Living One Day at a Time


Living one day at a time and not worrying about the past or future, even the immediate future, is part of my formula for dealing with personal stress. Developed within the subculture of Alcoholics Anonymous this aphorism originally offered someone struggling with his or her sobriety a method for getting through a rough day.

It tells her: “Just don’t drink today and don’t worry about whether you will manage to avoid drinking tomorrow.” In the world of addiction the thought that I will never be able to live out the rest of my life without “using” meant that I would never even make a start on the road to recovery. The way around this is not to worry about tomorrow and just live out today as well as possible.

I have taken on the challenge of writing a book on nuclear proliferation and the environment for an American publisher. I start each day not knowing how much, if any, progress I will make on the research and writing and I make a prayer to God to help me move ahead that day. I

do not worry about the next day; I let that take care of itself. The pithy one-liner in Matthew 6.34 “Sufficient unto the day is the evil thereof” reminds me that each day contains an ample burden of evils and suffering, and that there is no need to add to this burden.

I apply this philosophy of life to other things as well as the writing of my book. For example, when I look at the readings assigned for the next Sunday liturgy I sometimes can be taken aback in dismay and wonder if I can ever come up with a coherent message for the faithful attending my Mass. But then I dig in and somehow manage to work something out. And so it goes as I try to live one day at a time.

John Perry, Sj, is doing pastoral ministry at St. Ignatius Parish, Winnipeg and is researching and writing at St. Paul's College..

  • Peggy Spencer
    Posted at 03:41h, 20 December Reply

    A very insightful article which I have found very helpful. Fortunately, I am not struggling with the problem of ‘sobriety’ but, unfortunately, with the problem of procrastination in my own -writing. Thank you, John.

  • Peter Monty, SJ
    Posted at 08:44h, 20 December Reply

    I like this John! A positive pointer along the way.

  • Mary.c.Johnston
    Posted at 09:33h, 20 December Reply

    I really appreciated this reflection. I worry about tomorrow and it overshadows today. I needed that reminder about now, tomorrow will come anyway or not as the lord wills. Thankyou

  • Peter Bisson
    Posted at 23:43h, 20 December Reply

    Thank you John!

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