Time is a big issue for everyone, but perhaps especially for recovering individuals.  In early recovery in A.A. people count the days, and your first sober day begins a repeated accounting of how much “time” in recovery you have.  Time often weighs heavily on the hands of the newcomer.   Newly sober people are often jealous of the “time” old timers have and often don’t really believe that old timers could have been “like themselves” in the past, or truly understand the panic and anxiety of what the newcomer is facing, loss of job, wife, family, legal problems, etc.  How to “fill” time with enjoyable and constructive activities is an important learning experience.  Boredom, time w apparently no activity, is a very important issue.  Often people can deal with a crisis during a particular time frame, when no activity is much more difficult to endure.   

Simultaneously there is a continual emphasis on today as the only day that really counts, i.e., it’s a daily program, one day at a time, just don’t drink today, etc.   I often heard that the person who got up earliest today has been sober the longest, but never really believed it emotionally.  The Zen I read in early sobriety emphasized this moment and focusing on it as the real secret.  I can still remember a very sweet woman who quietly said in a meeting,  “When I wash the dishes I really try to wash the dishes.”  But you can’t be washing the dishes and trying to wash the dishes.  It’s of course very hard to stay in the moment and the bliss of that experience is highlighted by the continual intrusion of the “monkey mind.”

In truly being in the present we approach what the Twelfth Step says is the spiritual awakening.  I’ve come to think of it in terms of percentages.  More of the time these days I can be here now.  At least I have a cognitive strategy: to remind myself that whatever I’m doing now is “it” and I try to be as involved in “it” as I possibly can.  There’s that trying again.
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