Eliminating Limiting Beliefs in the Fellowship of Alcoholics Anonymous and other 12 Step groups

- 36 Tips
for working the
12 Steps

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Slogans - One Day at a Time

One day at a time doesn't mean we shouldn't plan

I imagine that this is the very first slogan that found it's way into the original Alcoholics Anonymous meetings. Can't you just picture a frantic newcomer talking about how difficult he (and yes, it was only men in the beginning – and the men didn't think women could be real alcoholics, which is another story…) he was finding sobriety?

I can almost imagine the conversation:

Newcomer: What am I going to do? Next week I have to go to the office Christmas party – how will I ever stay sober there!

Oldtimer (early on, he might have been sober only a week): Slow down, it's not next week yet. Take it One Day at a Time!

And a slogan is born – because it's got some real wisdom in it.  For in truth, each one of us has only one day at a time – or one hour or one moment. 

Abstaining a moment at a time

In the first few rocky days of recovery, just abstaining for that moment, hour, etc. is truly all we can do. If we can't do that, there's no point in worrying about tomorrow, or next week, or whenever. 

The One Day at a Time philosophy has benefits far beyond the early days in recovery. It can keep us grounded in the present – that Holy Instant that is so easy to miss in a busy and productive life.

Planning is okay

Unfortunately, some in 12 Step Groups have taken the philosophy to mean we shouldn't plan. This is patently false. A major promise of the Program is to restore us to sanity, and that includes the very human blessing and curse – planning. We need to set goals, to make appointments, to design our lives.

But planning doesn't mean we have to leave One Day at a Time behind – the trick is to watch for expectations. 

It's one thing to plan and quite another to demand that the plan work out the way we require it too – in that we have no control at all. When our plans bring unintended results – and the often do – all we need do is reevaluate, accept where we are in this moment, and start anew. 

Knowing, using and accepting the present moment is part of being Powerfully Recovered!, whether you're in Alcoholics Anonymous, Narcotics Anonymous, or any other 12 Step Group.

Love, peace and abundance,


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