Now Is the Best Time to Improve

"How wonderful it is that nobody need wait a single moment before starting to improve themselves." – Anne Frank, one of the most renowned and discussed Jewish victims of the Holocaust, born in Frankfurt am Main, Germany, best known as the author of The Diary of Anne Frank (1929-1945)

How many times have we thought to ourselves that we’ll do this or that to get going with our recovery – tomorrow or sometime in the future? What’s wrong with working our recovery right now, today? The truth is that there’s no time like the present. Indeed, in recovery, the present is all we ever really have. That’s because we don’t live in the past or in the future. Right now is when we exist. The past is a memory and the future is not yet here. Action takes place in the present.

Thus, it stands to reason that we need to actively work our recovery in the present time. We may plan out our days in advance, and that’s an excellent strategy to keep us working our recovery, but it takes the present to be able to act.

By the same token, if we fail to act today, we are not likely to improve. Why? Very simply, we only make progress in recovery when we take the steps necessary to work on this or that aspect of our sobriety journey that we’ve identified as important – or that our counselor, therapist or sponsor has recommended we attend to.

Sometimes we fear that we don’t know what to do. Better look at that, however, because it’s just as likely that we’re kidding ourselves about something. We could very well be afraid to embark on a certain activity or action because we feel we lack the appropriate knowledge to do so. It’s also quite possible, even likely, that we’ve tried such an action before and did not succeed. That makes us doubly leering of engaging in the activity again.

But we should not allow such fear to dominate our thoughts or deter us from attempting to surmount a particular challenge or hurdle or overcome a certain obstacle. In fact, we will learn more from doing so than if we give up. Not only that, but we can’t move forward if we are unable to make sense of what didn’t work for us the last time we tried this or that approach.

It could also be that we’re uncertain what kind of improvements we should make. Maybe we’ve reached a certain plateau in our recovery and feel comfortable there. We’re not inclined to stretch ourselves at this point, preferring to remain at our comfort level. Why rock the boat, we may ask ourselves before answering that we’re just fine where we are. There’s a very good reason why we need to continue to challenge ourselves and move to the next step in our recovery journey. If we maintain a status quo, not moving forward and not moving backward, the very real danger is that we become complacent about our recovery. And when we take recovery for granted, guess what? The danger of relapse is right around the corner.

Fortunately for us, all we need to do is act today. Do something, even if it’s a small thing, to assist in our recovery efforts. It has to mean something to us. Whether it is a new meeting that we go to or the fact that we go out of our way to help a newcomer to the 12-step rooms feel welcome, it’s the action that we do – and continue to do – that will help us improve. Do this each and every day. Paraphrasing Anne Frank’s eloquent words, "Why wait when we can improve ourselves today?"