When I am present in the moment, I am able to enjoy life to the full. I’ll never forget the awful battle that would go on inside my head when the alcoholic would do something to upset me.
My thoughts would get stuck in the past and shift to the fear of the future. In an instant, I could be enjoying my day and then suddenly something would trigger my thoughts to move into the past or the future.
On many occasions, I missed out on the joy of enjoying the moment with my kids or the time I was spending with my alcoholic spouse.
I remember how my daughter was talking to me one day in the car and my mind was obsessing over the alcoholic. I didn’t hear a word she said because of the bombardment of negative thoughts that were racing through my mind. I remember so desperately trying to listen to her, but the chatter in my brain would not allow me to get focused. I looked at her and said; “Honey, I’m sorry. Daddy is thinking about something right now. I am having a hard time listening to you.”
Do you experience moments like that where you cannot get control of your thoughts?
Here are a few things that can help you get back to the present and leave the past and the future out of your thought life.
- Focus on being grateful-This can pull me out of a downward spiral in a second. When I get frustrated with an alcoholic, if I focus on things I appreciate in life instead of how angry I am, my attitude gets better.
- Talk to a friend-When I recognize that I am out in left field, I will often call a friend and talk for a while. Now, I don’t just call anyone. The people that I call are folks who know how to help me get over what I am obsessing over in the moment. These are friends who have been attending alcoholism support group meetings for many years.
- Exercise-This is an incredible way to get over something that is driving me crazy. When I am angry about something, exercise is a great way for me to get rid of the tension.
- Pray-If you are a believer, there’s no better way to get back to the present. Just give your cares to God and trust him with your life. Trust that He is working things out for your good and that there’s a purpose for what is happening in your life today.
- Reading a book-This generally helps me get focused on what is happening in the moment. The thing about reading is I can always tell when I am obsessing over something because I can read three pages and not remember anything that I just read. This usually causes me to get more focused on staying present in the moment.
Staying present in the moment can really take work on our part. The important thing is when we begin to recognize that we are not in the present, then we are making great progress.
When alcoholism is present in our lives, we have to constantly fight to enjoy the moment. It will get easier as we start doing things to help us let go of the past and stay way from the fear of the future.
Just for today, try to stay in the moment and enjoy what it is that you are doing. You are only promised today, live more, love more and smile more. You will be amazed at how great you will feel when you can keep your thoughts in the now.