me living in the present is my appreciation for the time I spend with my girlfriend, when we are intimate I am 100% ‘in the moment’, it feels so much better and fulfilling than my time with my ex-wife. I was always looking over my shoulder, feeling guilty, ashamed, fearful of being caught acting out.

    I am also fully ‘in the moment’ with my daughter, I always was, but now as a divorced father my time with my daughter is precious and extremely fulfilling.

    I am grateful for my progress (not perfection) that allows me to live in the present each day, while also remembering my past in order to avoid the same mistakes.

  10. Living in the present. Man am I having a tough time with that one today. I have free time today, totally unaccountable free time. I went and helped out a friend and now I am restless, my mind is wandering…. the what ifs are creeping in my mind.

    I know what if, I know every time I act out I kill a piece of my soul yet here my mind is not being in the present moment. Enjoying the trust my husband is showing and I am having such strong urges to act out. I guess I did the right thing by writing here today. I am back in the present for the moment. Now it is time to pick up that 500lb phone.

  11. The last sentence shared by Dave is a mouthful. Right on. Try beating yourself up (perfectionism) over not being present!

  12. How many of our hours are spent “in the present”? What percentage of them? Where are we when we are NOT in the present?

    It’s interesting that our minds create the life we live. Our minds pick out thoughts of what it thinks reality is. The past, what we call the past, is simply the the incidents, particular memories that the mind has chosen to retain. Why did it retain those particular ones? It is NOT the totality of our past, it is the Readers Digest version. If another editor, or us in another mood, summed up our past, it would or could be completely different. It’s like a movie, a work of fiction created by an author – and after we recognize the author as a crazy person, which we all have in Step 1, how much can we depend on the past?

    How about the future? Again, our fickle mind picks out what to anticipate, fear, or hope for. Is it real? How much better are we at creating the future than we have been at creating our own pasts? Is it true? We KNOW it isn’t! Another fiction!

    The present is where we are, where we exist. The past and future are stories we have created about ourselves, and vehicles for throwing our lives into fantasy and/or turmoil. Concentrate on bad things in the past, or what might happen in the future, simply takes away the beauty, the intricacy, the fabric of our lives. We weave the tapestry of our lives – let’s include the reality of what’s happening now in the making of it by spending more time in the Now.

    Recovery teaches us to live in the NOW, and to recognize that the past and the future don’t exist, or can’t work to help us live our lives in REALITY. I want to live in the present, to accept that gift. I pray that God will give me the courage and insight to live it.

  13. Here’s the paradox I live with every day: The past has brought me to where I am today — good and bad — and is a part of who I am, but it is not ALL that I am. The place I am today — learning to live my life, being present, in the moment — is something that has taken me a lifetime to learn. And that is a gift. I try to keep this in mind when it’s difficult to be present — when I’m challenged by struggles, anger or frustration when things aren’t going well in my life. I try to remember that there was a time when I turned to other ways of coping –unhealthy, dangerous ways. And I’m grateful that, through the program, I have been able to find a new way to cope.

  14. Wow, such wonderful insights. I find myself constantly wanting to hit the reset button and find ways to live and feel better, but then going right back to the acting out issues that have driven me to recovery. I have set out some goals that will start this week and they include personal and professional aspirations. It’s a chance to start anew.

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