One Day at a Time

I have a 20-year old privacy fence around my backyard. The posts and rails are in good shape but the boards have been breaking and cracking and detaching over the years. One of my “pandemic projects” has been to replace all of the boards on the fence. I have spent many hot and sweaty hours replacing boards on this fence. It seemed like an immense amount of work and after a particularly long session this past weekend, I stepped back and took a look. Much to my dismay, I still have a long way to go!

I could have gotten discouraged thinking “I have done all of this work and there are still SO MANY boards that have to be replaced.” But then I realized that this project is very similar to my recovery process. I am rebuilding my fence one board at a time.

My recovery works the same way – I recover from addiction one day at a time. If I step back and look at how long it will take me to complete my fence (or my recovery), it’s overwhelming. But if I stay focused on the board that I’m working on, the job seems pretty easy. Pull a board out and replace it. Pull another board out and replace it. Not that hard at all.

My recovery is the same way – I just need to focus on today. Focus on the things that I can do that will allow God to work in my life today. Call someone. Go to a meeting. Read scripture. Pray. Meditate.


In Alcoholics Anonymous (and other similar fellowships), when someone takes a “one-year” sobriety chip, many times they are asked: “How’d ya do it?”. And the traditional answer is “One day at a time.” It’s always a beautiful moment. I don’t need to worry about tomorrow or next week or next year. I need to focus on today. Do the right things that will help me to recover today. Focus on the board right in front of me. And then one day, I will look up and my fence will be repaired and healthy. 

* DISCLAIMER: I am not a handyman. If you read the story of my fence and laughed because you could repair the whole fence in one afternoon, more power to you! And, please give me a call, because I sure could use your help!

-A grateful member of the Awaken community

Awaken is a Birmingham, AL based ministry walking with individuals, couples, and ministry leaders who have been impacted by sexual brokenness & addiction. Our goal is to help people experience hope, connection, and healing through the gospel and the recovery process. If you want to know more about Awaken or our resources, email us at!