The slogans of the Twelve-Step programs are simple tools that can help keep you centered. Though very useful, like any tools slogans can be misused.

Easy Does It

Thinking of “Easy does it” may help you break the mentalset of obsession. When you feel as if you’re beating your head against a wall, just stop and remind yourself that “Easy does it.”

When things are busy, when you are most stressed out, these are the times when you need to stop and lighten up on yourself.

You may need the slogan when you are feeling overwhelmed, or when you are exaggerating things. Or would you rather spend your life catastrophizing and pole-vaulting over mouse droppings?

It may help to imagine that you are looking at yourself in a play, and see the responses you are making as if you were an observer not emotionally involved in the action below. See if you are being too dramatic or controlling. You might even see humor in the situation.

Another tactic is to ask yourself how significant it will be five years from now. That may give you some perspective.

Addicts can easily take anything to extreme, even a simple slogan. So people sometimes add a phrase on the end: “Easy does it … but do it.”

Live and Let Live

There is no common agreement about how to recover. If you listen to a variety of stories from Twelve-Step group members in recovery, you will find that some went to treatment, others did not. Some grew up in dysfunctional families, others had reasonably normal childhoods. Some alcoholics go to dance in lounges, while others avoid all such environments. Some eating addicts follow a fairly rigid eating plan, others have great flexibility in theirs. The longer you are around the Twelve-Step programs and the more you read of recovery literature, the more respect you will have for journeys that are different from yours.

In recovery, Dr. Bob struggled with the obsession with booze every day. Bill seemed relieved of that, but he struggled with depression for many years. Each human being is on a spiritual journey that is shared with all humankind, but also different from every other person’s pilgrimage.

One Day at a Time

The more hectic your life is, the more you need this slogan. Many addicts try to do too much too fast. This guarantees frustration, guilt, panic, and worry, which can in turn be used as an excuse to binge, purge, or starve.

Each day you can do a little planning for the future, but you can’t live in the future. Make your plans one day at a time, and leave the outcome to your Higher Power or fate.

Serenity prayer One way to implement one day at a time is to use the Serenity Prayer. Many addicts find it useful to mentally add the word “today” after each part:

God grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change (today),
Courage to change the things I can (today),
And wisdom to know the difference (today).

First Things First

You should have no difficulty keeping recovery uppermost in your mind if you have suffered from addiction enough to use the First Step as a tool. This slogan is about priorities. See the module on Priorities.

Your recovery should have priority over just about everything that is not life-threatening. Prioritizing can give you freedom rather than restriction.

Keep It Simple

Addicts often complicate things by analyzing and other mental gymnastics. Grandiose plans and ego may interfere with keeping it simple.

Dr. Bob used this slogan often. The primary purpose of most Twelve-Step fellowships is to help their members stay sober or abstinent. Sticking to the Steps and Traditions is the best way to keep it simple.

Let Go and Let God

Recovery requires giving up the illusion of control. Using this slogan means you recognize that you can’t control your addiction. By using Steps Two and Three you learn to “turn it over.”

Many addicts apply this slogan to all the people, places, and things they want to control or change. They usually realize God or fate, not they, has been in control all the time. What they really need to turn over is themselves, as it says in Step Three.

Progress Not Perfection

Recovery is about living life on a spiritual basis. The Big Book (p. 60) says, “We claim spiritual progress rather than spiritual perfection.” Addicts often find it helpful to apply this idea to all areas of their lives.

Giving up perfectionism will make your spiritual journey easier and more fun.

Slogans, see also: Affirmations, Attitudes, Paradoxes in addiction, Serenity.

Updated 9 Sep 2015

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Addictionary 2 by Jan & Judy Wilson

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