Where are you living your life?
Are you living in the past where things were better before your teen/young adult child started abusing substances?
Are you living in the future that will be better because you hope your child will be sober and everything will be OK again?
Living in the past or the future steals your joy from today.
What if I told you it doesn’t get better than this?
This moment is the best there is.
How can you make the most of it?
Thinking tomorrow or “as soon as” will be better is just an illusion and a joy stealer.
If you don’t learn to manage your thoughts TODAY, you will steal your own joy from tomorrow because “as soon as” never gets here.
Some “as soon as” thinking I have is I will be happier as soon as my daughter is sober, I will relax as soon as the house is clean, I will buy myself more clothes as soon as I lose more weight, I will take a vacation as soon as I have more money in savings.
The problem is “as soon as” any of those things happen, another circumstance moves front and center in my mind.
It’s never the circumstance outside of us controlling how we feel.
It’s always the thoughts in our head and the feelings they create in our body.
This is great news because we have no control of circumstances but we do have control of our thoughts which puts us in control of our happiness.
I am in Florida visiting family.
My mom and I were at the beach the other day.
As we walked up to the beach I thought “this is amazing, it’s the perfect day on the perfect beach and I get to spend it with my mom”.
It was a little overcast so it wasn’t too hot but I could still get a tan, there was a nice breeze, there weren’t many people there so I could listen to the waves and seagulls, and I could look at my mom and talk to her face to face.
But after we settled in, some of those “as soon as” joy stealing thoughts started creeping in.
I started wishing my daughter was there too.
I felt angry she couldn’t come with me because of her addiction.
Then I thought “as soon as” she gets sober I am coming back here with her.
I caught myself in that moment though.
I reminded myself that this is how our brains work.
The default is negative, so I needed to manage it.
Then I admitted to myself that if my daughter was there, my brain would have found another “as soon as” joy stealing thought.
So, I redirected my brain back to the beach with my mom and soaked it all in so I could lock it in my memory.
If you see yourself as your read this, don’t use it against yourself.
Use it as awareness so you can catch yourself the next time you are missing the moment because you are thinking about the past or future for too long.
There is nothing wrong with you, everyone does it!
Of course it’s OK to remember the past and make plans for the future and look forward to them, but don’t stay there and miss what you can enjoy today.